Gender inequality

Left and behind: women at work

This article originally appeared in the Municipal Journal.

In the run-up to the General Election, we will hear more about the need for a relentless focus on building a stronger economy in the UK – an economy that works for everyone. If we are really serious about a mission-based approach to our economy, we need to commit to building gender equality into our economic strategies, both at a combined and local authority level and with an appreciation of how gender intersects with other structural factors such as ethnicity, class, disability and age.

Recent research by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and the Women’s Budget Group (WBG) suggests the UK may be losing as much as £88.7bn every year from our economy due to the disadvantages women encounter in the labour market. This leads to under-employment and lower pay. It is the equivalent to the annual contribution of the UK’s financial services sector.

The cost of barriers to paid work for women

Read Women’s Work

New analysis by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) and The Women’s Budget Group (WBG) has found that the cost of the barriers to paid work encountered by women – such as caregiving responsibilities, gender bias in recruitment and attitudes towards aging – has risen by 7% in the last year, meaning that nearly £100bn GVA is lost to the economy in England, Scotland and Wales annually – more than the contribution of the entire financial services sector in the UK.

The analysis was released to coincide with the publication of findings from a joint research project from the two organisations, which was launched today at an event in Leeds. At the event, West Yorkshire Mayor, Tracy Brabin, shared her thoughts on the report, Women’s Work.


    Women's Work

    22nd March 2024
  • Gender inequality and community wealth building: where are we now?

    Four key takeaways

    At CLES, we host monthly communities of practice (CoPs) for three sectors – housing associations, the NHS and local government – which bring together practitioners working at a local level to share  and develop practice on advancing community wealth building. To mark International Women’s Day we themed this month’s sessions on how community wealth building can be mobilised to tackle gender inequality. Here we draw out four key themes from the discussions and pose the question, where next for gender equality in community wealth building?

    The 51%

    What if gender equality was at the heart of local plans for a more inclusive economy?

    Efforts to rebuild and recover economic prosperity in a time of crisis often fall back on morale boosting images of – generally male – executives, gathered around a building site with hard hats. Economic partnerships and task forces assembled to help areas develop new plans for the future, too, can struggle with diverse representation, not only from women but from marginalised communities of all forms. Even the way in which we evaluate economic progress – in assuming that it will emerge automatically from economic growth – underestimates the importance of prioritising economic equality and diversity as a foundation to a more inclusive economy.

  • Victoria Bettany

    Senior Researcher