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Tackling Double Disadvantage – recommendations from the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group
Tackling Double Disadvantage – recommendations from the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group
Attracting talent 08th Jun 2018

It is good to see the importance of good recruitment climb the parliamentary agenda. We are partnering with the Women and Work All Party Parliamentary Group who are focusing this year on ‘How to recruit women for the 21st century’. The work will culminate in a report at the beginning of next year with recommendations to Government. 

This month’s meeting looked at the double, triple and in some instances quadruple disadvantages women can face. It focused on the intersection of gender with other protected characteristics including disability, ethnicity and social class which can form multiple layers of disadvantage. This meeting discussed ways to improve recruitment and combat economic inactivity amongst women with disabilities, single parents, BAME women and also those with criminal records.

Women with disabilities

Women with disabilities face unique barriers in the world of work as a result of their disabilities and social stigmas. As highlighted by Clare Gray from the Shaw Trust “they are women, they are people with disabilities and they are women with disabilities”.

The absence of inclusive policies and initiatives can sometimes exclude women with disabilities in entering the workforce. Recruiters can take a step in the right direction by signing up to Disability Confident, a scheme launched by the Department for Work and Pensions. The REC is proud to be a champion of Disability Confident, and we’re keen to raise awareness of our industry’s contribution and highlight the business and societal benefits of disability employment. Recruiters can sign up here.

Single parents

Gingerbread outlined the structural barriers faced by single parents who as a result are more likely to undertake and remain in low-skill, low-pay jobs. The current labour market does not accommodate the needs of single parents who often need flexible work and training opportunities that foster progression and higher pay.

Creating genuine opportunities to work flexibly was one of the most impactful recommendations discussed in the APPG meeting. Recruiters can help employers create flexible employment opportunities that fulfil the needs of both employers and the employees. To learn more about flexible working and the benefits it can bring, read our research report Flex Appeal.

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women

Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women face multiple barriers in the labour market from accessing employment to progressing to senior roles. Employers can implement a multitude of strategies to boost access of BAME women in the workplace including setting targets, creating diverse panels, offering retraining opportunities, and creating career networks for BAME women.

People with criminal records

The challenges faced by women who have been through the criminal justice system were stressed by Lord Ramsbotham. According to Business in the Community, three quarters of employers admit to discriminating against applicants with a conviction. This is despite the fact that as many as 11 million people in the UK have a criminal record. Our industry has a key role to play in challenging the assumptions of employers and supporting people with criminal records into work.  

The REC has signed up to the Ban the Box campaign, committing to fair recruitment for people with criminal records. We are also producing a guide for recruiters on how to ensure their procedures are inclusive of those who have criminal records.,

Call to action

We are keen to hear from members on what you’re doing on diversity and inclusion to feed into our work with the APPG. Please contact us at

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