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Houston, Texas

People discussing health of women with disabilities
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Women with disabilities have lower rates of post-secondary (college) education than non-disabled women.
  • Education constitutes one of many barriers faced by women with disabilities when striving to perform important social roles.
  • One analysis found that, compared to non-disabled women, women with 3 or more functional limitations were more likely to have a high school education or less (78% versus 54%).
  • Another analysis identified that women with higher levels of education are less likely to have a disability. Nearly half of those with less than a high school education were found to have disabilities.
  • A national study of women with physical disabilities revealed that younger, more educated, and less disabled women were much more likely to be employed. More highly educated respondents reported engaging in more health promoting behaviors.
  • Education has been associated with abuse. One interview study of 14 women with disabilities found that the women who were involved in the severest abusive relationships were the least educated.
    • Lack of education inhibited the ability of participants to find good jobs that could lead them out of abusive relationships. Without jobs, they were unable to support themselves or pursue good medical care, better neighborhoods, or other things that would improve their quality of life.
    • One woman, who said she had been beaten all of her life, had only completed the 6th grade, and had a stroke at age 36. She blamed her lack of education as one of the reasons she had trouble finding and keeping a job.
    • In that same interview study, another woman with a disability dropped out of school and married at age 15. She shared "I educated myself ...I went [to school] as much as I could. I couldn't afford to support four children and go to school, you know, and yeah, I would have loved to continue, but I couldn't."
  • On the other hand, another study found that, among 415 women with disabilities, those who had more education were more likely to have experienced abusive experiences within the previous year.
  • Additional research is needed on the relation between educational levels and abuse.

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