Labour Research January 2012

Equality news

Rise in living standards down to women working

The rise in living standards in low and middle income (LMI) families over the last 40 years is predominantly down to more women working.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), 78% of the growth in gross employment income for LMI households came from an increase in women. As a result, employment income for LMI households is increasingly likely to come from female earners: in 1968, 14% of household gross employment income came from women but by 2008–09, the figure was 37%.

The IFS also found that LMI households are more likely to have experienced an increase in wealth because of access to benefits and tax credits. Consequently, the IFS warns that the future wealth of LMI households is clearly dependent on women remaining in work and continued access to tax credits — both of which are under threat from the government.