Names of jobseekers could be hidden from employers in a bid to cut discrimination, the Liberal Democrats have announced. Unemployment rates among ethnic minority women have remained consistently higher than for white women since the 1980s.
An All-Party Parliamentary group on race and community published a study showing that women who "whitened" or "anglicised" their names on job applications had to send half as many job applications before being asked for interview.
The report also said: "Inactivity rates could be high partly because some women may be giving up searching for work due to difficulties in finding employment and the decreased confidence this brings."
Vivienne Hayes, head of the Women's Resource Centre charity, has said that ethnic minority women were facing "a double jeopardy' of oppression for both their race and their gender:
* Some employers' attitudes worsened when they realised women with European-sounding names were black.
* Some Muslim women were removing their hijab to increase their chance of getting work.
* Black and Asian women complained of being asked during job interviews about their plans for marriage and having children.
Last week the party’s members backed a ‘name-blank’ application form in the public sector at its Glasgow conference.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Business Minister and Minister of Women and Equalities Jo Swinson said: "Liberal Democrats are working towards a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling everyone to get on in life. We believe in opportunity for all, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, race or religious views.
"This policy will help to eliminate subconscious discrimination by ensuring that candidates are invited to interview based on their qualifications and not their gender or ethnicity. Good employers have nothing to fear from these changes.”
The move was part of an Equality Policy Paper which also set out plans to increase representation of women on boards, promote apprenticeships for groups who are under-represented in the labour market and to develop a strategy to end FGM within a generation.