Women face barriers despite UK flexible working: survey

AFP , Wednesday 9 Aug 2023

Women in the UK are prevented from working in the growing tech and the green sectors because of barriers including low-income backgrounds and not enough flexibility, a survey showed Wednesday.

File Photo- Protesters hold up placards during the Women s March in London on Jan. 21, 2018 as part of a global day of protests . AFP


The findings by social enterprise Challenge Works, supported by US bank JPMorgan Chase, come as the government prepares to introduce a law on flexible working which the report argued could be improved upon.

"As vacancies in future-focused industries such as technology are on the rise and talent is in demand, two-thirds of women from lower-income households with children say that businesses have to change their attitudes towards flexible work," said a report containing results of the survey.

A total 2,000 UK adults were questioned last month, including women described as being in a low-income household and who have children.

"Starting the conversation about supporting employees with care duties is just one step in tackling barriers for women from lower-income backgrounds when it comes to future-focused jobs," said Teodora Chis, lead author of the "Pathways to Progress" report.

"Our report identified numerous challenges, which, beyond care duties, include better funding for training and improved hiring and employee support practices," she added.

UK workers will soon be able to request flexible employment from the first day of a job thanks to a new law.

It comes after millions of mainly office workers continue to work from home, at least part of the week, in the wake of the Covid pandemic.

The survey found that 71 percent of employers from future-focused industries believe "there won't be enough people from low-income backgrounds without change".

It showed also that almost one third of working women from lower-income backgrounds and with children think they will have to stop employment at some point owing to caring responsibilities.

Question by AFP, Chis said the high cost of UK childcare put mothers "in this impossible dilemma to have the time and resources to train, work or take care of their children".

Earlier this year, the government announced that most working parents in England would be offered 30 hours of free childcare for their under-fives, to ease cost-of-living pressures on families amid high inflation.

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