'Fall' in NEET level hides reality for young women
Today the latest figures for the numbers of young people not in education, employment or training (NEET) are out. Overall the numbers are down on the last quarter: 310,000 males and 428,000 females are NEET. This is what we’d expect – the numbers always tend to be lower in this quarter compared to the previous one.
In terms of female NEETs, these latest figures represent a drop in actual numbers from the previous quarter of 47,000. However, the more important comparison is with the same quarter figures last year. This shows that the numbers of young women NEET rose by 4,000, while the numbers of young men NEET dropped by 65,000.
We will no doubt hear that it is marvellous that the overall numbers of young people NEET is dropping. This will, as ever, hide the real story: that the numbers of young women NEET has remained nearly the same for over a decade and there are always around 120,000 more young women than young men in this situation. The fact is no one can say they are serious about addressing young people’s worklessness if they do not recognise the specific needs and challenges young women face in finding work, training or education opportunities that will allow them to achieve their goals in life.