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Battle of the sexes: women’s unemployment at 26-year high

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Women's unemployment has risen to a 26 year high despite male unemployment steadily decreasing due to Government policy, according to the Fawcett Society.

Government plans for growth are ‘leaving women behind’, with females already bearing the brunt of cuts to the public sector workforce, said the women’s rights campaigners.

In the report the company said almost three times as many women as men have become ‘long term’ unemployed in the last two and a half years, with 103,000 women falling into this category company to 37,000 men.

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “The labour market is in the midst of enormous change. Almost a million jobs are being cut from the public sector, while many of the jobs created by what growth there is in the private sector are low waged and insecure.

“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 report warned that if the government fails to take more action, it risks creating what it terms a ‘female unfriendly’ labour market, characterised by persistent and rising levels of women’s unemployment, diminishing pay levels for women, and a widening of the gender pay gap.

The report warns that if a solution is not found, the number of unemployed females could rise to 1.48m by 2018.

Goddard continued: “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. At the same time, those women who do find work in this sector are likely to face lower wages and a wider gender pay gap.

“This “head in the sand” approach ignores the fact that women are now nearly half the workforce – and has serious consequences.

“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.

“Not only is this bad for women, it’s hugely damaging for our economy.”

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