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Houston, Texas

People discussing health of women with disabilities
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Demographics--Unemployment

Compared to all other adults in the US, women with disabilities have higher rates of unemployment.
  • Women in general face discrimination in employment. This discrimination appears to be greater for women with disabilities.
  • A huge employment disparity exists in the U.S. between women with disabilities and non-disabled women. In a 1993 report, approximately 73% of women without disabilities were employed compared to only 45% of women with disabilities.
  • The employment rate for women with severe disabilities was about half of that for other women with disabilities in that 1993 report. The situation has not changed. An analysis of more recent data indicates that women with more functional limitations are significantly less likely to be employed and more likely not to be in the labor force than are women with fewer functional limitations.
  • Only 1 out of every 4 women with severe disabilities had a job or business during the mid-1990s compared to 3 out of 4 of non-disabled women.
  • Rates of employment are greater for younger, versus older, women with disabilities, who may not be able to continue working due to increased and major functional limitation and/or illness.
  • Women with disabilities who participated in an interview study indicated that salaried employment was an important factor for staying psychologically healthy by having a structured day, staying mentally active, and keeping busy. As expected by population estimates, only a few women in the study had this employment opportunity.
  • According to census reports, more than 1 of 5 U.S. women have a work-related disability. According to the 1993 report mentioned earlier, 1 of every 18 women ages 15-64 has a disability. Nevertheless, women with disabilities accounted for more than half of women near or below the poverty level and a mere 11% of women at the highest level of income.
  • The economic situation is much worse for women living with severe disabilities whose costs could be exceedingly high due to factors such as days lost from productive activity related to illness; need for assistance with essential tasks of daily living; and need for household assistance. A year-long study is currently underway to examine the costs of secondary health conditions, such as depression, in women with disabilities.
  • A national study on women with physical disabilities found that younger, more educated, and less disabled women with disabilities were significantly more likely to be employed.

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