Women bearing the brunt of labour market challenges

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Women are suffering most due to the impact of the recession on the labour market, according to a report published today by equality campaign organisation the Fawcett Society.

The report, The changing labour market: delivering for women, delivering for growth set out to evaluate the position of UK women workers since the recession, and found that unemployment among women has risen to a 26-year high while unemployment among men is decreasing.

It also found that almost three times as many women as men have become long-term unemployed in the past two-and-a-half years – 103,000 compared with 37,000 men.

The Fawcett Society said women have borne the brunt of cuts to the public-sector workforce so far, and predicted that around 75% of these are yet to emerge, and warned that if the current pattern continues, approximately 1.48 million women will be unemployed by 2018.

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “While unemployment has fallen overall, our research shows that the situation for women is bleak. Female unemployment has started to rise – and this will continue unless the Government does more than tinker around the edges of this issue.

“The Government’s various plans for growth continue to leave many women behind, with the majority of new jobs being created in the private sector going to men.

“If the Government doesn’t address this growing problem, we risk returning to a much more male-dominated labour market, with record numbers of women unemployed, those in work typically earning less, and the gap in pay between women and men beginning to grow instead of shrink.

Goddard called on the Government to tackle the gender pay gap and to encourage progressive working practices in order to overhaul the “female unfriendly” labour market and also called for investment in sectors other than those that are currently dominated by men.

XpertHR has a good practice guide on gender equality.

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