Young women in crisis

Monday 25 November 2013

Young women are in crisis and struggling to cope

A new report out today shows that hundreds of thousands of young women are unemployed, under- qualified and unhappy. They are at serious risk of remaining poor for the rest of their lives.“Young Women – The Real Story”, the inaugural report of Young Women’s Trust [1], shows that high numbers of young women are struggling with their finances and their futures and feel they are judged unfairly. The challenges they face are harming their emotional well being and damaging their future prospects

  • Almost half are filled with dread about their finances and think they will never get a job
  • 32% are in debt all the time
  • 77% said that they are judged by their looks
  • 56% lack self confidence
  • 46% said they had no one they could trust

Polling released today shows that overall the general public echoes young women’s concerns.  

  • 65% are worried that there is a generation of young people  who may never be able to get a job
  • 78% agree that young women are under much greater pressure than young men to conform to stereotypes about beauty, weight and sexualised behaviour
  • 57% think that young women nowadays are at greater risk of suffering mental health problems than their mothers were, at the same age

Despite this, the poll also shows that there is limited understanding of the additional challenges faced by over 1 million young women who have low or no qualifications, who have no or precarious employment and who have low or no income.  For example:

  • There are more than half a million young women who are NEET, (100,000 more than young men of the same age.) but nearly half of the population think this tends to be a bigger problem for young men

And there are some young women who continue to be demonised by society:

  • 66% believe that young women get pregnant just to get housing and benefits
  • 48% believe that in general teenage mums are worse parents than older mums

Dr. Carole Easton, Chief Executive, said:

There are many myths about the opportunities available to young women and the life choices they make.  These judgements, usually highly negative, mean that appropriate support is not made available to young women.  Growing evidence shows that once a young woman becomes financially impoverished she is very likely to remain so for the rest of her life.

We are particularly concerned about young women who have low or no qualifications when they leave school and then become NEET (not in employment, education or training.) as they are at greatest risk of suffering long periods of unemployment or only ever working in low paid jobs.