Giving a voice. Starting a conversation.
This weekend we’ll announce the interim findings of our Scarred for Life? Inquiry.
Whoever I have spoken to about the issue of women not in education, employment or training (NEET) has been astonished at how many there are – 418,000 according to figures released by the Department for Education last week. And the figure has barely changed in a decade. Then everyone is astonished that there are so many more women in this position than men; 93,000 more. And then I push the astonishment levels even further by explaining that women are NEET for much longer than men; three years on average compared with two.
But what I haven’t been able to do until now is talk knowledgeably about the experience of women who are NEET and the report, Totally Wasted? The Crisis of Young Women's Worklessness, will enable me to do that. We have spoken to hundreds of NEET women, through focus groups, a survey and an opinion poll.
Last week, Nadine, one of the panel members for the Inquiry, shared her story through a blog and others have shared theirs in the report but there are so many more young women out there who feel stuck and stigmatised, who look to us to give them a voice.
We will do our utmost on their behalf and use the report to start a vital conversation, including at the political party conferences.
The Scarred for Life? Inquiry will continue to gather evidence, with a view to making detailed recommendations in 2015. We will be hearing from more young women, as well as employers, training providers, Jobcentres and advice and guidance organisations. Why not join the conversation by posting a comment here, or get in touch with us to share your views?