Rising numbers of female self-employed show “freelancing is a feminist issue”

Posted On: 
19th March 2019

IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has welcomed data showing more women are turning to self-employment than ever. It has, however, warned the government must recognise the importance of this sector to women and many others and do more to protect it.

Data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) released today shows the number of women in self-employment rose by 31,000 in the last quarter of 2018.

Ryan Barnett, IPSE’s Economic Policy Adviser, commented: “Today’s data shows just how important it is for women across the UK to have the choice to go into self-employment. More of them than ever before are taking advantage of the freedom and flexibility of this way of working.

“As IPSE’s own research has shown, the number of women in self-employment has increased by 63 per cent since 2008 – and clearly that strong growth is continuing.

“The jobs recovery since the financial crisis has been driven by the huge number of people turning to self-employment – particularly mothers. IPSE research shows that one in eight of all self-employed people are now mothers.

“As more and more people – and especially women – turn to self-employment, it is vital that the government recognises the importance of this sector and gives it the protection and support it needs. Above all, like other businesses, the self-employed need certainty from the government on Brexit – and a deal that works for them.”

Corinne Stuart, IPSE’s Head of Commercial Development, commented: “Freelancing is vital for many mothers and carers too, because it gives them the ability to both earn an income and spend time with their children and family. For some, it can also be a means of moving back into the workforce.

“As more and more women move into self-employment, the government must recognise how important this way of working is. It should make a particular effort to ensure self-employed mothers have all the assistance and support they need, for example, by making them eligible for Statutory Maternity Pay – like employees.

“In these uncertain times, the government must do all it can to protect this sector and make sure women have access to the freedom and flexibility of self-employment. Freelancing is, after all, a feminist issue.”