According to Laurent Reynaud, despite the efforts to achieve parity in France, in the French ski areas, women represent only 29% of workers. There are 5,220 women among the 18,000 employees. In addition, women tend to be in administrative and sedentary services positions: the percentage of women in the field is 20%, while in the offices they represent 80% of the employees.
But in addition women are mostly in the lowest positions. It’s not easy to find women in the positions of responsibility of ski areas. In fact, out of the 325 ski areas in France, only five of them are run by women. According to Reynaud, this is closely related to the fact that women tend not go for studies related to the sector. In fact, as confirmed by the administrative and training manager of ANENA, Célia Ducros, the percentage of women who have registered for the pister with artificer specialty course is only 13%. By the way, the rate of approval of these women is 100%.
We asked Reynaud about the reality of women in the mountains and his point of view about it.
I Love Ski: Why do you think there are still such few women at the head of the resorts?

Laurent Reynaud: The position of director of a ski area is culturally a engineers thing and engineering schools have a feminization rate of 15%. The rate is similar in the preparatory classes. Ski areas are the result of technical sectors’ low feminization rates.
The fact that these positions are the result of the percentages of technical sectors and not those of services can be a disadvantage. In the future, we have to move forward on this point. Nowadays, we are trying to attract women to service positions, be it the digital part, customer service or community management. These are areas in which we have more room for improvement.
I Love Ski: What can be done in order to change this?

Laurent Reynaud: The feminization of the positions on the field happens first of all because of the improvement of their daily lives: it seems difficult for us, for example, to promote women’s toilets in ski areas. It may seem like a minor detail, but when you’re a mechanic, it becomes more complicated, and we have to look at those restrictions.
In general, there’s little distortion in terms of salary, whether male or female, but, in terms of conditions in the exercise of the profession, it is clearly more difficult for them. We depend on the outcome of technical schools, whose students end up working on ski areas and decrease the rate of feminization.
I Love Ski: In your opinion, how do women contribute to ski areas?

Laurent Reynaud: Without a doubt, women contribute to the dynamics of teams, which is essential. When a woman joins a team, the dialogue is not the same. It’s especially noticeable on issues such as resort security: men have a much more marked sense of commitment and performance, to the point that it can be counterproductive.
Working outdoors with difficult weather conditions, climbing a tower with personal protective equipment… The risks related to the job are sometimes underestimated by men, while the women’s point of view makes it easier to identify the risk at work and analyze it. The dynamics and dialogue change, thanks to the different point of view that women bring.
Photo : Laurent Reynaud. Crédit Sylvain Colombet