Professor David Pettinicchio examines labour market barriers faced by women with disabilities

Professor David Pettinicchio recently published an article on the Scholars Strategy Network website discussing the findings of his study with Michelle Maroto, “Employment Outcomes Among Men and Women with Disabilities: How the Intersection of Gender and Disability Status Shapes Labor Market Inequality”. According to the study, the negative effects of the intersections between gender and disability cause women with disabilities to face a double disadvantage in the workforce, and they often experience very low employment and earnings levels. Professor Pettinicchio is an Assistant Professor of Sociology with teaching responsibilities at the UTM campus. We have posted an excerpt of the article below.

 

HOW DOUBLE LABOR MARKET BARRIERS HURT WOMEN WITH DISABILITIES

David Pettinicchio, University of Toronto

Despite legal protections meant to prevent discrimination and improve working conditions, both women and people with disabilities are still disadvantaged and marginalized in the labor market. Despite gains in education and increases in labor force participation, men still out-earn women. Employment rates among people with disabilities have been declining for the last quarter century and workers with disabilities earn considerably less than workers without disabilities.

The reasons for such persistent disparities are many. Employers may view people with disabilities as being weak, unproductive, or less competent. Such prejudicial assumptions vary – and people with mental or cognitive disabilities are often especially vulnerable to being seen as unstable or dangerous.

Women with disabilities may suffer double disadvantages if negative effects of gender and disability intersect. Both women and disabled people are often “ghettoized” in precarious and nonstandard work arrangements, as employers and society direct such people to occupations deemed “suitably matched” to their status. For example, women are often encouraged or redirected to “women’s work” which typically includes jobs that are lower status, lower paying, and less stable. And disabled people may get similar treatment based on assumptions about what they can and cannot do in workplaces. Disabled women may end up being “twice penalized” or in “double jeopardy.” This can happen because both of the groups they are part of are regularly subjected to discriminatory structures and attitudes in the job market and in society as a whole.

Read the full article here.