Seychelles – Women on top
The Republic of Seychelles comprises 155 islands which span an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. The capital, Victoria, is on the main island of Mahé which lies 1,500 kilometres (932 miles) east of Africa and north east of the island of Madagascar. There are good sea and air connections with Europe, the USA, Asia and Africa, and the islands’ working hours overlap those of major financial centres. The Seychelles actively promotes itself as an attractive place to do business and invest.
Creole, French and English are the languages most often spoken but many Seychellois also speak Italian or German. The Seychelles is a matriarchal society: women tend to be the business owners and are also well represented in government. Paradoxically, because the country is predominantly Catholic, traditional attitudes towards women prevail and female visitors to the country are advised not to appear too friendly or open with men as this can be misconstrued as sexual interest.
Bargaining is not common; decisions tend to be made quickly and negotiations are open and upfront. First names tend to be used, even in a business setting, although titles can be used to show respect towards the older generation. Meetings are frequently easygoing; some degree of punctuality is expected, but meetings will often proceed on an ad hoc basis.
Business dress for men is fairly casual – long trousers and a shirt, but a tie is not required for most situations. Women should wear knee-length skirts and a blouse. In the evenings, people wear more formal attire. Women are encouraged to dress up, and shorts or beachwear are strictly forbidden!
Personal space tends not to be highly valued and it is not unusual for Seychellois to stand less than an arm’s length away from the person to whom they are speaking, which can be disconcerting to visitors. The thumbs-up gesture is common and is used to denote general satisfaction, often when greeting.
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Sources: Wikipedia, Culture Crossing