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Information Reviewed: Gender Differences in Supported Employment
Author(s): D. Olson, A. Cioffi, P. Yovanoff, and D. Mank
Source: Mental Retardation 38(2), 89-96
Date: 2000
Type: Journal article

It is pretty much accepted that women and men have different experiences when they are disabled. In this study, the authors concluded that women with disabilities in supported employment had more socially appropriate behavior, worked in jobs generally considered women's occupations, and worked fewer hours than men.

Building upon previous research done at Indiana University and the University of Oregon, these researchers recruited 462 employees from 13 vocational programs providing employment services to people with disabilities. An additional 538 employees were tested in a second survey to verify the initial findings. No significant gender differences were found overall, but males were more likely to engage in sexually inappropriate behavior and be aggressive to objects than females. The men also had more hygiene problems than females.

The average wage for all was $5.26 an hour. Men made an average $622.10 monthly wage and women made $543.71. Women also worked an average of 20.24 hours a week and men had 23.01 hours. Women had more jobs in food service or clerical work, and men had more janitorial jobs. Because women worked fewer hours than men, they made less money overall.

These results are similar to other studies regarding women with disabilities in the workplace. One of these studies (done in 1988) found that women received less public income support than men when they probably need it more based on employment findings. A study done the following year found that women with disabilities were more likely to be referred to part-time jobs or homemaker status. National disability employment policies are obviously not having the same effect on women as men.

Wrote the authors: "It is not surprising that some gender inequities exist. The vocational support agency staff and the employers of women with disabilities are members of a society that views people with disabilities and women in general through a distorted lens, holding negative assumptions about the employability of both. The gender-biased and disability-based assumptions directly impact women in supported employment."

Why do women make less? Why do they voluntarily leave their jobs? Is gender stereotyping a supported employment disadvantage? In policy and practice, there should be an awareness of gender bias toward women in employment, policies for equality, and self-determination training. #845

Olson, D., Cioffi, A., Yovanoff, P., & Mank, D. (2000). Gender differences in supported employment. Mental Retardation 38(2), 89-96.

Keyword: Women

Reviewer: Cindy Higgins

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