Labour force participation rates of women differ strongly by ethnic origin. Even though existing research using cross-sectional studies has demonstrated that part of these differences can be attributed to compositional differences in human capital, household conditions and gender attitudes, residual ‘ethnic effects’ typically remain. To further our understanding of women's labour market behaviour across ethnic groups, we use a large-scale longitudinal study and apply a dynamic perspective to examine how far relevant life-course events in addition to individual characteristics, gender attitudes and religiosity contribute to the explanation of ethnic differences in women's labour force entries and exits in the UK. Our findings show that, adjusting for all these factors, Indian and Caribbean women do not differ from White majority women in their labour force entry and exit probabilities but that Pakistani and Bangladeshi women are less likely to enter and more likely to exit the labour market, whereas Black African women have higher entry rates. We also find that relations between life-course events and labour market transitions differ by ethnic group. Most notably, Pakistani and Bangladeshi women's labour market transitions are less sensitive to child-bearing and Caribbean women's transitions less sensitive to partnership changes than other women's.