I Love Ski: Why do you think there are such few women at the head of the resorts?
Christine Massoure: Not long ago, engineers were recruited as a general rule. The most important part of the job was based on technique and the environment was so hostile that they didn’t even think about hiring a woman for it.
The ski resort community is still a very masculine environment and the few women who have been present for several years in this area still have to prevail today because of their skills, but also because of their understanding of technical limitations.
The absence of women in the management positions of ski areas is not a problem of capacity, it’s more a problem of requirements of the position and limitations related to the activity that make this work difficult to be compatible with family life. These are demands that should be taken into account for the future, because I’m not sure that the new generations will want to dedicate their lives to their work as we’ve done in our generation. And this is even more true in medium-sized resorts such as the ones on the Pyrenees.
When position of director is free, there’s no demand from women. This is unfortunate because, in terms of recruitment, with the same qualifications, I think we would prefer to choose a woman.
I Love Ski: What can be done in order to change this?
Christine Massoure: I think things are changing in general management positions. Today, the general management function is less technical, you don’t need to be permanently in the field and you benefit from the technical relays with the collaborators in the field. We need more standard profiles that work in the future and the economic balance that’s essential for the viability of companies. In my opinion, this type of position will be increasingly open to women.
Nowadays, female resort directors continue to be atypical profiles, people who are passionate about the environment. Even if we offered this type of work to female engineers, I think they wouldn’t sign up due to the limitations and responsibilities of this profession. It’s the evolution of the functions that will allow women to be more present. In this context, gender matters little, it’s above all about the right person and the project.
I Love Ski: In your opinion, what extra value can a woman bring to a ski resort?
Christine Massoure: A woman brings another sensitivity and a benevolent point of view to the company, but also to the service.
Our employees contribute totally to the product, to the client. In the management of human resources, the apprehension of a woman tends to be more human, with more consideration. And there’s the benefit for the client: a woman brings a certain sensitivity in the service, even in the details. I’m thinking particularly about the bathrooms: a woman naturally understands this problem for her, but also for her children. It’s the same for the learning areas.
The point of view of a woman is complementary to that of a man. It’s necessary to have both visions in the management of a ski area, where the teams are generally very masculine.
The evolution of the position of women in the ski areas or in the groups of resorts depends on the evolution of the responsibility functions: with the development of the positions of general director, these technical barriers will be progressively eliminated, including the psychological one.
Fifteen years ago, I was personally more on the field and had some concerns on the field. Today, my concerns are more financial, always in search of financing and new management methods.