By ANISAH ARIF
The Bridge Institute have released a report which reveals that Muslim women are less likely to be in paid employment compared to non-Muslim women.
Other findings show that Muslims in the UK have the lowest employment rate of 47.2 per cent as well as the highest pay gap than any other group.
Economic inactivity amongst women from a Pakistani background is 65 per cent.
Inactivity in the Labour market amongst Pakistani women has been attributed to their caring responsibilities in the home. The Pakistani community is one of the highest at being at risk of poverty (most likely to be in persistent poverty).
Pakistani individuals have a persistent poverty rate of 37 per cent, compared to 13 per cent for White groups. Household incomes for Pakistani households are around £8,700 lower than White household incomes.
Culture rather than religion played a significant role in the lives of the women in this study who had a strong association with domestic chores and caring responsibilities. This new research found that the majority of women interviewed looked after the home and children full-time.
These caring responsibilities can be powerful in creating further choices available to women.
The responsibilities that some Pakistani Muslim women have within the home are shown to be impacting negatively, both on their mental health and employment choices. Traditional gendered roles where men are the breadwinners and women are the homemakers still exist in many households and life as a domestic wife is very physically demanding. Many of the women were socially isolated due to being indoors all day. This restricted their daily activities and opportunities to do things for ‘them’, like attending English language classes often came many years after first coming to the UK.
Working mothers were shown to have greater financial control and autonomy over their lives, enabling them to engage in an alternative community banking system (kameti) which met their religious requirements.
Bridge Institute for Research and Policy is an independent think tank which uses academic research to inform policy makers. It is committed to presenting accurate and robust research to help shape narratives on British Muslims. This report is generously supported by the Penny Appeal and Aziz Foundation.