If you want to better understand the difficulties faced by BAME women at and finding work, read this page of insights on recent research.

What Employment Challenges Do BAME Women Face?  

Whether you are a woman from the Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) community or are looking to better understand the employment situation for BAME women in the UK, this page discusses some of their challenges. Further, we recognise the implications of discrimination in the workplace and in recruitment through the latest research, which clearly demonstrates a negative impact on employment prospects across the country.  

Intersectional Discrimination

Aspiring to Include does a lot of work helping employers to understand the barriers faced by those who identify with or belong to one of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010. For BAME women, they identify with and belong to multiple of these protected characteristics that are frequently discriminated against.  

This means that they have even more barriers to success in their careers than most employees. In turn, research has shown that BAME women find it harder to find quality employment in comparison to both white women and BAME men.  

General Employment Rates

Observing the difference between employment rates of white women and BAME women clearly identifies the impact of that double discrimination. This is demonstrated in how, on average, women in the BAME community are 16.8% less likely to be employed than white women. 

The situation is particularly bad for Bangladeshi women, whose employment rate is 42.6% lower than the average for white women. Some research suggests that members of the BAME community cannot rely as heavily on networks of people in quality employment. As such, they are less likely to find out about any quality jobs or be given an opportunity to interview.  

Job Quality

Recently, the TUC undertook extensive research into quality and security of employment for people in the UK. Their findings demonstrate that BAME women are around twice as likely as white women to be in insecure work. 

Where white women are less than one percent more likely to be in insecure work compared to white men, BAME women are almost 7% more likely. In total, that makes up around 1 in 8 BAME women in insecure work.  

Compared to white men, BAME women are also almost twice as likely to be under-employed. This is where someone is not working in a role that applies their skills and abilities to their full capacity, suggesting that employers assume they are less capable even when they have equal experience, skills and qualifications.   


Research shows that there is a significantly high number of BAME women in self-employment, which is believed to be the result of a lack of access to quality and stable employment. However, this does not create quality incomes, with three out of five self-employed BAME women being considered low paid.  

The BITC found that most of those who became self-employed were in professional and managerial positions, suggesting that they were forced to leave regular employment due to facing barriers for promotion.