The Struggles of Female Employees in the U.K. and How Business Owners Can Help

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  • Women in the U.K. represent 48% of the workforce but face unequal pay, career advancement difficulties, and a lack of work-life balance.
  • On average, women earn around 15% less than men due to the gender pay gap.
  • Women are often overlooked for promotions and face harassment or discrimination in the workplace.
  • Sexual harassment is a significant issue in the U.K., with 52% of women reporting having experienced some form of it at work.
  • Stereotyping and discrimination are common, including assumptions that women are less competent or ambitious than men.

Despite progress towards gender equality, women in the United Kingdom still face many struggles in the workplace. In particular, female employees often experience equal pay, career advancement, and work-life balance difficulties. These problems not only negatively affect women’s lives but also significantly impact businesses and the economy as a whole. Recognizing and addressing the struggles of female employees is the responsibility of all employers – and here’s why.

Female Employees in the U.K.

It’s estimated that there are about 14 million female employees in the U.K., which accounts for around 48 percent of the total workforce. Women are typically better educated than men, with more than half holding a degree or higher qualification compared to just 39 percent of males. Despite this, women still earn less than their male counterparts, even when working in similar roles and qualifications. Here’s what you need to know about that.

Unequal Pay

One of the most significant issues female employees face in the UK is unequal pay. On average, women earn around 15% less than men, and this pay gap widens for older women and those with children. This pay disparity is a serious issue, not only because it’s unfair but also because it has serious economic consequences. Closing the gender pay gap could boost the UK economy by as much as £150 billion by 2025.

Female emplopee at work

Career Advancement

Female employees are also more likely to struggle with career advancement than their male counterparts. Women are underrepresented in senior positions, and research shows a “glass ceiling” that prevents women from rising to the top. Many women report being overlooked for promotions, having fewer opportunities for leadership roles, and facing harassment or discrimination in the workplace.

Work-Life Balance

Another challenge female employees face in the UK is balancing work and home life. Women are still expected to carry most of the responsibility for childcare and household tasks, making it difficult to succeed in the workplace. Many women report feeling pressured to choose between their careers and their families, which can result in them leaving their jobs altogether.

Sexual Harassment

In a survey conducted by the Trades Union Congress, a shocking 52% of women said that they had experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. This includes unwanted physical contact, inappropriate comments or advances, and other non-consensual behaviour. Business owners and entrepreneurs need to create a safe and supportive work environment where women can report incidents and feel confident that they will be taken seriously and that actions will be taken to punish offenders.

Stereotyping and Discrimination

Women in the workplace face various forms of stereotypes and discrimination, such as the assumption that they’re less confident, less competent, or less ambitious than men. This can result in women being ignored, underappreciated, or even excluded from some events or networking opportunities.

Businesses need to address this by promoting a culture of inclusivity and diversity, where every team member is given respect, appreciation, and the opportunity to thrive regardless of gender, race, or background.

The Role of Business Owners

Addressing these struggles and creating a more equal and inclusive workplace is the responsibility of all business owners and entrepreneurs. Here’s how you can do that.

Seminar for employees


Inspiring your team by bringing in speakers who can talk about issues affecting women in the workplace, such as the pay gap and sexual harassment. One of the best times to do this is International Women’s Day. You can hire an experienced IWD speaker to do the talk for you. They can inspire and motivate your team and help you create a more equal workplace.

Leadership Training

Investing in leadership training for female employees is another great way to promote gender equality. By investing in training programs that focus on developing the skills of women leaders, you can ensure that your female employees have the same opportunity as their male counterparts to reach top positions in your organization.

Awareness and Education

Awareness of unequal pay, sexual harassment, and stereotyping is key to creating a more equal workplace. You can do this by providing educational materials or workshops that discuss the importance of gender equality and how to tackle these issues. It’s also important to ensure that everyone in your organization knows the company’s policies on these issues.

Finally, it’s important to remember that addressing gender inequality in the workplace isn’t just about doing the right thing – it also makes financial sense for businesses. Companies with a diverse and inclusive workforce are more successful and profitable than those without one. So investing in equality initiatives can improve the lives of your female employees and help your business succeed.

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