- Victoria Derbyshire reveals private battle with depression in exclusive interview with Bryony Gordon
- Samantha Cameron suggests David Cameron's political career has dented her business
- 'Amazing' Oprah Winfrey could beat Donald Trump if she were to run for office, claims Tina Brown
- Sexual harassment in the food industry is endemic and females must speak up, says top chef
For the past 18 months, The Telegraph has been pushing to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs in Britain. Our Women Mean Business campaign has been supported by business leaders, MPs and academics concerned that a great opportunity for British economic advancement was being missed.
Today, we were joined by some of our campaign's biggest supporters at our London event, Women Mean Business Live, for a day of action, debate and networking - to look more at how working women can get a better deal.
So far, our award-winning campaign prompted the Government to commission an independent review into the issue and resulted in the groundbreaking Investing in Women Code which forces financial institutions that sign up to commit to distributing funding with gender balance in mind. It's an important and positive step forward in levelling the playing field.
So what happened at today's event?
What a day! We’ve heard from inspirational women working in every field from artificial intelligence to fashion, and despite the differences, some common themes emerged.
We heard a lot from the challenges of managing harassment at work, with speakers in several sessions recalling working personally with bad bosses. Tina Brown remembered her time working for the “horrific bully” Harvey Weinstein, and wasn’t afraid to say that his screaming matches left her “destabilised”.
Later on, Zelda Perkins, Weinstein’s former PA, described how she couldn’t even tell a therapist about the stress she was under at work, so tight were the restrictions of her non-disclosure agreement.
She talked about the mental pressure which this put her under, which feeds into another theme of the day: dealing with your mental health at work.
Broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire opened up about being diagnosed with depression and needing to take time off work for it. Her session was heroically hosted by Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon, who somehow managed to get on stage in front of hundreds of people despite feeling “one out of 10” emotionally.
Persevering through setbacks was also talked about in a range of ways, with former Labour advisor Ayesha Hazarika talking about losing her job overnight after the 2015 election, then reinventing herself as a comedian and columnist. Cody Gapare talked about how she turned her hair loss after cancer into a successful false eyelashes business.
And towards the end of the day, we spoke about the role that men can and should be playing in the home to support female equality. Asif Sadiq, the Telegraph’s Head of Diversity and Inclusion, said that men need to be vocal about looking after their children so it’s not seen as a purely female thing.
Then Samantha Cameron finished the day, saying that although her husband David helps her career by being a hands-on dad, he has put some people off buying from her fashion label Cefinn.
If you're still after more...
Our video team has produced a mini video of extras from behind the scenes.
That's a wrap
Well that’s all, folks! Our last speaker Samantha Cameron has left the stage, and now it’s time for the networking drinks reception. We hope you enjoyed the day.
If you want to read more stories from inspirational women, or learn more about the Telegraph's campaign, click here.
Politics and fashion sometimes don't mix
Living with a famous husband had its ups and downs, says Cameron.
Although it helps her get more publicity for the label, she says “there are people who don’t shop with us because of who my husband is”.
Even Samantha Cameron has wardrobe malfunctions
The topic of underwear is coming back to the stage. Cameron says the advice she would give to Boris Johnson's girlfriend Carrie Symonds is to “be prepared” with her wardrobe as she follows her partner around the world.
A low for Cameron was forgetting a nice-coloured bra. “Someone had to lend me hers”, she says.
Start from scratch... or simply improve?
Is it more important to start a business with a brand new concept, or just improve something that already exists, asks Lisa Armstrong.
“There are particular things I’m really passionate about in the brand”, says Cameron. “You just have to do those very well.”
Life in Downing Street
Managing a work/life balance can be tricky for many. Armstrong asks Cameron: “Was it more difficult going to the office when you were in Number 10?”
“No not really”, says Cameron. “As wife of the prime minister there’s nothing you’re obligated to do.”
How to manage work stress
The Telegraph's Lizzie Roberts is listening to Samantha Cameron revealing what life was like behind the doors of No 10.
