Abstract

Questions about gender equity have been asked in many aspects of the disability field and have resulted in findings that women with disabilities have significantly different experiences than do men. We analyzed an existing database of information on supported employment and natural supports to ascertain whether gender plays an important role in the employment of people with mental retardation. The findings suggest that there are several important differences. Although women were perceived as being more socially appropriate on several dimensions, they worked in jobs traditionally stereotyped by gender. Women also typically worked fewer hours than did men and, therefore, earned less money, although not statistically significantly so. The pattern of findings suggests parallels with the broader society.

Preparation of this paper was supported in part by a grant from Virginia Commonwealth University and The Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. The authors express their sincere appreciation to personnel from the vocational programs whose participation and contribution made this research project possible and to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions.

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