Young women with university qualifications are as likely to be unemployed as young men with no qualifications, a study has revealed.
The study found that educated women were as likely to be out of work due to motherhood or lack of suitable jobs.
Young Women’s Trust’s study found that motherhood has a greater impact on a woman’s career prospects than the level of education she has received.
“Qualifications do not outweigh the effect of being a woman,” the report said, though the higher the level of qualification that a young person has, the less their chance of becoming economically inactive.
However, it continued: “That qualifications – especially higher-level ones – do not fully counteract the effect of a young woman’s gender is discouraging.”
Those surveyed with a child are six times more likely to be economically inactive than those without children, according to the research.
To contrast, having children was not affecting whether men were employed or not.
The Guardian reports that the research found 264,000 women aged 16 to 24 in the UK are classed as economically inactive, meaning they are not working and not in education or training – which is 37,000 more than men in the same age group.
However, the charity said most of the women wanted to be in work, either now or in the future, but were given no direct support because they did not figure in the official unemployment statistics.
The research was co-funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and carried out with Prof Sue Maguire of the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Bath.
It also discovered that mental health issues were a key factor in becoming economically inactive.
The charity’s chief executive, Carole Easton, said it was important to get young women into the workplace.
She said, “While the government focuses on reducing its unemployment figures, over a quarter of a million young women who are not included in the numbers are being forgotten,”
“The young women in our study faced multiple barriers, but the overwhelming majority did not lack personal ambition or a willingness to change their circumstances in the future.”