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For every year that a woman spends out of work, she earns around 2% less on average when she returns to work, according to analysis by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.

Currently, around 1.8 million women in Britain aren’t working because they’re caring for their home or family — that’s about eight times the number of men in the same position. 

That’s why the government has announced a new fund of £500,000 to support helping marginalised and isolated women — including those who have survived domestic abuse, who are homeless, or who have health issues — back into work. 

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The funding was announced on Thursday by Penny Mordaunt, both the UK’s minister for women and equalities and the secretary of state for international development. 

“For too long caring responsibilities, language barriers, or the terrible impacts of domestic abuse have held many women back from having the freedom, support, and choice to do what they want to do,” said Mordaunt in a statement

“I want all these women to be given the chance to reach their full potential, which is why we are investing in them to grow their skills and their confidence, so they feel ready to return to work when they want to,” she added. 

She said: “By supporting women at all stages of their lives, we are tapping into previously ignored talent, addressing gender inequality in the workplace and helping our economy grow.” 

Mordaunt has pledged to put marginalised women at the heard of the Government Equalities Office’s (GEO) work, according to a government statement — and she’ll also reportedly be publishing a strategy in spring 2019 detailing how the government will be working to economically empower all women.

The new funding will be distributed to organisations that can show they have direct relationships with employers who can offer job opportunities — with applications for those in England starting on Thursday.

The funding will specifically support vulnerable people who are struggling to return to work, including: 

  • People who have experienced domestic abuse, including economic abuse
  • People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
  • People who speak little to no English
  • People with substance abuse support needs
  • People with mental or physical health issues
  • People who can’t access public funds due to their immigration status, but who have the right to work
  • Ex-offenders
  • People struggling to cope with their economic circumstances
  • Women who experience multiple barriers due to their gender and their faith, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity. 

“Last year was a record breaking year for women’s employment, with more in work than ever before,” added Amber Rudd, the work and pensions secretary.

“But for some women, economic empowerment remains the final frontier,” she added. “Women can never be truly free until they have economic independence and I know there are still women out there who need extra support to help them overcome their personal barriers and find their way into a job they want.” 


Demand Equity

The UK Is Committing £500,000 to Help Empower Women Through Work

By Imogen Calderwood