In this article we chart the rise of the female expatriate manager over the past generation, as a prelude to positing the question as to why the number of women on international assignments is even lower, proportionally, than their numbers in management overall. We argue that exploring the metaphor of the alien in the context of international assignments and the issue of gender will advance our understanding of this and related questions, since the concept of alien is inherent to the expatriate situation as well as to the position of women in organisations. We then forward seven propositions on two themes: the experience of being an alien and the consequences of being seen as an alien. We conclude that women expatriates are possibly better positioned to handle an expatriate assignment than men and we speculate that we will see them making inroads into international management for a variety of reasons.
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