YWT's Policy Recommendations

More than one million young women face a lifetime of financial, social and emotional disadvantage because they don’t have a job or are in low paid, insecure work.


That is why Young Women’s Trust is calling on the Government to introduce policies that work for young women, especially those struggling to live on low or no pay.

We want the government to...

Invest in jobs and skills for young women

  • Improve financial support and pay for young people, many of whom are struggling to afford training. 
  • Introduce targets to help more young women into male-dominated apprenticeships and give employers better guidance on the action they can take to do this.
  • Revisit the Industrial Strategy so that it explicitly prioritises investing in jobs and skills for young women.
  • Establish a cross-industry commission to explore creative ways to address the gender segregation that remains so persistent in the workplace.

Ensure employment support for young women is flexible, personalised and responsive to their needs

  • Create a more holistic Jobcentre Plus service that improves young women’s confidence, skills and employment outcomes. 
  • Run and commission employment services that are open to innovation, provide support outside of traditional 9-5 hours and can be accessed by phone and online.
  • Involve young women in the design of employment services, including Jobcentre Plus where many young women have told us they have had bad experiences.
  • Monitor the roll-out of Universal Credit to ensure that it does not increase gender inequality

End age discrimination against young people 

  • Introduce equal pay for equal work by extending the National Living Wage to under 25s. Sign our petition.
  • Equalise financial support for under 25s who are job seeking or unable to work, through changes to ESA, Income Support, JSA and Universal Credit.
  • We also called for the government to reinstate housing benefit for 18-21 year olds and we are delighted that this has happened.

Make work an affordable option for people with caring responsibilities

  • Update flexible working legislation to make the right to request flexible working available from day one of a job. 
  • Move towards making free childcare available year-round to help support women into work. 
  • Improve maternity rights for self-employed women, including by bringing Maternity Allowance in line with Statutory Maternity Pay and giving greater flexibility for keeping in touch with their business while receiving Maternity Allowance. 
  • Strengthen support for fathers/partners to take paid time off work for childcare.

Mainstream gender across Government 

  • Strengthen the Government Equalities Office to enable it to more effectively assess gender inequality, ensure the right data is collected and coordinate work across Government. 
  • Carry out full gender equality impact assessments of new policies, legislation and spending announcements, and make these publicly available. 
  • Ensure that exiting the European Union does not disadvantage young women.

Read the recommendations in full