What about a career? The intersection of gender and disability.

Bend, Gemma L. and Priola, Vincenza (2018). What about a career? The intersection of gender and disability. In: Broadbridge, Adelina M. and Fielden, Sandra L. eds. Research Handbook of Diversity and Career. New Horizons in Management. Edward Elgar, pp. 193–208.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4337/9781785365607.00021


This chapter explores the intersection of gender and disability identities based on the study of disabled women’s experiences of work and career. It reports the findings analysed from in-depth interviews with seven employed women who have long-term physical disabilities, focusing on the difficulties that women with a disability experience in the workplace and the implications that these experiences have on women’s identity and their careers. Three themes are discussed: experiences of discrimination; disability and career; and support in employment. The findings show evidence of a conflict between physically disabled women’s self-identity and social identity. Visual cues of one’s identity, such as gender and a physical disability, that makes an individual look different from a non-disabled individual, appeared to impact upon work experiences almost as much as the limitations that a physically disabled body presented. This was particularly evident in appearance-based professions such as beauty therapy or in male-dominated work environments. The findings will be of interest to policy-makers and organisations when implementing future services to support disabled individuals.

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