Last of the day. Lisa Armstrong is joined by Samantha Cameron. On her time in No.10: “I think it was brilliant I had a job and wasn’t stuck in the Westminster bubble” #wmblive2019— Lizzie Roberts (@lizrob92) November 5, 2019
Samantha Cameron takes to the stage
Lisa Armstrong, the Telegraph’s fashion director, is now talking to Samantha Cameron about her fashion business Cefinn. Making and selling things comes naturally to Cameron, she says, and her favourite game growing up was playing shops.
Presenteeism and mental health
"We do need to disconnect, you can get clarity from solitude", says Tolhurst, who says that presenteeism is a bad thing not just for our own mental health, but also for productivity. He says he likes to travel far to truly unplug, favouring Arizona.
'Mental health conversations revolutionised my workplace'
"Looking back a couple of years ago I was a terrible leader", Tolhurst says, who says he was "scared of being seen to be weak", and didn't show empathy to his colleagues about any struggles they were going through.
He says his own mental health issues were caused by his wife leaving him, and having to move out of his family home. Realising he needed to normalise conversations about mental health "revolutionised my workplace", he adds.
I can’t imagine seeing a panel like this even two years ago. The amazing @bryony_gordon@vicderbyshire@GuyTolhurst on stage #wmblive2019 talking about busting taboos when it comes to talking about mental and physical health at work pic.twitter.com/2R4kO0JphL— Claire Cohen (@clairecohen) November 5, 2019
'I put on a mask every day and pretended to be fine'
Read more about how Guy Tolhurst came out about his mental health problems at work here.
Here says in the article: "I lacked the courage, conviction and even the words to speak up. But I’m glad I did. I am the leader, I need to be strong and get on with it, I told myself. I felt ashamed. I worried that if I did speak up my team would leave, customers would lose confidence and we would never secure investment."
Victoria Derbyshire on her mental health
"I've had two periods in my life of being down", says Victoria Derbyshire, who says that she was not able to talk about a bout of poor mental health a decade ago.
"Persuaded by my husband, I eventually went to the doctors", she says, who says she was "shocked" when the doctor said she could be depressed.
@vicderbyshire on her breast cancer diagnosis “that was a blow, I thought ‘oh my god my luck has run out’...because shit had hit the fan I dealt with it really well because I went into crisis mode”— Lizzie Roberts (@lizrob92) November 5, 2019
How to manage mental health in the workplace
The penultimate talk of the day has just begun, a panel discussion on how to manage mental health in the workplace, hosted by Telegraph columnist Bryony Gordon. We also have Guy Tolhurst, CEO of Indagate Group and broadcaster Victoria Derbyshire.
Is there space for another woman?
"You've got to think about whether there's space around the table for another woman", says Sháá Wasmund, who has opened the last chunk of the day's talks, after our final tea break.
A deeper look
We have lots of additional content about the speakers at today's event, if you want to learn more. Here is Deeba Syed, who spoke about working for the workplace harassment helpline which was set up by Time's Up.
Men's role in parenting matters for women
Asif Sadiq is talking about how men need to talk about their experiences looking after their children to show that it's not just an issue for women. He says that when he picks his child up from school he gets asked "Is his mother not well?"
Sadiq says: "We need more men to champion parental leave. Men need to speak out louder, they are playing that role, but the speaking around it is not there."
Workshop number two: female leadership in a male-dominated field
Thanks to everyone for that session on workwear. Again, there's a choice of workshops next. I've picked one on being a female leader in men-heavy areas. Annabel Denham of the Entrepreneurs' Network is chairing again, this time with Hillary Hutton-Squire from Gilead Sciences and Asif Sadiq, the Telegraph's Head of Diversity and Inclusion.
Work from the bottom up
Bridget Jones would be proud of Anna Clarke, head of deign at Tu, who says the key to work dressing is "a great big pair of pants". Women need to be comfortable in their clothes, she says, which isn't going to happen in a thong.
