Exploring the barriers to work facing unemployed women

By engaging our employment service users, our research team identified important ways in which support for unemployed women can be strengthened

Not enough to celebrate International Women's Day

Client: Renaisi


The challenge

Women who are long-term unemployed often face multiple forms of disadvantage. These present barriers to their ability to find sustainable and rewarding employment.

Renaisi provides employment advice and training services, and has a research team that focuses on employment. We sought to explore barriers faced by women who are long-term unemployed who access our services in East London. By generating an in-depth understanding of the challenges and opportunities for a small sample of women , we hoped to provide insights which can support service providers to improve support for women jobseekers.

Our approach

We conducted life history qualitative interviews with eight women who were accessing Renaisi’s employment advice and training services. All had been unemployed for at least two years. We also conducted interviews four members of our employment team, to understand challenges and opportunities from their perspectives.


Our research revealed a number of ways in which support for women can be strengthened, including better training for service provider staff and partnerships between a range of organisations. We are incorporating these insights into our employment services and are sharing the insights with other providers. We also plan to carry out further research into some of the issues we identified.

Click here to download ‘Hidden Talents’, the report of our study.