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Single women of foreign origin struggling to find work in Brussels

06:16 09/03/2022

The employment rate of single Belgian women living in Brussels shows that combining a family with work is difficult. But for women of foreign origin in the capital, their position in the labour market is even more precarious.

One in three families in Brussels is a single-parent family, compared to an average of one in four across the country. In 80% of cases, the single parent is the mother.

The employment figures released by the Brussels employment service on Tuesday – International Women’s Day - show that it's difficult for a single woman to combine family and career.

According to the findings, 71% of single mothers of Belgian origin have a job, while 83% of married or cohabiting women with children are employed. The figure of single women with a job drops to 44% for women from a European Union country other than Belgium and drops even further to 38% for single women originally from outside an EU country.

Unfortunately, being in possession of a diploma does not appear to help. According to figures from the King Baudouin Fund, 31% of well-educated, professional and highly skilled women of foreign origin work in poor conditions and for a low wage.

But there is also positive news: in 2018, 72.3% of women under the age of 30 with a college or university degree found a job after enrolling at Actiris. That's more than their male counterparts,  67.6% of whom found a job.

The number of women registering as self-employed rose by 34.9% in the past 10 years. Although there are still 2.5 times more men who are self-employed.

Written by Nick Amies