Highlights from last week’s equality and diversity news: new report indicates women’s unemployment at a 25 year high, an academic questions whether the REF is increasing gender inequality in the sector, how older workers can overcome the digital divide, and a post on Peter Tatchell on the blog.

A new report published by the Fawcett Society has projected that almost 1.5 million women could be unemployed by 2018, reaching a 25 year high. Men’s unemployment, in the meanwhile, is decreasing with 60% of new private-sector jobs since early 2010 going to men. In the last two and a half years, three times as many women as men have become long-term unemployed (37,000 men and 103,000 women).

An academic from a Russell Group institution has written an article for the Guardian on how the Research Excellence Framework seems to be increasing gender inequality. Her worry is that the ‘star’ academics appointed by universities, often without advertising the position or holding interviews, tend to be mostly white and male. She writes: “Worrying numbers of Russell Group institutions seem to be disregarding equal opportunities legislation in order to appoint research ‘stars’, whose publications and PhD students can bring them favour in the research excellence framework (REF) exercise – next due in December 2013.”

There often appears to be a digital divide between younger and older workers. But, as this article in the Guardian argues, you’re never too old to go digital. Across industries, demand for digital skills is increasing, including for jobs completely dependent on digital know-how, such as SEO analyst, social media manager, content technologist etc. Not being a ‘digital-native’ doesn’t mean that skills you have developed from your experience, such as communications and leadership, analytics, commercial awareness etc. can’t be put to good use in the digital sector – it’s about looking for value in skills you already have and being open to developing new ones.

Finally, we published a blog post last week on Peter Tachell, the human rights activist, and the story of his life – if you’re looking for inspiration this week, this is it!

Write to us – Equality.and.Diversity@lse.ac.uk.