By Guest Writer NICLI Laura
While this subject is becoming more and more important both in society and among corporations, I am pleased to share with you my views related to Empowering Women and hope to humbly contribute to the debate by adding on some insights based on my experience.
To tackle this complex topic, I will elaborate my reflection around three main angles: the familial, the societal and the professional contexts.
I have been lucky enough to evolve in a very positive environment and have been raised with strong values such as respect, diversity and equality amongst people and genders.
There has never been any focus on victimizing any group of people against another. As it comes to gender, I have witnessed my grandmothers and my mother as being active women and equally contributing to a balanced and healthy household as their male counterparts. In other words, I have witnessed women being as capable and as knowledgeable as men. As for men, I have always admired my grandfathers and father for their respect and support towards their partners.
Being a French citizen, I have attended public schools which are mixed and have grown up in a country that is quite stable and promotes equality among genders. Yet, as I am writing those lines, France is still reporting salary gap amongst full-time workers based on their gender; female professionals are still denouncing the “glass-ceiling” that prevails in many organizations; which is for me, as a woman, something I cannot understand. From a societal standpoint, there are generic values or character traits commonly attributed to women such as being too emotional, sensitive, discrete, vulnerable as explicitly expressed through the dated nickname “weaker sex” to name but a few. Men, on the other hand, are considered as being strong, able to bear pressure, fighters etc…Those thoughts would undoubtedly contribute in shaping up the behavior of the female population both in the private and professional spheres.
As it comes to my professional life, I began my hospitality career 17 years ago. I have started from the scratch as a trainee cook in a local restaurant close to my hometown and gradually grew up the ladder by experiencing different departments such as Food & Beverage, Front Office, Sales & Marketing in different countries across different continents. My curiosity and desire to explore the work took me from France, to Luxembourg, then Spain, followed by the UAE, Sri Lanka via Germany and now the sunny Maldives. My reflection is therefore based on an overview of different customs and cultural practices.
I have recently joined the Accor group in our outstanding Pullman Maldives Maamutaa as Resort Manager and can now proudly wave the flag of female in leadership positions, however, the journey hasn’t always been easy.
At the workplace, I have never considered my gender while handling any task. However, in some scenarios, I had been reminded about my feminine condition either implicitly or sometimes explicitly. I have also come across very odd situations and would certainly not have overcome those if I had not had a solid upbringing. I experienced jealousy, unfair promotions, unfair treatment for the mere fact of being a women. I know very well the frustration it can lead to of being discriminated for something we simply can’t change; that is us, our core, our condition. While some situations have been tough, I am grateful now for having experienced those, some of which quite early in my career, as they have molded me to who I am today.
Today, I am very happy having joined Accor Group as the company embodies all the human values I strongly believe in, namely: respect, trust, spirit of conquest as well as equality under the RiiSE initiative and I will personally ensure to promote those values in my daily business conduct.
As a conclusion, I would like to give some tips to our female Hoteliers: Everything is possible and you have to believe in yourself, more than anything: never give up!
I would also like to share a message to all our men hoteliers: be a kind and supportive partner to your wife, an extraordinary father to your daughter, a mentoring uncle to your niece, and a respectful colleague as it can really make a difference to all the ladies in your life.
Last but not least, the famous idiom: “Behind every successful man, there is a woman” can easily be transposed reversely “Behind every successful woman there is a man”.
About the author: NICLI Laura is the Resort Manager Pullman Maldives Maamutaa.