Showing your true colours at work
Deborah Denham, HR Director of Sainsbury's Argos, is talking about how people can show their own identities when they're wearing a uniform. She says policies at her company have been relaxed, getting rid of rules dictating your hair must be in a natural colour and nail varnish was a no.
Workshop: the New Codes of Workwear
We've split off from the main room into workshops. I chose one on what to wear for work in 2019: do women still need to power dress to be taken seriously? Annabel Denham, Anna Clarke, Deborah Dorman and Anna Whitehouse are talking everything from shoulder pads to trainers.
Speakers inspiring the audience
It's not just me who is wowed by Holly Tucker:
@notonthehighst co-founder @HollyLTucker is inspiring everyone! Live your best life- understand your true north - imposter syndrome is our superpower- women we don’t have to be experts at everything!! #WMBLive2019@Telegraph@NatWestBusiness#womensupportingwomenpic.twitter.com/Dc8CoAquhi— Sophie Best (@SophiegBest) November 5, 2019
Listen to your gut
Female entrepreneurs should follow their gut instinct in business, says Tucker, who calls hers a "compass". "I damaged my business quite a lot by feeling someone else knew better", she says.
How business can be the key to helping women
A bit more from Liz Truss's earlier talk, captured by Telegraph writer Lela London with this delightful GIF of Adele:
An alternative route to funding your business
Tucker says that the best investors are the people "who believe in you", she says, which means that crowdfunding could be a good idea as it means that your friends and family can get involved. "There's s--- tonnes of money out there, you need to ask for it", she says.
A success story for female entrepreneurs
Tucker's story is pretty remarkable: apparently her business has added £900m to the UK economy so far. She's not stopping any time soon, either: "I'm going to be doing it until I'm 90", she says.
How to get funding for your business
Victoria Harper, Features Director, is back on stage, this time talking to Holly Tucker MBE, co-founder of Not on the High Street.
The pair will be talking about Holly's success journey and how she grew her business from the kitchen table to employing 200 people.
Do we need quotas for women?
Quotas are often a controversial topic in conversations about equality, but Truss is not exactly on the fence. She says quotas are "potentially dangerous because it implies you're there as a token".
She says: "I want to see more women promoted in the Conservative Party and we need to keep women in politics. "What I don't believe in is quotas. I do believe we need to promote more women and remove barriers to women's success. One of the barriers in politics recently has been the attacks on female MPs which are extremely worrying and we need to deal with.
"My view is when you have quotas, when you say we're going to value you because you're a woman rather than the innate talent and skills you bring, it's potentially dangerous because it implies you're there as a token rather tn a contributor.
"The Labour Party is a good example. The Labour Party has had all-women shortlists since 1997 but a woman has never risen to the top of the Labour Party."
Q from the audience about the gender balance of cabinet. @trussliz “I do beleive we need to promote more women, but my view is when you have quotas...that is potentially dangerous because it implies you’re there as a token...” #wmblive2019— Lizzie Roberts (@lizrob92) November 5, 2019
The General Election has reared its head
Since we're just weeks from the December election, Truss hasn't been able to stop herself from making a political point or two. Apparently women entrepreneurs will be hurt the most by nationalisation under Labour, a party run by "brocialists", a slang term which describes left-wing, yet misogynist, men.
The Rt Hon Liz Truss MP, Minister for Women and Equalities
We're back from (a very good) lunch, and listening to Liz Truss who is talking about how enterprise can "liberate" women. "Presenteeism doesn't matter" when you're buying a product from someone, she says.
"The free market is a more powerful and liberating force than the government", she says. "I want to get rid of the barriers that could be holding women back in business."
We've got a break for lunch now, but we'll be back at 1.45pm, when Liz Truss, Minister for Women and Equalities, will be talking.
Sexual harassment in the food industry is endemic and females must speak up, says top chef
If you would like to know more about the problems that Asma Khan, founder of Darjeeling Express, was talking about this morning, you can read Eleanor Steafel and Anita Singh's report here.
