This post by Scarlet Harris from the TUC first appeared on the Touchstone Blog and is reproduced here with Scarlet’s permission.
While men’s unemployment has risen more sharply than women’s this month, it’s still worth taking a quick look at what’s happening to women’s unemployment (spoiler: the answer is “nothing good”).
- Women’s unemployment has risen by 44,000 in the last 3 months. That’s a 4.2% rise on the quarter.
- Women’s unemployment now stands at 1.07 million – the highest level since at least 1992 when the current data series began.
- There has been a 60,000 increase in long term unemployment with women making up more than half of that figure (35,000).
- As discussed in previous blogs, the women’s claimant count continues to rise at a steeper rate than the men’s claimant count – partly due to the changes in the Lone Parent Obligations. The women’s claimant count stands at 527,000. This represents a 22.5% increase on the previous year. While the male claimant count currently stands at over a million, it is rising less rapidly (a 3.1% increase on the year) than the female claimant count.
- The number of women being made redundant has increased by 32% over the last year, as compared a 10% decrease in the number of men being made redundant.
Listening to Radio 4’s Today programme this morning you could be forgiven for thinking that women’s unemployment is due to a combination of women choosing to stay at home and the demand for the types of jobs women typically do simply evaporating into thin air (thank you Will Hutton for telling us that executives no longer need women as secretaries because they are able to organise their own diaries).
The facts do not bear this out. The demand for healthcare professionals, social workers, careers advisers and teachers has not diminished. It’s just that the money for public sector jobs has been axed.
Women want to work as much as ever. In fact, women need to work more than ever. More and more women are the main breadwinner in the family. In the last quarter, 1.3m economically inactive women reported that they wanted a job, as compared to 957,000 economically inactive men. Let’s not pretend for a minute that this crisis is simply a manifestation of women’s desire to retreat to a domestic idyll. And let’s not pretend that this trend can be halted without halting the devastating cuts to the public sector