Laura Sharman 05 September 2011

Women to be hit hardest by public sector job cuts

Women's unemployment – already at a 23-year high – is set to rise even further as public sector job cuts begin to bite, warns trade union, the TUC.

An analysis by the TUC of official statistics shows the proportion of women employed in the public sector has risen at three times the rate of men over the last decade. For women, the public sector has been responsible for 84% of net jobs growth over the last ten years, while for men it has only created 39% of new jobs.

Brendan Barber Brendan Barber:'The rising number of women in work has been a great success story of the last decade.’(Pic:

TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: 'The rising number of women in work has been a great success story of the last decade. But as childcare and child benefits are cut, vital services including education and health are pared back and women's job losses mount we risk moving backwards and reducing, rather than improving, women's opportunities in the workplace.

'Cuts have started affecting the public sector, and we know the pain is already being felt in the areas where public sector employment is more concentrated.'

There are now 735,000 more women working in the public sector than there was ten years ago. The East Midlands (7%), West Midlands (6%), the North East (5%) and the South East (5%) have seen the highest increases in the proportion of women employed.

The TUC is concerned that these figures make these areas particularly vulnerable to increased female unemployment as the cutbacks come into force.

Barber added: 'Government complacency over growth is now coming back to haunt the UK and the Chancellor's plans for job creation are woefully inadequate. The TUC is calling on the government to do far more to boost investment in the private sector, and to think again about its spending cuts. Our economy simply can't afford to lose a decade of social progress.'

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