The proportion of women working in the UK is at its highest level, according to research by the Office for National Statistics.
It shows that nearly 70 per cent of women of working age, between 16 and 59, were working in spring 2000. This places the UK behind only Denmark and Sweden in Europe.
Women now represent 45 per cent of the UK's workforce, and 80 per cent of working women are permanent employees.
Jenny Watson, deputy chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said, "The increase in the number of women in work is welcome but it is important that we look beyond the overall figure and at what kind of work women are actually doing.
"Women are still concentrated in a small number of low-paid jobs, many of them part-time. This is partly due to outdated ideas about what is women's work and partly because women still tend to take on more caring responsibilities in the family."