Part time self-employment presents an attractive solution for a large number of women to enable them to balance work with other priorities such as family life.

But many women find that their efforts to become self-employed are frustratingly restricted by an inflexible and gender biased welfare benefits system.

Despite recent reforms, the benefit system is still fundamentally based on a traditional model of male unemployment and full-time unemployment.

This report looks at how current government policies, chiefly the benefit system, New Deal and Work Based Learning for Adults, might be changed to accommodate the needs of women and therefore also become more flexible and appropriate for all unemployed people. It is a joint collaboration between Prowess and the New Economics Foundation, building on an initial research paper by Dr Susan Marlow of De Montfort University.