Officially recognized by the United Nations in 1977 International Women’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. It is defined as a day when women are recognised for their achievements, regardless of divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.
An opportunity for Chabé to reflect on the role of women in a family business with the Director of Human Resources and member of the Executive team, Frédérike Dupont-Pauchet.
What is the contribution of women at Chabé?
At the origin of its creation, Chabé was led by Maurice Chabé, then for many decades has had women leaders; firstly Eliane Lo Jacomo, his daughter, and then Agnès Lo Jacomo, his granddaughter who only recently handed over the Group CEO role to her son Guillaume Connan and remains chairwoman of The Board.
It is above all a family story that benefited from female leadership for many decades. It is therefore very natural for women to continue to hold senior positions within the business. This not new to Chabé and is central to the corporate culture.
At Chabé the question of gender does not arise. When recruiting employees, we give priority to competent candidates with a strong customer service culture, without consideration to gender. This applies to all roles in the business irrelevant to how senior the role is.
Chabé’s executive board is exemplary in this respect, because gender parity is perfectly respected, as is its governance.
For chauffeurs it has historically been a profession dominated by men and we still have more to do to encourage women to become chauffeurs and join the business.
In your opinion, why is it difficult to have female chauffeurs?
As explained above, historically it is a profession that has been dominated by men. It is up to us to find ways to engage with more women, to encourage them and introduce them to the profession of chauffeuring, and then to hire them. A large proportion of our employees have become chauffeurs as part of a professional retraining programme; this is an opportunity for women in the same situation.
However, we still find that some of our male clients are still socially uncomfortable to be assisted by a female chauffeur who might be required to carry their luggage. We must help to overcome these social clichés.
Chabé adopted a voluntary and ambitious approach to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), are there actions to ensure the parity of women as part of your CSR plan?
Yes, in 2020 we have put in place a company commitment to ensure equality between female and male employees. Among other things, we actively want to increase the number of female chauffeurs.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has limited the opportunity to recruit this year. We do have a HR charter which reinforces our commitment to recruiting without discrimination of any kind. We are also considering a bespoke journey service for women passengers; driven by women.
As a director but also a member of the Management Committee and working in Human Resources, do you have any advice or message to share?
The subject of gender equality is a subject that is near and dear to my heart and to which I am fully committed. The emancipation of women and the use of their skills are essential for optimising a company’s competitiveness. Leadership teams with diverse members are more likely to find innovative solutions that will promote inclusive growth. Changing women’s perceptions of their capabilities is key to combating stereotypes, as well asgiving them the support they need to compete for leadership positions. It is up to us to continue to promote the importance of equality at Chabé so that gender equality is always a strength for the business and a role model for society.
More information about the International Women’s day: un.org/en/observances/womens-day