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We work 13 to 14 hours a day. This means no time for children, no emotional connections, only work, work, work.
Les Grandes Tables du Monde has pledged to improve the role of women in gastronomy and promote gender equality within its member restaurants following the results of a global survey, commissioned in collaboration with S.Pellegrino.
In the survey conducted for the prestigious restaurant guide by the FM Research Institute, leading French chefs like Anne-Sophie Pic, Hélène Darroze, Christelle Brua, Estelle Touzet were interviewed in order to better understand how to increase the presence of women and enhance their acceleration in an industry that also wants to employ more women. (20% of surveyed restaurants indicated a desire to hire more women in the coming years.)
Speaking of the survey Nicolas Chatenier, Managing Director of Les Grandes Tables Du Monde said: "The goal here isn't to oppose men and women ... but to allow women to grow in their rightful place and strengthen their power of action."
The results highlighted a number of problems still to be resolved within the industry which were aired at Les Grandes Tables du Monde 64th congress where the organisation committed to taking action in three categories: equal treatment (career opportunities, pay etc), more flexibility with regard to working hours and women role models.
Inequalities were highlighted in career opportunity, progression and pay equality as a result of the survey where “women are still too often “confined” to waiting and floor positions; on average, there are 8 women for 12 men on the floor and only 3 women for 14 men in the kitchen.” Furthermore, it was noted that "women are less likely to reach high-responsibility positions such as head waiter, chef de partie or second in command."
Pay equality also remains a "taboo" topic, where only 41% of the establishments surveyed replied with the data suggesting a 9.5% salary gap in favour of men.
In order to achieve equal treatment, working conditions, pay and career opportunities for women in the sector it was highlighted that all stakeholders in the sector must align- "chefs, restaurateurs, managers and organisations must all be involved in overcoming prejudices and moving towards a more open mindset."
Les Grandes Tables du Monde made a commitment to mentioning names of women holding decision making positions in member restaurants in the next edition of their guide, undertaking a yearly survey to monitor and follow up on sector developments as well as better communication highlighting related issues.
Work Life Balance
60% of employers in the survey highlighted prejudices regarding maternity and family life as one of the main obstacles to women's progression in the sector.
Working in split shifts was considered a genuine obstacle to family life, for both men and women plus a high work intensity and long hours were often considered incompatible with labor flexibility in the sector.
“We work 13 to 14 hours a day. This means no time for children, no emotional connections, only work, work, work; so at some point, you are faced with difficult decisions” said one interviewee.
In order to tackle the work life balance it was suggested to adapt working hours by adding more flexibility and imagine alternative work organisations eg Shift work, parental leave etc to create a caring working environment for all stakeholders which would require the buy in of the entire sector to make it happen.
Women Role Models
The study's interviewees all underlined the importance of "positive role models" in the industry and the integral role of inspiring female chefs like Anne-Sophie Pic and Helene Darroze, who have led the way for several generations.
The importance of highlighting the remarkable careers of female chefs in order to spark new vocations and "remind women that they have every right, just like men to work in these positions" was attributed to the role of the media, food critics, organisations, awards and cooking competitions.
Les Grandes Tables Du Monde committed to communicating about talented women in forthcoming announcements plus involving them in all their actions and events.
The study was conducted in September 2018 by the FM Research Institute and commissioned by Les Grandes Tables du Monde and S.Pellegrino, involving 174 members and 17 women of the organisation "Les Grandes Tables du Monde."