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Having a career and a sense of achievement within your career is essential, a career is a significant part of a women’s identity and allows you to contribute, engage and make social connections. A career gives you the freedom of being financially independent and part of a workforce, this provides women with a sense of purpose and definitely helps to keep their mental health improved.

Being a carer and having a career is a very different story, it’s an exhausting juggling act balancing the already heavy duties of work and family with the additional responsibilities of caring for their loved ones. Carers are propping up a health service that simply not cope without them, being paid a paltry weekly allowance that forces many carers and their families into poverty.

The Women’s Regional Consortium created a report in partnership with Carers NI and Carer Poverty Commission and here are a few of the key findings from that report;

 60% of unpaid Carers are Women
 1 in 6 women in employment are providing unpaid care
 Women have a 70% chance of providing care in their adult life and are more likely to care early in life.
 34% of women with unpaid caring roles have given up employment to care
 28% of women with unpaid caring roles have decreased their working hours because of caring.
 17% of women with unpaid caring roles have taken on a less qualified jobs or turned down promotions at work to fit around their caring responsibilities.

Inadequacies within wider support services, including Social Services, Healthcare, education and childcare are stopping women with caring roles from staying in employment, these barriers only encourage Isolation and negativity impacts on their mental health.

The entire systems that are currently in place for carers need to be overhauled immediately from top to bottom, they need to provide better financial support, more mental health support and more reliable services to assist all of those involved. We need to value the roles that carers have undertaken and support them to be able to stay as well as progress within the labour market, they are a valuable resource in terms of skills and experience within the workplace.