The Battle for Female Talent in Emerging Markets

by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Ripa Rashid

AFTER WORKING FOR ALMOST 20 years outside China at a global consulting firm, a woman we’ll call Mei was recently forced to return home to Beijing, where she faces work/life pressures unrelated to raising children. Mei’s elders needed care, and in China a social stigma is attached to using professional help or placing parents in assisted-living facilities. Mei worries about how these obligations will affect her career. Apart from facilitating her return home, however, the firm seems to be unaware of Mei’s problems.

In the United Arab Emirates a rising star we’ll call Rana is an analyst in the fixed-income division of a bank. Her company regularly offers opportunities ...

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