Statistics from the latest census show that Muslim women in the UK are more likely to be economically inactive in relation to other women. In 2011, 43% of 25-49 year old Muslim women were in employment compared with 80% of the general female population.
When assessing education attainment levels, 88% of British Muslims have higher level qualifications in comparison to 71% of the general population. However, 76% of Muslim graduates are employed whilst 87% of other graduates are in employment. And when looking at the statistic along gender lines, the prospect for women is even bleaker; of the Muslim graduates in employment, 61% are male and just 39% are female. There are a number of factors which contribute to the employment gap, such as an absence of working skills, lack of self-confidence and discrimination. The All Party Parliamentary Group on Race and Community along with the Runnymede Trust reported in 2013 that 25% of unemployment in ethnic minority groups can be accounted for by employer discrimination.
In partnership with trainers and community organisations, Muslim Hands is delivering women leadership programmes which include training workshops and one-to-one mentoring. These help develop essential skills which are useful for the employment, gives them the confidence to enter or re-enter the workplace and lead a more community orientated life.
We are also supporting initiatives to tackle abuse women face in the UK. Domestic violence and forced marriages are tackled through comprehensive training workshops delivered to community and faith leaders. Through this, they can recognise the signs of abuse and effectively address the concerns women have.