Nearly 300,000 young women 'shut of out' of the job market due to a lack of Government support

Mothers in particular struggle to re-enter the workplace due to a lack of affordable childcare, according to the Young Women’s Trust

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The Independent Online

Nearly 300,000 young women in the UK are "shut out" of the job market due to a lack of support from the Government, according to a study by a leading women’s charity.

The Young Women's Trust revealed 285,000 young women – 82,000 more than men – were classed as economically inactive, meaning they are not working or not looking for a job, despite 86 per cent of them wanting a job, based on the charity’s analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics.

Caring for family members is the main reason women give for being economically inactive. Mothers in particular struggle to re-enter the workplace due to a lack of affordable childcare.

A lack of regular and affordable transport also prevents women from finding a position, especially in rural areas, the study found.

Young women out of work can feel isolated and struggle to get by financially. Almost a third of those who are economically inactive want to work, according to the report.

Dr Carole Easton, chief executive of Young Women’s Trust, said: “Young women are telling us they want to work but too often they are shut out of the jobs market by a lack of networks and support and a lack of convenient childcare. While the Government focuses on reducing its unemployment figures, hundreds of thousands of women who are not included in the numbers are being forgotten.

“Giving young women the support they need to find work will not only help them to become financially independent but will benefit businesses and the economy too.”

Research from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Equality & Human Rights Commission has shown that 11 per cent of women reported being dismissed, made redundant or treated so badly they had to leave once they became pregnant or returned to work after having a baby.

A staggering 20 per cent reported another financial loss, such as salary reduction, failing to gain a promotion or not receiving an expected pay rise or bonus.

Joeli Brearley, founder of the online project Pregnant Then Screwed, which aims to raise awareness of pregnancy discrimination in the UK, said the high cost of childcare is preventing many women to go back to work.

“Access to free or subsidised childcare would mean more women are able to return to work as the cost is prohibitive for many and younger mothers are likely to earn less than their older counterparts,” Ms Brearley told The Independent.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, previously said: “We need to do far more to support all working mums, starting by increasing the number of quality part-time jobs and making childcare much more affordable.”

Professor Sue Maguire, of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath, who carried out the research in partnership with Young Women’s Trust, said the research shone a light on the unacceptable levels of economic inactivity among young women

She said: “The evidence highlighted the detachment and isolation, accompanied, in too many cases, by high levels of anxiety and depression that many young women who fall into this category face. 

“Too many young women lack the appropriate support which would enable them to re-engage, not just with education, employment or training, but with society more generally.

“As a matter of urgency, policy-makers from different government departments must come together to devise and implement targeted and sustained interventions."