Women's unemployment is rising to a 25-year high while men's is falling, leading to a "female unfriendly" labour market, according to new research.
The Fawcett Society claimed that the Government's plans for growth were leaving women behind, with almost two out of three new private sector jobs going to men.
Unless action is taken, the labour market will be characterised by "persistent and rising levels" of women's unemployment, diminishing pay levels for women, and a widening of the gender pay gap, it was warned.
The study found that almost three times as many women as men have become long-term unemployed in the last two and a half years - 103,000 women compared with 37,000 men.
Women have borne the brunt of cuts to the public sector workforce so far, said the Fawcett Society, adding that women's unemployment could reach 1.48 million by 2018.
Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: "The labour market is in the midst of enormous change.
Almost a million jobs are being cut from the public sector, while many of the jobs created by what growth there is in the private sector are low waged and insecure.
"While unemployment has fallen overall, our research shows that the situation for women is bleak. Female unemployment has started to rise - and this will continue unless the Government does more than tinker around the edges of this issue.
"The Government's various plans for growth continue to leave many women behind, with the majority of new jobs being created in the private sector going to men. At the same time, those women who do find work in this sector are likely to face lower wages and a wider gender pay gap. This 'head-in-the-sand' approach ignores the fact that women are now nearly half the workforce - and has serious consequences.
"If the Government doesn't address this growing problem, we risk returning to a much more male dominated labour market, with record numbers of women unemployed, those in work typically earning less, and the gap in pay between women and men beginning to grow instead of shrink.
"Not only is this bad for women, it's hugely damaging for our economy. We are calling on the Government - in particular the Business Secretary - to take immediate action."
Maria Miller, Minister for Women and Equalities, said: "The Government is incredibly focused on this issue and we now have more women in work than ever before - and the cultural shift is happening.
"The gender pay gap is closing and the number of women employed is a third of a million higher than when the coalition came to office.
"The workplace was designed by men, for men, and as we have seen, times have changed, and if we want women to achieve their full potential we need to make sure the workplace is modernised.
"Many women still experience barriers, including lack of female role models, the cost of childcare, lack of workplace flexibility, and a lack of transparency around recruitment for senior positions."