Muslim women in the UK are more likely to be ‘economically inactive’

muslim women

Muslim women in the UK are more likely to be ‘economically inactive’, compared to the other women, according to new research.

The research, conducted by the Social Mobility Commission (SMC), found that Muslim women in the UK are more likely than all other women to be economically inactive with 18 per cent of Muslim women aged 16 to 74 recorded as “looking after home and family”, compared with six per cent in the overall population.

The report also suggests that young Muslims living in the UK, are facing enormous social mobility barriers and are being held back from reaching their full potential at every stage of their lives.

The report uncovered significant barriers to improved social mobility for young Muslims from school through university and into the workplace – with many reporting experience of Islamophobia, discrimination and racism.

Previous analysis by the SMC had found that young people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds are more likely than ever to succeed in education and go on to university than other groups – particularly girls.

However, despite these successes, this did not translate into the labour market and Muslims experience the greatest economic disadvantages of any faith group in UK society.

According to the report, only one in five Muslims of working age is in full time employment, compared to more than one in three of the overall population in England and Wales.

Only six per cent of Muslims are in ‘higher managerial, administrative and professional occupations’ compared to ten per cent of the overall population. They also have slightly lower levels of qualifications, with approximately a quarter of Muslims over the age of 16 having degree-level and above qualifications.

The Rt Hon Alan Milburn, chair of the Social Mobility Commission, said, “The British social mobility promise is that hard work will be rewarded.”

“Unfortunately, for many young Muslims in Britain today this promise being broken.”

“This report paints a disturbing picture of the challenges they face to making greater social progress.”

Professor Jacqueline Stevenson, Sheffield Hallam University, who led the research said, “Muslims are excluded, discriminated against, or failed, at all stages of their transition from education to employment.”

“Taken together, these contributory factors have profound implications for social mobility.”

“Young Muslims in the UK come from a wide range of backgrounds and life situations.”

“Muslims from low socio-economic backgrounds lack of sufficient resources and support to enable them to reach their potential.”

“This is exacerbated by their parents’ experiences of higher levels of underemployment and unemployment, particularly where their qualifications were not recognised in the UK.”

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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