Thursday, December 22, 2011

Business Women of Brazil

Photo by: GNT

I read this fluff piece on Business women in Brazil. It basically credits Dilma's example and the economy for the go getting ladies down here. Fair enough as it does help. Of course I see it from a different angle.

Brazilian business women have been kicking ass long before the coming of Dilma or the world's acknowledgement of Brazil's economy. When Chatterbox was born 5 yrs ago, EVERY Brazilian woman I knew asked when I was going to get back into the workplace. When I explained my stay at home plans I received less than stellar reviews. Stay at home? What? What about your career?

Let me break down business women in Brazil, they kick ass! I have never seen a more motivated group of women in my life. They are the ones who make shit happen in this "machismo" country. The old saying that behind every good man is a woman translates in Brazil to: Behind every good man is a woman telling him what he should really be doing. The ladies here may be referred to as their husband's woman, but seriously, it doesn't take anything away from them.

I think a big part of that is because the business women of Brazil are not afraid to be just that, women. There is even this AWESOME article about it. Thank goodness the former fluff piece motivated a little internet research...

While I don't agree with everything but these points are golden:

  • Appearance counts. Your clothing will reflect upon you and your company.
  • Brazilian women dress "sexy" in all situations, whether business, formal or casual. Foreign women who want to blend in should avoid wearing overly formal, conservative attire.
  • Shoes should be stylish, polished and well-kept. Nails should be manicured.
  • In business situations, men should wear conservative dark suits, shirts and ties. Three piece suits indicate executives; two piece suits indicate office workers. Women should wear feminine dresses, suits and pantsuits and avoid "dressing like a man."

The business women here get a mani pedis at least every 2 weeks, steal that promotion you were going for, and all while scheduling their bikini wax for lunch time the next day.

I have said this before and I will say it again, Brazilians understand the power behind being a woman. The Brazilian business woman doesn't just go with that. No, it's much bigger. She owns it. She doesn't have to "accept" who she is, she is who she is. The Brazilian business woman has gone after her education, work experience, and career. In fact, all of that has only made her feel more womanly.

As a Stay at Home Mom, I see a very equal responsibility over the children when it comes to two working parents. Quite honestly, there are many breadwinning Mothers of children in my boys' schools. The Fathers come to pick the kids up at 530pm while the Mothers work late.

The thing that most amazes me is that the Brazilian business woman is not trying to fit into the world of men. They don't need to. The business world of Brazil is open to both sexes equally. While they may not have pee wee soccer for girls, they still expect them to ace their math classes.

My favorite part about the working women of this country is their pride. They do not come in wearing horrible orthopedic shoes and a dark masculine suit. These women come in and show the true intelligence behind feminine sex, and all while looking like one.

What has been your impression? 


  1. I agree, I am so impressed by Brazilian business women. I was at a SP city meeting a few weeks ago and more then half the group was women, dressed nicely and taking charge. They are smart, quick and motivated and yes, comfortable in their feminine pride. I also love how most businesses I have seen accomodate moms, maybe that's just from what I've seen... I would love to know if that is true overall... ?

  2. I don't know, Rachel... would you ever see an article giving Brazilian businessmen advice on how to groom themselves for work? No, because for men, their experience and their talent at their job is what matters, even if they're fat ugly slobs. For women, it's still social acceptable for their appearance to be a factor in judging their ability to do their job. Love your optimism, but I just don't share it in this case.

  3. Danielle, I don't relate that to the workplace but to the culture. Men can be sloppier in general and women are expected to be kept up, by their own generally.

  4. Jana, I have noticed the same thing. I haven't heard one Mom complain that her work gave her crap because she missed due to a sick kid... Haven't heard is the key information though

  5. Rachel - funny, I recently wrote a post about women scientists in Brazil, also ´kicking ass´, punching way above their weight - in technology. Par with their American counterparts.. Pretty proud of this upcoming generation... Thanks for sharing your thoughts.. will read your blog often! Cheers and take care, Raquel

  6. I agree 100% w you Rachel....fantastic post.

    Congrats for noticing the real story

    I love how they are super professional and feminine ( no horrible orthopedic shoes and a dark masculine suit!! )

  7. I think it's awesome that Brazilian women are movin' and shakin' the business world while staying feminine.

    However, from my observations, many of them bear an enormous burden from trying to "do it all" - be a superstar at work AND a post-grad or English student AND a stellar mom AND take care of domestic issues AND keep up that all-important physical appearance.

    In my English classes, I see many more women struggle and drop out of the course than men, and the reason they always give is that they just can't handle studying in addition to work, family, and everything else they're expected to be on top of.

  8. Rachel,

    This is so true!
    You just described my grandmother! Both my sisters and my sister in law.
    They are all strong women, with careers, always well dressed, get manicures and pedicures often and my sister, one of my cousins and my brother's wife want their husbands to stay home taking care of the children while they push forward with their careers. :)
    By the way, my grandmother is the strongest women I have ever known. ;)
    Great post!


  9. thanks for posting such nice post. the objective of the business development program is to create successful workplaces for women, their families and employers.

  10. Great observation Rachel - I've been really impressed with the business women I've worked with here in Rio. One thing I have to question a little is this:

    "In business situations, men should wear conservative dark suits, shirts and ties. Three piece suits indicate executives; two piece suits indicate office workers."

    This may be true of certain businesses, but I've worked with 4 or 5 big businesses (Health insurance, TV station, Oil Company) and I hardly ever see guys wearing ties and *never* a 3-piece (waistcoat)! But then maybe I only see the junior slackers! :)

  11. Tom I also think executives wear 2 piece suit.

    Anyway lovely post! These women rock!

  12. The first thing you should know about Brazil is that Dilma really sucks here! She is the kind of person that wins the ellections but if you question someone what he thinks about her, he would tell you something like: "WTF?" Knowing that, you know all about the Brazil's political views.

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