JOBS & CAREERS SPRING 2018 - 36
definitely "jobs for men" and "jobs for girls". Football was missing
out on so much talent. When I left Birmingham City FC, 75% of
the senior management team were women. It's something I care
passionately about and while I never set out to be a campaigner,
the more injustice I've found, the more I have campaigned.
I recently made a Channel 5 documentary, Why Do Men Earn
More Than Women?, which aired in April. Discrimination starts
early in young girls' lives - we looked at what effect this has and,
most importantly, what we can do to change it.
Why is it such an important issue for you?
I have a daughter, Sophia, and people who work for me have
daughters. I believe in equality and I know I was lucky that when I
worked at Birmingham City I had a chairman, David Sullivan, who
looked beyond the fact that I was a young woman who one day
may have a family. He supported me and allowed me to run a
business. I want as many women to have that opportunity too.
You were made a life peer in 2014, which
entitles you to sit in the House of Lords. Do
you feel you can make a difference in this role?
The Lords doesn't change the law; it improves the working of it.
As such, there are debates and issues around business and gender,
which is my speciality. I'm trying to manage being in the House of
Lords and having a full-time job, and I have a good voting record.
I'm there at least once a week. I don't take any money; you can
claim £300 a day expenses but I don't claim anything.
Is the House of Lords as the media portrays it
- full of older men?
When you're there it doesn't feel like a men's club, but there are
only 205 baronesses out of 787 peers, which does need to change.
Things are definitely changing for the better - but whether they are
changing quickly enough, I don't know. It's important to remember,
particularly as 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of us getting the
vote, that as women we have had to do it ourselves. We need to take
control, make sure we get paid our value and stand up for ourselves.
Which sectors are best for
women to work in and which
could do better?
I think any sector that embraces women is
doing well. In traditionally male-dominated
sectors, such as the building trade, it's a bit
more difficult not because they're not
working hard enough but because they
don't do enough to attract women.
As women we
need to take
control and stand
up for ourselves
What is the government doing to help women
in general, and working mothers in particular,
achieve all they desire in their careers?
One of the biggest barriers stopping women having a career and a
family life is the lack of high-quality, affordable childcare. The
government has increased child tax credits and has cut the tax
threshold for 23 million working people, the majority of whom are
3 6 /// J O B S & C A R E E R S
women. The government is starting to
recognise that this is an important issue.
Do you like being on TV?
I love the The Apprentice and I'm very
proud of being part of it. I've been Sir Alan
Sugar's adviser since 2009 and I have a
good relationship with him and Claude
[Littner, Lord Sugar's other adviser],
which makes it even more enjoyable.
It's not being on TV that I like; it's the
show. There's no other prize like it -
quarter of a million pounds to set up a
business and a partnership with Alan. That
is a wonderful prize. But the show is tough
- when they say it's 4am and everyone has
to get out of bed, it really is 4am!
Who has impressed you most
on The Apprentice?
I liked Alana Spencer, who won in 2016.
When she started the show, she was
lacking confidence and couldn't get her
point across - but she learned a lot about
herself and went on to win. She now runs
baking company Ridiculously Rich. Leah
WORDS GEORGINA MARIC
Do you think our daughters will have it easier
when it comes to reaching high levels in
business and other careers?