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Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

Connecting women and opportunity

Womanthology is a digital magazine and professional community powered by female energy and ingenuity.

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Youth Advocate and Changemaker Claire Young on why she’s standing shoulder to shoulder with #NorthernPowerWomen who are championing gender equality

Claire Young

Claire Young was made famous by her role as the highly driven runner up of series four of ‘The Apprentice’, starting out in roles at Colgate Palmolive, L’Oreal and Superdrug. Today Claire runs her own business, School Speakers and has co-founded Girls Out Loud, in addition to working in the media and advising the government on projects helping young people onto the career ladder and more women into business. Claire was born in Johannesburg and brought up in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, where she lives with her two year old daughter, Eva. 

Claire Young
Claire Young

#NorthernPowerWomen is a campaign focusing on gender diversity and the North of England as a force for change and part of this is a one day conference taking place on 12th March 2015. Claire is hosting a panel session, ‘Our Future conversation’ as a leading youth advocate and changemaker. 

Claire – how did you get involved with #NorthernPowerWomen?

I have known Simone Roche, the founder and organiser of Northern Power Women, through various activities over the years. I admire her energy and drive – we have a liked minded ‘can do’ approach – so when she approached me to join the campaign I jumped at the chance. I believe that people are much stronger together working collaboratively.

Why is it so important to give women in the North of England their own campaign and voice in relation to gender balance?

I often think the North is a little neglected when it comes to campaigns and initiatives– everything tends to be London centric – so it’s refreshing to see big activity coming to Liverpool. Gender balance in the workplace is a hot topic, more so than ever, so it is great to have this discussion literally on our doorstep – regional women discussing matters which are important to them in their area with other like-minded individuals. 

Who are the women you most admire and why?

Esther McVey MP for her diverse career (media to business to now politics), tenacity to fight for the matters important to her and I think she relates well to the general public. Politics has got to become more accessible to everyone in order to really make changes in this country.

There are so many fantastic women in the North, who are experts in their chosen fields, driving change – I think one of the big pluses of the campaign is becoming aware of those women, networking and becoming connected.

How is the up and coming general election driving change for women in the workplace?

Every political party is after the female vote! Gender balance at work, fair pay, childcare costs and flexibility working are all key issues being addressed.

How do we reinforce the importance of voting for women of all ages?

Women fought to gain the vote and now it’s disappointing to see the percentage of women voting falling. Politics has also become irrelevant to many people; they are not interested or engaged in the bickering one up man ship in the snapshots of political activity we often see.

Schools, during PHSCE or Citizenship lessons, have the opportunity to educate female students about how women came to vote and why it is so important to keep doing so. I think everyone to a certain extent has a moral responsibility to contribute, if we all want a great country to live in then we have to do our part.

The media has a key role to play too – magazines, websites and TV all aimed at a female audience are a platform to shout out that we need to vote.

What gender related advances would you like to see in the next parliament?

Equal pay, flexible working in the corporate sector and reduced childcare costs. These three things would revolutionise the world of work for 50% of the country!

How much of an impact does it make to give the next generation of women positive role models to aspire to?

HUGE impact! I work with students most days and I see the results of showing girls and young women opportunities, role models and case stories. You can literally start to see their eyes widen and brains start to tick over what they could achieve with their lives.

People need to work together in a cohesive manner, start joining up the dots to really make things happen; primary pupils to secondary students to post education opportunities. The age of influence, which is believed to be estimated at seven years old, is where we should start talking to girls.

How do we eradicate the gender pay gap?

The Government needs to set clear guidelines and fine employers who fail to follow them. A woman not receiving the same pay for the same job as a man in my mind is discrimination. We live in a country where discrimination is not acceptable and that applies to your pay packet too!

What is next for you and School Speakers?

School Speakers continues to grow daily, we now have nearly 300 speakers working in schools across the UK. In the last 12 months we have expanded to British International Schools. Personally, I enjoy mentoring and would consider a non-executive role for a start-up business. I became a school governor in this academic year and that is keeping me busy with a steep learning curve.

I am also mentoring for eCadets, which is a brilliant scheme for students to raise awareness of eSafety.


Learn more about the #NorthernPowerWomen event and book your ticket here.

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