The complexities of getting equality for women
Improving support for female entrepreneurs means understanding the ins and outs of the situation at the moment, says Robert Jenrick.
Men supporting women in work
Women's Editor Claire Cohen is giving Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Comunities and Local Government, a good grilling. "To quote Madeline Albright, is there a special place in hell for men who don't support women?" she says.
Don't be afraid of being feminine
Lynne Franks, founder of the SEED Network, says she has been fighting the battle about getting women more involved in business for 20 years. "Women have a different way of doing things", she says, which can be great for business as it brings a diversity of skills.
Laying out the facts
A lot of shocking statistics coming out of today's talks, including this:
Shocking statistics abt lack of investment by VCs in women led businesses - only 1p in every £1 #WMBLive2019— Lola Media (@ericawm_lola) November 5, 2019
Keynote panel: Why backing women was my best business move yet
After a great panel on technology, the stage is now hosting a discussion on the benefits to backing women. Claire Cohen, the Telegraph's Women's Editor, is chairing Tamara Gillan, Lynne Franks and Robert Jenrick MP.
The tech field still has a very long way to go
The facts and figures tell the story on technology, notes Ceylan Boyce on Twitter.
The other side of the argument on AI
"[AI] is a huge enabler for all of us", says Poppy Gustafsson, who is making an impassioned defence for technology. "It's not something we should be fearful of." She says that you shouldn't be scared off the field because you don't have a science or technology background.
The danger of prejudice in AI
There is lots of talk on how AI could be terrible for women - if our human biases are programmed into it.
Next panel: Will the AI revolution help or hinder women in work?
After a short break for networking and coffee (and cake!), we're back in the auditorium for more talks.
The Telegraph's Special Correspondent Harry de Quetteville is now chairing a panel on artificial intelligence. He is joined by Poppy Gustafsson, Professor Sandra Wachter and Anna Brailsford.
Good luck to Harry - the first man to take the stage today.
Catching up on the morning's first sessions
If you want a little more detail on this morning's fireside chat between Tina Brown and Allison Pearson, you can read Eleanor Steafel's account here.
Staying sane when you lose your job
Some honest advice from Ayesha Hazarika, on what to do when you lose your job in your 40s. "Drink a vat of wine", she says.
Use your personal experience in business
Cody Gapare, founder of C-Lash, is talking about how she launched her false eyelashes business after cancer made her real ones fall out. She invented her own range of lashes which would be appropriate for people with totally bare lids. "I was just trying to find a solution for myself", she says.
A view of our panel
Courtesy of Steve Hyde on Twitter.
'You have to hustle'
Ayesha Hazarika is speaking first, about losing her job as a Labour advisor almost immediately after the party lost the 2015 election. She says she had to give herself three months to grieve the loss of her job, which also was her social life and sense of identity.
She went in a totally different direction, and decided to go back to a previous passion for stand-up comedy. "You have to hustle", she says, describing how she had to constantly pitch and work for free for about a year before she got paid.
Panel: How to change your career and never look back
Thanks to the last panel, who gave us a fascinating and sobering discussion on how to call out wrongdoing at work.
Next up Victoria Harper, Features Director at The Telegraph, who is chairing a panel on how to change your career completely. Joining her are Sadie Frost, Meg Matthews, Cody Gapare, Ayesha Hazarika and Fiona McIntosh.
Women gagged by non-disclosure agreements
The conversation has turned to non-disclosure agreements being used to gag women in the workplace.
Zelda Perkins is sharing more shocking stories of the egregious contracts Harvey Weinstein got his employees to sign: not only was she bound not to tell the police of any illegal activity that happened, she couldn't even tell a therapist. She also wasn't allowed to keep a copy of the contract, meaning she couldn't be sure what she had even signed.
The spectre of Harvey Weinstein looms again
Also on stage is Zelda Perkins, Harvey Weinstein's former PA, who in the past has said that he was sexually inappropriate to her almost immediately when he employed her when she was 22.
