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


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.

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

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Correspondence to Sally Lindsay.

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Lindsay, S., Cagliostro, E., Albarico, M. et al. A Systematic Review of the Role of Gender in Securing and Maintaining Employment Among Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities. J Occup Rehabil 28, 232–251 (2018).

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  • Gender
  • Employment
  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Youth
  • Adolescents