Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 232–251 | Cite as

A Systematic Review of the Role of Gender in Securing and Maintaining Employment Among Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities

  • Sally LindsayEmail author
  • Elaine Cagliostro
  • Mikhaela Albarico
  • Dilakshan Srikanthan
  • Neda Mortaji


Purpose There is a critical need for gender-specific vocational supports for young adults with disabilities as they transition to employment. We conducted a systematic review to explore the role of gender in securing and maintaining employment. Methods Systematic searches of seven databases identified 48 studies meeting our inclusion criteria. Using a narrative synthesis approach, these studies were analyzed in terms of the characteristics of the participants, methodology, results, and quality of the evidence. Results Among the 48 studies, 112,473 participants (56% male), mean age (of the total sample) was 21, represented across ten countries. Twenty-one studies reported that young men with disabilities had better employment outcomes than women with disabilities. Eight studies showed that females with disabilities had better employment outcomes than males. Five studies reported that there were no gender differences in employment outcomes for youth with various disabilities. With regards to maintaining employment, men with disabilities often work more hours and have better wages compared to women with disabilities. There are several gender-related barriers and facilitators to maintaining employment including social supports and gender role expectations. Conclusions Our findings highlight that there is a critical need for gender-specific vocational supports for young adults with disabilities.


Gender Employment Vocational rehabilitation Youth Adolescents 



This study was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

10926_2017_9726_MOESM1_ESM.docx (101 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 100 KB)
10926_2017_9726_MOESM2_ESM.docx (30 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 30 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sally Lindsay
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Elaine Cagliostro
    • 1
  • Mikhaela Albarico
    • 1
  • Dilakshan Srikanthan
    • 1
  • Neda Mortaji
    • 1
  1. 1.Bloorview Research InstituteHolland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation HospitalTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Department of Occupational Science and Occupational TherapyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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