This is why she has been nominated for the Retail Activist Award at this year’s Retail Week Awards, sponsored by Salesforce.

Gold has campaigned on the issue, reaching far beyond her own business through initiatives such as her Women On Wednesday, or #WOW, initiative on social media to support women in business for as long as she has been in her working life.

Retail Week Awards 2019 logo

Gold says her commitment to the issue arose naturally from the start of her career at Ann Summers when she was interested in “empowering women in the bedroom” at a time when ideas about gender roles and equality were very different. “The younger generation today would have no idea of the crusade that I have been on over the last 30 to 40 years,” she says.

But her interest soon extended far beyond and into the wider world of business.

She says: “The last 10 or 15 years have been about empowering women in business, in the boardroom, the workplace.”

That was influenced by her own experience as a business leader. She says: “I encountered a sort of boys’ club culture, which thankfully is not something we are seeing as much in this generation.

“Early on there were difficulties in networking and going to institutions and what we would consider normal events.

“It was always heavily male orientated, and it was intimidating for women and I could see how that could be such a barrier for women in business and ambitious women.”

Gold, who is an ambassador for Retail Week’s Be Inspired campaign designed to provide role models for women in the industry, thinks retail is “better than most industries” when it comes to diversity and equality but maintains: “It’s not job done, there’s still much more to do.”

The Retail Activist Award

Gold has been nominated for the Retail Activist Award at the Retail Week Awards, sponsored by Salesforce.

The prize aims to recognise an individual who has personally championed a cause or led a campaign which demonstrates retail’s good corporate citizenship and contribution to society.

Gold is on the shortlist alongside James Timpson, chief executive of Timpson, for his work on employing ex-offenders; Steve Murrells, chief executive of The Co-op, for his work on global water poverty; Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, for his work on plastics and palm oil; Alannah Weston, deputy chair of Selfridges, for her work on Project Ocean and sustainability more widely; and Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco, for his work on eliminating food waste.

The winner will be announced at the awards on March 14.