Union leaders have warned of a “crisis” in female unemployment following a big rise in the number of women out of work over the past year.
The TUC said male employment had started to recover, up by 238,000 in the past 12 months, compared with a fall of 19,000 among women.
Male unemployment fell by 31,000 in the past year but rose by 71,000 for women, according to a study by the union organisation.
The analysis also showed that in some parts of the country as many as one in five women aged between 16 and 24 are currently unemployed.
The worst-hit areas for female unemployment are Merseyside, where unemployment among young women has increased by 11%, the West Midlands (10%) and Scotland and Yorkshire (both 9%), said the TUC.
The study also showed a fall in jobs traditionally taken by women, including those in retail, secretarial, health and social work.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “While the Government focuses all its energy on cuts, our unemployment crisis continues to grow.
“The UK desperately needs an economic strategy that prioritises growth and jobs to bring revenues in and the deficit down.
“The current plan of deep, rapid cuts is causing job losses to mount and sending our economy in the wrong direction.”
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “Government is focused on restoring the economy and supporting private sector jobs growth.
“That’s why we recently launched Enterprise Clubs and a New Enterprise Allowance to help people set up their own businesses as part of our drive to create a much more business-friendly environment in Britain and to support the development of tens of thousands of new businesses to help rebuild our economy and create new jobs.
“Our priority is to help everyone who loses their job back into employment and our new Work Programme, which comes on stream in the summer, will give everyone – including young women – the proper support and training to help them into work whatever barriers they face.”
The study was published at the opening of the TUC Women’s Conference in Eastbourne, which is being held until Friday.