The UK has risen to 14th place out of 27 OECD countries for increasing female labour participation, according to PwC’s annual Women in Work Index.
The research reveals that increasing strength in the country’s economy has led to a reduction in female unemployment, both in absolute terms and in relation to men.
Yong Jing Teow, economist at PwC, said:
“It is encouraging that the UK is making gradual headway and has returned to its position of 2000. The economic recovery has benefitted both men and women, but more so for women as indicated by the closing gap between UK male and female labour force participation and the employment rate.”
Despite this increase, the UK’s female workforce is still behind other countries in terms of overall economic empowerment. Norway leads the index, closely followed by Denmark and Sweden. These three countries have been top of the index since 2000.
Yong Jing Teow added:
“The UK has yet to fully address the underlying factors in the labour market that influence gender pay gap and the proportion of women in full time employment. So there is still a long way to go before we catch up with Nordic countries.”
“If we want to see a meaningful change to women’s economic empowerment in the UK, we need to make sure that the contribution of women in the workplace is fairly recognised and remunerated, and to support women in continuing their careers after having children.
“Meanwhile, other southern European countries such as Greece and Italy at the bottom of the Index are still struggling to improve their performance since the fallout from the economic crisis.”