Self-Employment Support for Women- a Post-Pandemic Economic Opportunity

The Self Employed Income Support Scheme was well-received by those eligible self-employed claimants who required support during the pandemic lockdowns. However, statistics show that women were disproportionately represented in the group of eligible claimants, as there are less women in eligible self-employed careers. Reporting on the third SEISS payments (Jan 2021) shows that Construction accounted for around 86% of the people assessed as eligible. With women claiming less per round then self-employed men ( women’s average grant value was £2,200 as opposed to men at an average of £3, 100) it could be argued that the data from SEISS payments could be used as an insight to provide additional support and infrastructure to help more women into better paid self-employment. The government briefing paper ‘Women and the Economy’ (March 2020) echoes the findings of the SEISS data, stating that, “women are more likely than men to work as employees and less likely to be self-employed. 88% of women in employment are working as employees, compared to 80% of men. Around 11% of women are self-employed compared to 19% of men”. This highlights the trend of inequality, not only in the numbers of women in self-employment but with the income which self-employed women receive. With unemployment rising due to the effect of Covid-19 on businesses, a review of the barriers to women gaining income through self-employment, and the creation of support structures to enable women to develop a self-employed income, would be of timely benefit. More women in self-employment would present an opportunity for the wider economy.




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