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Minority ethnic women face compounded workplace discrimination, says report

Minority ethnic women face discrimination at every stage of the recruitment process, according to an All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) report.

It found that the unemployment rates of Black, Pakistani and Bangladeshi heritage women have remained consistently higher than those of white women since the early 1980s. Pakistani and Bangladeshi women were the hardest hit with 20.5 per cent being unemployed. Some 17.7 per cent of black women were unemployed compared to just 6.8 per cent of white women.

The report uncovered discrimination against names and accents, making it much harder for minority ethnic women to get responses to applications. Some found markedly better results when they changed their names to disguise their ethnicity. However, discrimination was still encountered during interviews, at recruitment agencies and in the workplace itself.

At job interviews, the authors identified a double disadvantage in operation, with discrimination based on both ethnicity and gender. Women of all three ethnic groups were asked questions about marriage and children. This was because of assumptions that certain ethnic women would want to stop work after having children.

The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against a job-seeker on grounds of race, colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origins, as well as sex, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity.

It's up to employers to ensure that they have policies and practices in place that will prevent discrimination. Many have found that making changes to their recruitment practices makes good business sense and helps them attract the best people, whatever their background.

Acas runs practical training courses designed to help employers and managers deliver equality and diversity in the workplace, including events on Equality, diversity and the Equality Act 2010 and Recruitment and induction.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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