Does Gender Play a Role in the Transition to Employment in Young Adults with Physical Disabilities?
Finding a job can be a difficult task for anyone. Individuals with disabilities have an even harder time finding jobs. Research has shown that employment rates for young adults with disabilities are half or less when compared to young adults without disabilities (Lindsay, Cagliostro, Albarico, Mortaji, & Srikanthan, 2017). Lindsay et al. completed extensive qualitative interviews with 33 participants (23 young adults and 10 clinicians) to analyze the role of gender when young adults are looking and interviewing for potential jobs (2017). The young adults who participated in the interviews were between the ages of 18 and 25, 13 females and 10 males with various types of physical disabilities (Lindsay, Cagliostro, Albarico, Mortaji, & Srikanthan, 2017).
The clinicians in the study were from the hospital the researchers recruited from and ranged from occupational therapists to social workers. During these interviews the researchers looked to gain understanding in three topic areas: interactions between persons, environments, and occupations. Each interview was recorded and transcribed afterwards. Lindsay et al. found a few common themes when discussing the three topic areas. In the “interactions between persons” theme the issues brought up included managing their conditions, self-advocacy, and willingness to ask for help (2017). In the “environment” theme the issues were in parental and social support, accommodations, stigma and discrimination, and transportation (Lindsay, Cagliostro, Albarico, Mortaji, & Srikanthan, 2017). Lastly, in the “occupation” theme, Lindsay et al. found that males and females with disabilities have different levels of engagement in employment – males tend to want to go into technological or computer based fields while females wanted to go into social sciences or helping professions (Lindsay, Cagliostro, Albarico, Mortaji, & Srikanthan, 2017). All the clinicians that were interviewed recognized that there are gender differences when it comes to employment in youth with disabilities; however they all stated that they didn’t change their clinical practices to cater to the differences (Lindsay, Cagliostro, Albarico, Mortaji, & Srikanthan, 2017).
In conclusion, although gender does seem to play a role when it comes to occupational choice, this shows that clinicians should cater their services vocationally to assist in the transition to employment in young adults with disabilities.
Lindsay, S., Cagliostro, E., Albarico, M., Mortaji, N., & Srikanthan, D. (2017). Gender matters in the transition to employment for young adults with physical disabilities. Disability and Rehabilitation, 1-14. doi:10.1080/09638288.2017.1390613