Women and international assignments: Taking stock—a 25-year review

Yochanan Altman, Susan Shortland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women's progress into management and, more specifically, into the world of expatriates, is the subject of this review. Despite advances in equal opportunities legislation, women failed to embark on expatriate missions in significant numbers during the 1980s. In the 1990s, more women were offered international assignment opportunities but they remained a negligible minority compared to men. The first decade of the twenty‐first century has witnessed a gradual increase in the number and visibility of women in international assignments. Through a comprehensive review of the literature over the period from 1980 to now, this article charts the emerging themes and changes in the tone of dis‐course: from when organizations were debating whether to “give women a chance” through attempts to identify and remove “blockages” to women's progress to, most recently, structural changes in the expatriate assignment and claims for women's superior affinity to operating internationally. We highlight gaps in the current literature and propose a platform for future research. We conclude with recommendations for practice. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Resource Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2008


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