Women bear the brunt of work and unemployment problems - report

Mon, 18/08/2014 - 13:40 -- nick

Women have borne the brunt of the recession, according to the Fawcett Society, a female-specialist representative organisation.

Although the government has pushed an idea that the UK is coming out of recession, critics have shown that only those who already have the most are really benefitting.

The most recent pay figures released last week show people are getting poorer quickly, with wages actually going down by 0.2% over the last year even as inflation sits stubbornly at nearly 2%.

It is women who are suffering most, according to the Fawcett Society.

In a wide-ranging survey the organisation found that, since the downturn started in 2008:

- 826,000 more women have moved into low paid and insecure work;

- 789,000 more women are underemployed (working fewer hours than they want), a doubling of the pre-recession number;

- 371,000 more women have registered as self-employed, which on average pays less than minimum wage according to UnemployedNet analysis;

The result of this is a huge worsening of conditions, with half of low-paid women saying they feel worse off than they did in 2008, one-in-ten turning to payday loan companies and one-in-twelve being forced to foodbanks to feed themselves and their families.

Dr Eva Neitzert, Deputy CEO at the Fawcett Society, believes this shows the recession has never gone away for many of the UK's poorest:

“The evidence is clear: after five years of decline, the UK economy is back on the upswing. Employment is up, unemployment is down and GDP is improving. However, as our research shows, low paid women are being firmly shut out of the recovery.

“The numbers of women in low paid, insecure work are still alarmingly high. Since the crisis in 2008 we have seen a nearly two-fold increase in the numbers of women working in insecure, part-time and temporary jobs where they would prefer to be in secure, full-time roles. In addition, 371,000 more women have moved into self-employment – a form of work which is typically very low paid and where women earn an average of 40 per cent less than men. We have also seen a sharp rise in the numbers of women on controversial zero hours contracts -  1 in 8 low paid women now describe themselves as being on a zero hours contract, the majority through necessity rather than choice. Overall, since 2008 almost a million extra women have moved into types of work that are typically low paid and insecure."

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