Making Ends Meet Is Still Hard Work for Women; Female Employment Is at Its Highest for Two Decades ..but the Figures Hide the Reality of Thousands Stuck in Part-Time, Low-Paid or Temporary Jobs

Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), February 21, 2014 | Go to article overview

Making Ends Meet Is Still Hard Work for Women; Female Employment Is at Its Highest for Two Decades ..but the Figures Hide the Reality of Thousands Stuck in Part-Time, Low-Paid or Temporary Jobs


Byline: Annie Brown

THE number of women in work in Scotland is at its highest level in 20 years but prospects for many of those in search of a job are still bleak.

In Scotland, the number of women in work increased by 72,000 in 2013, to reach 1.24million overall.

The figures are good news for women and for Scotland but the picture behind the statistics isn't as clear as politicians would have us believe.

There is a difference between the unemployed and the economically inactive - women who have withdrawn from the labour market and are not actively seeking work.

These invisible women, who weren't claiming benefits, have now emerged to boost employment figures but, for many others desperate for a job, the situation hasn't changed.

Stephen Boyd, assistant secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress, said many women who had been unemployed during the recession had given up trying to find work.

Women have opted to stay at home and care for their children rather than take up low-paid alternatives.

But those who had perhaps reluctantly taken career breaks were now taking on jobs.

Stephen said: "Those women, perhaps single mothers, have chosen to come back into the market but those who are unemployed and have been actively seeking work still haven't found it.

"The situation has undoubtedly improved and it's good that more women are going into work but we need to remember that women's unemployment hasn't fallen as employment has grown."

There are also a disproportionate number of women forced to take jobs that are temporary, part-time, low paid and low security.

Stephen said: "The labour market has improved and there are opportunities that weren't there for the last two years.

"It is good that there are more women in work, but we know the majority of new jobs created over the last couple of years have been in the low-paid sector.

"We need to think about the quality of jobs that have been created and what that means for families."

Since 2010, 1.3million jobs have been created across the UK, 55,000 of which have been filled by women. More women have also set up their own businesses.

This increase could hide large numbers putting in very long hours for little financial return. …

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