Newspapers from left to right informed us this week that twice as many women as men are losing their jobs with 32,000 women becoming unemployed between October and December 2011, compared with 16,000 men.
This interpretation of what’s happening in the job market ignore the fact – reported here – that between 2010 and 2011 the number of women in work actually rose by 32,000 while the number of men in work fell by 86,000.
And yet despite the hard facts that there are more women in work, Labour’s Yvette Cooper stated this week that “more women are being forced out of work”.
And despite the fact that there were 50,000 more jobs created for women in the final quarter of 2011, Anna Bird, the acting chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said that the “cuts are threatening women’s equality as jobs dry up”.
Adding some factual balance to the debate, Dr John Phillott, Chief Economic Adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) stated:
“Reports in much of today’s media that women are at present faring less well than men in the labour market, primarily because of the disproportionate impact of public sector job cuts, are misleading.
“It is evident that conditions in the UK labour market are at present tough for both women and men, and there is a clear and severe overall shortage of jobs that needs to be filled.
“However, it is misleading to say that women are being hit harder than men.
“But the current popular narrative suggesting that female employment is already falling and unemployment rising relative to that of men because of the impact of fiscal austerity is not supported by available data.”
For a fuller analysis of the current job market see: the CIPD website.