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Men and women in the labour market since 1971

The past 40 years have seen contrasting fortunes for men and women at work. In 1971, the majority of men were in work, while a large share of women were economically inactive, and not looking for work. Ever since then, more and more women have come into the labour market, finding jobs and experiencing unemployment. At the same time, men have become less engaged with the labour market, and have also experienced mass unemployment, particularly during the recessions of the 1980s and 1990s.

But despite this story of female engagement and male struggles in the face of de-industrialisation, significant inequalities remain between men and women. Women get paid less, are less involved in the knowledge economy, and are far less likely to be on the board of a company. Will this change over the next 40 years, or will gender inequalities in the labour market persist?

Source: ONS Labour Market Statistics. All figures for the UK, ages 16 – 64