Jack Parsons invites the amazing, kind and very humble Jacqueline Gold CBE, Chair of Ann Summers to his home, to have a meaningful conversation about young women, empowerment and diversity and inclusion.
Jacqueline shared how she started Ann Summers at the young age of 21 and all the challenges she faced in starting up a business she felt truly passionate about.
The idea behind Ann Summers was to give women empowerment and courage and confidence. Jacqueline stated that her business has been “revolutionary and culture changing…” However, she was met with resistance along the way.
Conversations took an emotional turn when Jacqueline mentioned the time she was at an exhibition and a woman knocked all the brochures from her hand, for advertising her collection… This comment was followed by a pause from Jack and Jacqueline as they reflected on this scenario. Jacqueline continued to state that this incident was followed by her getting arrested for unprecedented reasons…
Jacqueline said that this incident left her feeling very scared, as she was only 25 at the time. The whole startup of her company and before getting to the position she is at today, she felt she was highly bullied by so many institutions and given a lack of respect in pursuing a career that she felt passionate about.
As Jacqueline expressed her rocky journey to success, the pain and hurt in her voice could be felt throughout the room…
Furthermore, the conversation turned to when Jacqueline was invited to her first TV appearance on the Late Late Show and a gentleman from the audience started to hurl insults at her but just as that happened, a woman from the audience voiced her opinion and supported Jacqueline.
She expressed that “that amazing turning point, that sudden change of public opinion” gave her the confidence that she needed to realise she has been giving women the empowerment that they deserved, through passion.
Conversation turned to young women and the voice of young women in workplaces. Jacqueline expressed her concern towards how workplaces treat women and have an ideology that they are there to make the tea or clean up after the men, whereas she felt more women should stand up for themselves and voice their equality in the workplace.
This is quite an important matter, as women sometimes feel that if they voice their opinions or say that they feel uncomfortable or undervalued by always making the tea or cleaning up after everyone else, that they may lose their jobs. However, if we don’t speak up, how can we get better working conditions?
Although, the change doesn't always have to begin with women… Men in workplaces are equally reasonable for treating women fairly, giving them respect and not expecting them to do the “womanly” job as they feel its too beneath them to make a tea or clean up after themselves.
Change starts with you… learn to be kinder!
Overall, it's truly humbling to hear that through all the hurt and pain, Jacqueline has conquered all the barriers and built a successful empire that is focused on women empowerment and giving women confidence and helping them to love themselves.
What change would you like to see in workplaces, to help empower women?