Ellen Moore and her education

Ellen Moore has made it a point to challenge herself and test her own capabilities throughout the entirety of her life. Starting at only 16, she had not only graduated from high school, but was the top female student in her graduating class. After her high school graduation, she went right into working a full-time job, working her way up the ranks receiving promotion after promotion until she eventually became the first and youngest female to receive the title of manager of the financial reporting department. A few years later, in 1983, Ellen decided that it was time for her to return to school and complete her bachelor’s degree in accounting with minors in both sales and business management. Over the span of the next two years, Ellen continued to work hard and eventually completed her MBA.

Shortly after Ellen had started her MBA program, her husband was presented a job offer located in Bahrain for the upcoming Spring. Bahrain is a small island located of the coast of Saudi Arabia and Qatar and is one of the only Middle Eastern countries that allow women to work and assume positions of power within companies. Both Ellen and her husband sat down and discussed the pros and cons of this potential move, and both decided there would be ample opportunities for the both of them. Her husband made the move in March, and Ellen joined him 18 months later once she has completed her MBA program.

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As one could imagine, moving across the world to a foreign country was not always easy for Ellen. While being in Bahrain, she was faced with many different challenges. Unfortunately, a lot of these challenges were presented to her due to the fact the she is a female in a position of power in addition to the Islamic religion. In the Middle East, women typically abide by stereotypical gender norms and are in charge of running a household, not a company. Although it is not illegal for a woman to hold a position of power in Bahrain, it is rare, so when Ellen came to a company and eventually earned her title, her male co-workers were not always thrilled.

When Ellen first arrived at her new office, one of her favorite roles she played was that of a teacher, hoping to educate her colleagues on how to utilize their microcomputers at her introduction to computers class. She would hold this class after office hours in hopes to make her co-workers more familiar with the computers and teach them a few things. She worked closely with one of the other managers, and unfortunately on his end there was some resistance toward Ellen. This manager did not like the fact that this workshop was run by someone lower in rank than him, especially since that person was a woman. Power distance in the Middle East is extremely high, so that additionally would help to explain where this resistance is coming from.

Ellen’s Islamic co-workers did not necessarily see eye to eye with her when it came to gender roles in Bahrain. They almost saw women as inferior to men, whereas in the United States, gender equality has recently been a trending topic, and something that is hoped to be enforced. It was the attitudes that her Islamic co-workers had that made it so hard for her as a manager in this country and was often why she was treated so negatively by other managers.

Her co-worker, Fahad, had strong beliefs women were “only capable of fulfilling secretarial and coffee serving functions” and didn’t have a place as a manager. One day, Fahad was in the middle of a conversation when Ellen looked up from her work and made eye contact with him. Quickly, Fahad began to speak in French with hopes Ellen wouldn’t be able to understand him. Luckily enough, she knew some French and was able to break into their conversation. Ellen had to work her way through several situations similar to these with Fahad, as he made it a point to show his prejudice towards Ellen as a manager. Ellen continued to keep quiet in times like these and let her hard work and success speak for herself.

Another example of this prejudice towards women in the Bahrain workplace was when her manager decided to revoke her position in accounts control and instead have her working as manager of customer services. Ellen was informed that this position would threaten her safety as a woman, requiring travel across boarders into Saudi Arabia, which would be extremely dangerous for a woman in business. While her manager was just looking out for Ellen’s safety, it is unfair for Ellen to not have a say in a decision regarding her safety and her career. Ellen would have made the decision herself had she truly felt unsafe. It was this decision made by the manager that made Ellen debate leaving the company. She was forced to compromise her career or her values, which is a compromise that nobody should have to make

In this case, Ellen was battling against cultural norms and gender stereotypes in a foreign country, something that a lot of men and women all over the world face today. Ellen is an extremely successful business woman and is qualified for multiple positions all over the world. Personally, if I were Ellen, I would attempt to attain a recommendation letter and move on to a new company. While yes, she was offered another position as manager of customer service, this is not the area of her expertise. When you have the experience, education and leadership qualities that Ellen has, you are extremely marketable and should not have any trouble finding a job with a company that will not make you compromise.

If you look back on all that Ellen had done in her time in Bahrain, it reached far beyond just business. She was a teacher, a mentor, a voice for her women co-workers to their male superiors, and a liaison for the male workers to female workers. She worked to promote equality in the workplace and make everyone feel comfortable, even when she wasn’t always comfortable herself. While yes, her manager made the decision to look out for Ellen’s safety, Ellen didn’t have a say when it came to her own safety and how she felt moving into this new position. If Ellen was the one who was potentially endangering herself, she should’ve at least had the opportunity to make the decision alongside her manager. With her education and experience, not Ellen nor anybody else should ever feel as though they need to compromise their morals or their career. Although this is the way of doing business in the Middle East, I do believe Ellen could find a new company within Bahrain that would give her more of an opportunity to thrive as a manager while keeping her morals and career both intact. It is not fair for outdated gender stereotypes or social norms to prevent someone from achieving happiness within their career.

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Ellen Moore and her education. (2022, Jul 17). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/ellen-moore-and-her-education/