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Siobhán Harding (policy worker at Women’s Support Network) has spent the last number of weeks carrying out focus group sessions with groups of women across Northern Ireland on the issue of Economic Inactivity and women’s barriers to education, training and work.  Given that Northern Ireland has consistently had the worst figures for economic inactivity across the UK particularly for women this is important research.

The aim of this research is to highlight a number of areas:

  • The reasons why women are more likely to be economically inactive
  • The barriers to women’s participation in the workforce
  • What training/skills/jobs women want to do
  • What currently helps/could be put in place to help women undertake training and/or make the move into work
  • To highlight the role of the Women’s Centres and the Women Breaking Barriers project in helping women get into education, training and work.

The last focus group will take place mid-June and Siobhán will then begin work on collating the results and experiences from the women.  Siobhán plans to write up the research paper over the summer months with a possible launch of the research scheduled for October/November 2024.   If you wish to discuss any aspects of this research with Siobhán please contact her at