The crisis of young women’s worklessness

This report from 2014 looks at the impact on women of being not in education, employment or training (NEET).

The number of people in England not in education, employment or training (NEET) is high. However, despite common assumptions about who is NEET, there are many more women than men in this position and this has been the case for more than a decade. Women are NEET for longer and the impact is deeper, with the effects sometimes lasting for a lifetime.

But, young women want to work. They often cannot because the advice, training and support they receive does not lead to any employment or leads to highly competitive, poorly paid jobs in a limited range of occupations. Contrary to popular assumptions, only a quarter of women who are not in education, employment or training are mothers, but those who are, face even more barriers to working.
Young women who are NEET can be exploited, just as men can. But a zero hours contract or a job paying under the minimum wage is harder to avoid or escape when you have fewer choices in the first place, and harder to cope with if you have children to provide for and look after.

Women are stuck and they are stigmatised. We shouldn’t be willing to accept this. Economically too, it makes no sense to deny women who want to work the opportunity to do so. For too long, this issue has been denied the attention it deserves. In this report, we hear first-hand from hundreds of women who are NEET about what they think needs to change.