Women in the Third Sector

Briefing and working paper series: no 40

Womens’ leadership, employment and participation in the third sector and social enterprises.

This paper reviews existing UK data sources on social entrepreneurship and gender, and conducts secondary analysis of key data sets including the Labour Force Survey and Citizenship Survey to explore whether work in the third sector is horizontally segregated according to type and scale of activity; and whether there is evidence of vertical segregation.

Findings show that female social entrepreneurs are underrepresented as leaders of private sector social enterprises, but are more equally represented leading or initiating third sector organisations. More women than men undertake paid work, access lower managerial and professional positions, volunteer, and are engaged in caring roles within third sector organisations; but men make up around half of higher status positions in the sector. This level of vertical segragation is similar in the public sector, but significantly higher in the private sector. The gender pay gap is also lower in the third sector than the private or public sectors, and is lowest for those in the highest managerial positions. This leads us to conclude that gender inequality is less marked in the third than private sector.

Research contacts
Simon Teasdale
Steven McKay
Jenny Phillimore