Can you provide an overview of your background?
I am the founder of Jennifer Young Training, Beauty Despite Cancer and The Menopause Plus. I have a first degree in Biology, postgraduate degrees in occupational health and law, numerous therapy qualifications and I am an associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine.
13 years ago my local hospital asked me to work with them to create a skincare line for their cancer patients. That’s what led to the creation of Defiant Beauty, and, later, the creation of accredited qualifications for therapists, through the training school, Jennifer Young Training.
Can you share insight into the Jennifer Young business?
The business has three brands within it. Jennifer Young Training is dedicated to training therapists and healthcare practitioners in specialist touch treatments. We have two strands to our training: the first is oncology touch therapies, enabling therapists to treat cancer patients meaningfully, effectively and safely; the second is our hormone balancing treatments for women in menopause.
Beauty Despite Cancer is our consumer outlet for natural skincare that addresses the side effects of cancer treatment. The Menopause Plus (MPlus) is our consumer outlet for natural products that address the unwanted consequences of menopause.
Can you provide examples and insight where you have seen or experienced gender inequality in the industry?
In my personal experience I find being female to be an advantage. If I have faced challenges resulting from being female, I have not noticed them. I have, perhaps, placed them alongside all of the other day-to-day challenges and just got on and dealt with them.
I worked in almost exclusively male environments from graduating until starting my business, so I suspect I have normalised typically male behaviours, resulting in their going unnoticed.
That said, I have observed, since moving on from my background in science and law, to become part of the wellness industry, that men I meet in all aspects of life assume I am under-educated and that I have a hobby business. I don’t see this as a challenge but as a source of quiet amusement.
Have you seen evolution in this area in recent years?
I think the biggest area where there is a discrepancy for women is the acknowledgement that we need different support at different life stages – we are not men and equality isn’t always about being given exactly the same things. There are structures and laws in place for women in pregnancy but there has been no support for women in menopause, which can be very disruptive and often affects women as they’re coming into their professional prime.
It’s estimated that one in 10 women have quit their job because of menopause symptoms and that’s to our collective loss. Where I see change beginning to happen is that women are starting to demand more support. We’re talking about menopause more and change will come as a result. More companies are choosing to do more for women because they’re understanding better, but it needs to go further.
Menopause is an unavoidable part of life and whilst many look to the protected characteristics of the Equality Act in the UK for help, the general requirements of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) are more immediately applicable.
Where do you feel the solutions lie and what can be done to balance the gender gap?
I am a lawyer, with a lawyer’s tendency to rejoice in detail. I will spare everyone the laser focus on language, but it is important to note that the law refers to ‘persons’ when requiring employees to be looked after. I believe the key to reducing a gender gap is to consider all as ‘persons’, gender should not be a factor when taking steps to look after an employee or colleague.
What would your message be to industry leaders and organisations who hold the ability to balance the gender gap?
A truly equitable approach is to do what is best for the person, regardless of gender. Of course, some find that more difficult than others.
End Credit: Jennifer Young is a world-renowned skincare and wellbeing specialist. For further information please visit: www.JenniferYoungWellness.com