Power is the human Achilles heel, we’re all susceptible, including other women who you’d hope would call out bad behaviour but it’s not a given, says Zelda Perkins, who helped expose Harvey Weinstein #wmblive2019— Jenny Roper (@JennyRopes) November 5, 2019
Why Darjeeling Express only has female chefs
Asma Khan says her decision to employ only female chefs at Darjeeling Express started out as a practical decision about the supply of staff, but it "became a political decision". Although there are hugely famous male chefs, "I have not seen powerful women in hospitality", says Khan.
Panel: Call it out - how to make yourself heard
Thanks to Tina Brown for sharing so many stories and so much advice for women in work today. The stage is littered with the number of names she casually dropped, from Tom Hanks to Barack Obama.
Now we have a panel discussion chaired by Claire Newell, the Telegraph's investigations editor, about how to call out bad behaviour at work. Also on stage are Zelda Perkins, Asma Khan, Kirstina Combe and Deeba Syed.
Tina Brown recounts working with "horrific bully" Harvey Weinstein
After her experience being underpaid at the New Yorker, Brown says she leapt at Harvey Weinstein's pursual of her to lead his new Talk magazine. Although she says there was nothing sexual in his treatment of her, he quickly became "the most horrific bully". "I was distressed by how much he destabilised me", says Brown. She describes how he shouted and swore at her, saying she was "completely blown away" by it. "I've never been spoken to like that in my life".
Know what you're worth before asking for a raise
"I never asked for a raise", admits Brown, who says she waited for her bosses to occasionally increase her salary incrementally, even while she was working wonders on increasing circulation with magazines. "I was ridiculously underpaid", she says.
Women should use Glassdoor, an Internet database of salaries to see what they are worth and what they should be paid, she says.
More talk on British and American takes on feminism
“America is too big, it needs editing. In many ways easier to be a successful women in US but interesting that we’ve had two female PMs in the UK and the US still hasn’t,” @TinaBrownLM@TelB2BEvents#WMBLive2019pic.twitter.com/NAdjp4D7p2— Jane Fordham (@Fordiham) November 5, 2019
Feelings in the workplace are important
"Having EQ about the people who work for you" is crucial, says Brown, talking about how important it is to understand what makes your colleagues tick.
Allison Pearson has questioned whether this emotional intelligence could be a particularly female trait, and whether a male boss would have the same instinct.
Glass cliff might not be as bad as thought, says Brown
The glass cliff, the idea that when women get to the top it's often in broken enterprises where they are doomed to failure, might not be such a bad thing, says Brown, who delivered the kiss of life to magazines like Tatler and Vanity Fair. Even if it's small and failing, "it's my small and failing thing", says Brown.
A view of the stage
For those of you not lucky enough to be here today, here's a little view of what everyone at Women Mean Business Live is watching, courtesy of Fiona McIntosh on Twitter.
British women should be confident like Americans, says Tina Brown
Brown has started her fireside chat talking about the differences in women's progress in the UK and the US. She says American women are much more confident than their British counterparts, which helps them rise to the top of their professions.
Tina Brown and Allison Pearson come on to the stage
"I need a lie down when I read your CV", says Allison Pearson, welcoming first speaker Tina Brown to the stage. She says Brown is an actual legend, not like "when my kids say you're a legend for ordering a Deliveroo".
Telegraph editor Chris Evans takes the stage
"Good morning ladies, and some gentlemen", says Chris Evans, opening the day. He is praising the successes of Telegraph "shining a light" on the issues of women in the workplace, pushing for equality with the Women Mean Business campaign, and investigating the use of non-disclosure agreements to cover up wrongdoing in the workplace.
Welcome to Women Mean Business Live!
The first people are abandoning their croissants downstairs and starting to trickle into the main auditorium to snag the best seats at the front. We're looking forward to a quick welcome from The Telegraph's editor Chris Evans, before a fireside chat with columnist Allison Pearson and the legendary magazine editor, writer and CEO Tina Brown.