Turner, Royce and Wigfield, Andrea (2013) South Asian women and the labour market in the UK: attitudes, barriers, solutions. Journal of Community Positive Practices, 12 (4). pp. 642-666.

This paper draws on research carried out in the UK which examined
the views of South Asian women towards employment, looking in particular at
why the participation rate of Bangladeshi and Pakistani women in the labour
market is very low. The focus of the paper is on non-working women. The
research was aimed at informing policy design, so that policies intended to assist
certain groups of people enter, or get closer to entering, the labour market might
be more effective. The research involved carrying interviews with 212
Bangladeshi and Pakistani women in West Yorkshire, a sub-region of the UK
with a relatively high Asian population. 26 focus groups were also carried out. It
is argued that there are three broad groups of South Asian women in relation to
employment: women who are some distance from the labour market; women
who wish to enter paid work; and women who do currently work but require
support. There are different policy implications for each of these groups. The
paper concludes that the barriers to labour market entry are deep-seated,
complex, and rooted in cultural, familial, and societal norms. It provides a case
study of an innovative programme which was piloted in a nearby sub-region of
the UK, South Yorkshire, which was tailor-made to meet the specific needs of
South Asian women and was very successful. The paper argues that this could
provide a template for programmes in the future aimed at assisting groups facing
challenges in relation to labour market entry, such as minority ethnic women.

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