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Women confound predictions to see employment figures rise in 2011

In spite of the economic downturn, 2011 was a relatively good year for working women, with 32,000 more women in employment by the third quarter of the year than at the end of 2010, according to a study by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).

These figures from the CIPD's latest Work Audit compare favourably with those for men, which saw a drop of 86,000 over the same period. The figures are all the more surprising given the fact that two-thirds of public sector workers and a significant number of part-time retail workers are women - areas which typically have been hit hard by recent public spending cuts and falling consumer demand.

While fears for working women in the economic downturn have so far been misplaced, experts say it may still be too early to say whether or not the current trend will continue. Female unemployment figures have increased steadily to 7.5 per cent since the end of the 2008-09 recession, although still trail behind those for men, which currently stand at 9 per cent.

Acas helps to support gender equality in the workplace through a network of specialist equality and diversity advisers who can examine your current policies and practices with you, recommend improvements and provide training. Acas experts can also assist with equal opportunities policies, recruitment systems, monitoring and targets, training programmes and how to deal with harassment.

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