Encouraging Signs for Women's Employment

A new report by the Women's Business Council has indicated that steps taken to help remove barriers to female success including, all employees being able to request flexible working, the shared parental leave system and the Tax Free Childcare scheme, are beginning to work. Maximising Women's Contribution to Future Economic Growth - One Year On highlights several encouraging signs for women's employment including:

  • More women are in employment than ever before (14.1 million);
  • The Female employment rate is at its highest (67.7%);
  • More women are self-employed than ever before (1.4 million);
  • The female inactivity rate is at its lowest (27.6%);
  • More women are working full time than ever before (8.1 million);
  • More women are leading SMEs (20.2%);
  • More women are starting apprenticeships than ever before (279,000);
  • More female are graduating than ever before (449,000); and
  • More women are working part time than ever before (6 million).

The Women's Business Council is an independent working group that was set up to advise businesses and as well as the government on what can be done to ensure women are get the same opportunities in their careers as men.

Commenting on the report, Women's Business Council, Chair Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE, said: "We are hugely encouraged by the progress that has been made over the last year. More women than ever are in employment, the gender pay gap has closed to nearly zero for women under 40 working full time and there are more women sitting on boards than at any time". Ms McGregor Smith warned however: "This is not the time to be complacent. We must address cultural attitudes in the workplace, often deeply ingrained, if we are to see true gender parity. I'm confident that with our esteemed new members joining the Council this year, and with such a dedicated board, we can make even greater progress in 2014/15 towards our fundamental goals: broadening career aspirations among girls, and maximising women's contribution to future economic growth."

Similarly, Women's minister, Nicky Morgan, stated: "I want all businesses and employers to play their part by driving forward the cultural change needed to ensure women can achieve their full potential. We will continue to work with the Women's Business Council, to ensure women are supported in every stage of their career."

The report, Maximising Women's Contribution to Future Economic Growth - One Year On, can be accessed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/316312/DCMS_WBC_One_Year_On_v2.pdf

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