Gender equality in the workplace has been a widely talked about topic across the media, government and industry for many years now. However, discussions have almost exclusively focused on employees and very little is known about the experiences of women in self-employment.

As self-employment continues to rise with over 5 million people now working this way, more attention needs to be given to this sector. Previous IPSE research using the ONS data shows that highly skilled women have been largely responsible for this growth seeing increases of 69% since 2008. As more and more women are choosing to work for themselves for the flexibility and freedom it offers, we must shine a light on this group and understand more about the challenges they face that may differ from their male counterparts.


Key recommendations 


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Make training for the self-employed easier to access

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Increase New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) benefit and mentor support to two years


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Review parental rights and pay for the self-employed

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Provide better data collection to improve the understanding of the sector


Read our full report 'Women in Self-Employment' 



This exciting report is the much needed first step in bringing women in self-employment to the forefront. It highlights that women are more likely to experience concerns and challenges, especially with regards to financial issues. It also reveals that, like in employment, a shocking gender pay disparity exists in self-employment. Women are also more likely to experience difficulties finding work, feel less supported by government and feel isolated as a result of their self-employment.

Read report


Case studies 


Click on the below to see more pioneering women in self-employment:

Jenny Stallard on Wellbeing

Kat on Parental Leave

Sue Ritchie on the Gender Pay Gap



Related events


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Women in Business Expo (North) 

30 June – 1 July, Manchester Central

Find out more
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Women in Business Expo (South) 

14-15 October, ExCeL London

Find out more


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See up coming events

Seminars, workshops, roundtables and webinars

Find an event



Where next?

Back to 'Campaigns'

Back to Campaigns

Download for offline

Report for offline


Read the full report

Read the report