Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers
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Research Handbook of Diversity and Careers

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

This unique Research Handbook covers a wide range of issues that affect the careers of those in diverse groups: age, disability, gender, race, religion, sexuality and transgender, as well as appearance. International experts from a variety of backgrounds contribute chapters in their given fields, reviewing current thinking, practices, initiatives and developments within the field, as well as presenting a wide-ranging and holistic coverage of the topic.
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Chapter 12: What about a career? The intersection of gender and disability

Gemma L. Bend and Vincenza Priola

Abstract

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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