The rise of female employment has been a central chapter of the story of living standards in the past 40 years. Yet even while reliance on women’s work has grown, the absolute pace of growth has faltered. After rising 7.4 percentage points in the 1980s, the UK female participation rate rose just 1.4 percentage points in the 2000s, leaving the UK ranked only 15th in the OECD on female employment and just 24th on a full‐time equivalent basis
Further gains in female employment present a rare opportunity to boost living standards in the years ahead. Yet although such gains are achievable, they will not come easily. They will only be won through a concerted effort to apply the lessons from the academic evidence and from the best performing countries around the world.