Why do some women leave the workforce early other than by personal choice?

July 11th 2023

The British Standards Institute (BSI) has published a report called “Lifting the Second Glass Ceiling” which looks at the reasons why women may be leaving the workforce early which is not out of personal preference.  The report uses the term “glass ceiling” which it states has come to “signify the invisible barriers women and other under-represented groups can face when trying to ascend to senior leadership and decision-making roles in organisations…” According to Anne Haynes, Director of Sectors at BSI “The aim of our research is to reframe the conversation around women in work…Ultimately, it is an opportunity to boost growth, enhance innovation and accelerate progress…”

Departure drivers are listed as including:

– Stereotypes and expectations;

– Culture and environment;

– Menopause; and

– Role Models.

What would help women remain in work?

There are various recommendations but these include:-

– Pay parity (68%)

– Improved support for maternity and return to work (75%)

– Flexibility where and when they work (76%)

– Support for perimenopause and menopause (72%).

It is hoped that the report will help businesses recognise and address “Why women might leave the workforce and what can help them stay…” 

For the full report see:-


The contents of this article is a general guide only at the date of publication.  It is not comprehensive and it does not constitute legal advice.  Specific legal advice should be sought in relation to the particular facts of a given situation.

I am so proud that BSI is publishing this landmark report, exploring why women may be leaving the workforce early and opening a conversation about how we lift what we are calling the Second Glass Ceiling to benefit individuals, organizations and society as a whole. Anne Hayes, Director of Sector