In honour of this 110th International Women’s Day, Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer is celebrating our women!
Here, we caught up with Christine Zoliec, General Manager at Thermes Marins Monte-Carlo. In keeping with the theme for 8 March 2021, she is the embodiment of female leadership: which, she believes, is different but just as effective. Her advice? “You have to believe in yourself”.
This year, we are celebrating the 110th International Women’s Day. Can you tell us what this day means to you?
Christine Zoliec: That we’ve had one day a year set aside for women for 110 years now?
I actually feel quite conflicted about it: I think celebrating women is wonderful, and I’m also a little sad that it needs to be done.
It’s reassuring to see progress being made, and people now being free to choose their own role in society instead of a certain sector choosing one for them. That is one definition of freedom: the opportunity to think, act, and believe, no matter your background (whether you’re male, female, or anything else). International Women’s Day demonstrates how far our society has come, but in an ideal world we wouldn’t need to mark it with a special day any more – instead, we’d show real equality in the way we acted all year round.
We can’t just remember it once a year, and forget about it the rest of the time... still, we are on the right track!
UN Women has announced that the theme for International Women’s Day (IWD 2021) on 8 March 2021 will be: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. What do you take from that?
C.Z.: Women in leadership show that they are not to be outdone every single day. They are determined and zealous; they strive for perfection, and to be as faultless as possible (something that has stuck with us from a time when we had to fight to get our knowledge and skills acknowledged). They are often more compassionate, as well as being mothers and wives at the same time. They perhaps have a different style of management, but it is no less effective. Historically, they have had to adapt to make their way to the top of the ladder, and they are able to utilise that skill in the COVID world we now live in. We are not the same as our male counterparts, but we are no less deserving or competent.
As a woman, what has been the biggest challenge in your career to date?
C.Z.: When you’re a woman, the first challenge you face if you want a position of authority is that you have to believe in yourself. The biggest is getting whoever is hiring you to trust you. You’ll be told that you have or will have children, and that you might not have enough time for the role you want – and you need to convince us otherwise.
I’ve been lucky not to experience any sort of harassment, which is good!
Who is your female role model, and why?
C.Z.: It’s difficult to pick between Marie Curie, Coco Chanel, Mother Theresa, Michelle Obama, and so many others – they’re all such different women, but admirable in their own way.
For me though, Simone Veil is the one that stands out. She lived through the Holocaust, and fought to survive even when it claimed so many of her family. Then she studied law and politics, and became a high-ranking civil servant, Minister for Health, then President of the European Parliament. She was a proponent of Franco-German reconciliation and European construction, before becoming Minister of State again and finally being elected to the Académie Française.
People will likely know her for the law that legalising abortion. She became an icon for fighting discrimination against women, and alongside all that she was a wife and mother of 3! What a journey, what determination, what resilience... what a woman!