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Page last updated at 08:08 GMT, Wednesday, 12 October 2011 09:08 UK

Traditional female jobs 'have folded in last 25 years'

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The latest unemployment figures are expected to be pretty grim, especially for women and young people. The most recent figures showed more than a million women who wanted to work could not find a job and today's count is expected to be even worse.

Will Hutton, vice-chairman of the Work Foundation, told Today presenter John Humphrys that "the kind of work women have been doing for the past 25 years has really folded" in health education and care in the public sector.

In addition, he explained, the arrival of the internet and the growth of executives who self-organise has seen a fall-away in the number of women employed in administrative and secretarial roles in the private sector.

"We have to be really smart about providing childcare," he added. Schools could be used as creches and the government could trigger a national network of childcare centres.

"We need our women, if they choose, to be in the labour market."

Bristol University's Professor Harriet Bradley said that female unemployment was at its highest for 23 years and was "a very complex problem".

Women, she said, are not a single category. Some are without a breadwinner to support them, and others had told her they feel they have been pressurised to take a job and would like to return to a domestic lifestyle. But against this are the economic realities of the need to have an income.

Professor Bradley says that there should be more flexible childcare, a return to retirement at 65 and that the country should go to work sharing.


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