The government policy group calls on business to embrace the benefits of flexible working and says GDP growth could be increased by 10% by 2030 if women participated in the workforce as much as men.
The report, commissioned by the Government Equalities Office, claims there are over 2.4 million women not in work who want to work, and more than 1.3 million who would like to increase their hours. It covers early education, parenthood, middle age and entrepreneurship and considers the support needed to increase women’s economic contribution.
As well as flexible working for parents, the report points to the “tremendous untapped potential” of women in middle age: “the third phase of life”, and calls on businesses to review flexible working opportunities that would support a multi-generational workforce.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport welcomed the report and pointed to existing policies such as the planned extension of the right to request flexible working, which is tabled for 2014. “Flexible working should not be a specific gender issue, and increasingly it is not,” it added.
A ministerial taskforce will publish an action plan in the Autumn.
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