Combining Family and Employment: Evidence from Pakistani and Bangladeshi Women

  • Angela Dale
Part of the The Future of Work Series book series (TFW)


Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Britain are characterised by low levels of labour market participation and, amongst the economically active, high levels of unemployment. Small-scale studies (e.g. Allen and Wolkowitz, 1987; Brah and Shaw, 1992; Phizacklea and Wolkowitz, 1993) suggest a relatively high level of home working although this is not captured in survey data. National figures for 1998/9 show economic activity1 rates of 30 per cent for Pakistani women and 20 per cent for Bangladeshi women aged 16–59. This contrasts with 74 per cent for white women (Labour Market Trends, Dec. 1999). In particular, low levels of economic activity are particularly associated with marriage as well as responsibility of children (Dale et al., 2002). The 2001 Census found that, amongst women aged 16–74, 36.4 per cent of Pakistanis and 40.1 per cent Bangladeshis were categorised as looking after the home and family by comparison with 11.9 per cent white women. However, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women with higher educational qualifications are much more likely than others to be economically active and a crucial question is how family formation influences labour market participation amongst these women. In this chapter we ask, in particular, what changes we can expect amongst younger Pakistani and Bangladeshi women who have grown up in the UK.


Labour Market White Woman Labour Market Participation Pakistani Woman Bangladeshi Woman 
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© Angela Dale 2005

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  • Angela Dale

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