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This discussion paper was commissioned by Oxfam’s UK Programme to evaluate the employability support currently available to women, changes in the structure of the labour market, and the shape of current and future funding. It makes recommendations for programmatic responses to support women into decent work – and to contribute to, and develop, the wider policy debate.

  1. A Work in Life approach places employment – and employment support – in the wider context of an individual’s life. It requires that interventions are designed and measured, not just on the delivery of job outcomes but also on whether they support a transition out of poverty.
  2. Women who are most disadvantaged in the labour market need specialist support to build and develop their networks to support sustainable routes out of poverty.
  3. Refugees and migrants are assets to our communities and nations. They need opportunities to achieve and support to succeed. This is an investment in our mutual futures.
  4. Work offers women a chance to take control over their lives BUT not all women experience work in this way. We need a new work contract that benefits workers, employers, customers and taxpayers.
  5. Shared delivery experiences and expertise, and data transparency are needed to develop an evidence base on effectively moving out of poverty.

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