Ethnic Minority Women Face Jobs Crisis

Vikram Dodd, Guardian (London), December 6, 2012

Large sections of minority ethnic women are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterparts, with some removing their hijabs or making their names sound more English to try to beat discrimination, a report from MPs and peers says.

Furthermore, the rate of joblessness for ethnic minority women has failed to come down in the past three decades, finds the report from the all-party parliamentary group on race and community.

The report finds that prejudice and discrimination explains a quarter of the higher unemployment rate faced by women from Pakistani, Bangladeshi and black communities.

The report finds some employers assume Muslim women would stop work after having children and the MPs and peers say the government must end its “colour blind” approach to improving employment equality.

The report from the cross party group is an attempt to put discrimination issues back on the agenda, coming at a time when the official equalities watchdog, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, is facing large budget cuts and criticism over its effectiveness.

The report found: “Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are particularly affected, with 20.5% being unemployed compared to 6.8% of white women, with 17.7% of black women also being unemployed.”

The higher unemployment rate covered all ages, dashing hopes that more enlightened attitudes mean the problem is lessening for younger women.

The report cited research from Professor Anthony Heath of Oxford University: “The unemployment rate of black women has remained at roughly double that of white women since 1972. There has been no decrease over time or over generations in ethnic minority unemployment rates overall (both men and women), and that the second generation still experience unemployment rates which are as high as those of the first generation.”

Research by Professor Yaojun Li found the same was true for predominantly Muslim Pakistani and Bangladeshi women trying to find work: “After 1983 the unemployment rate of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women has remained consistently and substantially higher than the rate for white women.”

The report found:

• Some employers’ attitudes worsened when they realised women with European-sounding names were black.

• Some Muslim women were removing their hijab to increase their chance of getting work.

• Black and Asian women complained of being asked during job interviews about their plans for marriage and having children.

• Fewer Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were taking up their children’s free nursery places than white women.

The report found ethnic minority women “deselecting themselves” from the jobs market and deciding not to apply because of the extra barriers they faced.

The MPs said the approach of successive governments must change: “We believe that evidence shows that there are varied and complex barriers facing Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women which are different from those facing white women or ethnic minority men.

“Based on this, we would argue that the government’s ‘colour-blind’ approach to tackling unemployment is not appropriate in dealing with the specific issues facing women from these groups.”

Labour MP David Lammy, who chairs the all-party group, said: “It is staggering that in 21st century Britain there are women who felt they had to remove their hijab or change their name just to be able to compete on the same terms as other candidates when looking for jobs.

“All unemployment is tragic but we simply can no longer remain so casual about women that are simultaneously the victims of both sexism and racism when they are competing in the labour market. It has massive implications for families and society as a whole.

“Getting women into jobs is the best way to break families out of the poverty cycle so it is time for the government to make addressing this a priority.”

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  • Puggg

    But how does it compare to the employment prospects of Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Pakistan and Bangladesh?

  • Michael_C_Scott

    OK, “discrimination” has been brought up, but what about stupidity?

  • For that matter, are the governments of Pakistan and Bangladesh concerned that not enough Europeans are being allowed into their countries, assured of employment and protected from discrimination? How many of these women have any substantial degree of shared culture and shared ancestry with native Britons, and what right do they have even to be there in the first place?

  • HadEnough

    “The report found ethnic minority women ‘deselecting themselves’ from the jobs market and deciding not to apply because of the extra barriers they faced.” Okay, so to be clear, because of their own internalized phobias, they don’t apply for a job and then whitey’s responsible when they don’t get a job?

    • NYB

      Pakistani-run businesses would not want to hire women unless they are family, and then only after all the males in the extended family are given employment.

      It falls on whites to create the jobs for their ‘surplus’ women.

      • Michael_C_Scott

        “It falls on whites to create the jobs for their ‘surplus’ women.”

        No, it doesn’t.

  • pcmustgo

    Oh, wow, nothing to do with those muslim women wanting to sit at home popping out baby after baby… no, nothing to do with their fondness for welfare or illiteracy rates.

    WHY , WITH MASSIVE UNEMPLOYMENT IN GENERAL, IS EUROPE IMPORTING ALL THESE IMMIGRANTS? They have like 15-50% unemployment among their white countrymen, let alone among muslims!

  • Triarius

    This sounds like assimilation. Wasn’t that what Labor wanted in the first place? Maybe they should go home. I’m willing to bet a “British” person named Muhammed could better assimilate in Pakistan than in the U.K.

  • NYB

    If they’re not working, they’re at home being paid by the state to make babies.

    It’s a lose/lose situation for whites.

  • jay11

    “Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are particularly affected…”
    Look at that phrase a couple of times. The location of the story is London, ENGLAND. Why SHOULD foreign women have an easier time than native women in finding a job?

  • The__Bobster

    Labour MP David Lammy, who chairs the all-party group, said: “It is staggering that in 21st century Britain there are women who felt they had to remove their hijab or change their name just to be able to compete on the same terms as other candidates when looking for jobs.

    I find it “staggering” that the UK has women who dress like they’re from the 7th century.

  • IstvanIN

    Women who stay home and have babies on your pence who will grow up to kill you and you are worried about whether they have paid employment? They are doing their job, making the next generation of jihadists!

  • bubo

    Is it some rule that the West must provide every ethnic group besides it’s native whites a comfortable lifestyle and well paying job? This nonsense must stop. Either whites say enough of this and cast out these invaders or in a couple generations time be prepared to fight for the land you stand upon.

  • They dont realize it, but this is brilliant: once these women attain “self-sufficiency” and “independence” (i.e., a low paying job with plenty of government assistance) they’ll discover freedom. Then they won’t want to pop out babies or even raise them. Expect broken marriages and lowered birth rate. Deliciously devious.

  • KenelmDigby

    If it was found that White men had the highest unemployment rates in Britain, you’d find no mention or no sympathy for them.
    But, by Jove, you’d see no end of articles and speeches by politicians condemning them as ‘lazy, workshy scroungers’.

    • Michael_C_Scott

      I’m a lazy, workshy scrounger and I’m offended!

  • jay11

    And in Pakistan and Bangaldesh white women have a more difficult time finding decent employment… Oh snap, white women don’t seem to be immigrating there or jumping the border fence to get in. Now why is that…

  • Magician

    I am surprised to hear this. If anything, should not black men be experiencing more trouble than black women when it comes to starting and maintaining careers? At least black women are a lot more likely than their male counterparts to be better educated, better mannered and much less likely to have served prison sentences.

    Or are governments and companies sooooo desperate and eager to give black men public sector jobs or very easy jobs so they look capable enough for our young brainwashed white women to insist that they are suitable marriage partners/relationship partners