Explore the issues

There are 1 million young women in England and Wales struggling to live on low or no pay. We want them to thrive and have a fairer working future which is why we are working hard to address the income gap.

Cost of living crisis

Young women have been hit especially hard by the rising cost of living and are more likely than young men to be struggling to make ends meet. This is because young women were already earning less to start with.

On average, young women take home around a fifth less than young men. Young women are more likely to be doing unpaid caring work, like caring for children or younger siblings. So they are more likely to be in part-time jobs, not able to get enough hours or to progress or not working at all.

Our research report, Just Getting By: Young Women’s Trust Annual Survey 2022, highlights the difficulties young women today face as the financial divide between young women and young men gets wider.
Read our 2022 research report Just Getting By

Play videoA cartoon-style illustration of a young woman scratching her head next to a stack of coins. A man next to her is leaning against a large stack of money.

The income gap explained

Young women face inequality from the start of their working lives, earning around a fifth less than young men. So why does this happen?

The Income Gap video transcript

Watch the video

Costing Our Futures

The cost of living crisis is impacting young women’s futures. Young women feel ignored by politicians and don’t believe the government will prioritise their needs.

We’re calling on the government to

  • Extend the national living wage to those under the age of 23
  • Guarantee genuinely affordable childcare that enables young women to work the hours they need to, including in the short term:
    • Extending the financial support available to parents from the end of parental leave to the start of school
    • Changing the Universal Credit rules so parents don’t have to pay costs upfront; and increasing childcare support within UC to cover the real costs of childcare
    • Providing adequate funding to childcare providers to stop nurseries closing.
  • Increase the support available through the benefits system so that it genuinely meets the cost of living over the long term.

Our open letter was written by Ire Adebayo, a young woman working in social care in Huddersfield who, like thousands of other young women, is struggling to make ends meet.

In our open letter, we have called on the Prime Minister to meet with young women, hear about the real challenges they face and discuss how the government can act to make a difference to their lives.

Read the Costing Our Futures open letter


Sabrina looks at the camera, smiling happily.

Sabrina's story

Sabrina lost her job in August 2021 and was diagnosed with a long-term medical condition in the same month.  

She opens up about trying to save money on food and feeling sick when she saw her energy bill.

I felt sick when I saw my energy bill
A group of young women laughing together.

Guide to working inclusively with young women

We have developed a toolkit with young women called Working inclusively with young women.

It highlights the benefits of involving young women in decision making, what to consider when seeking their views and the most effective ways to encourage their meaningful participation.

Download the guide [pdf]