Evidence from Shaw Trust,sponsors of the 'Women Returners', Annual Report 2016, points out that flexibility in the workplace is an essential mechanism for women with disabilities, or those with caring responsibilities for someone with a disability. Individual conditions or parental and caring responsibilities can often prevent women with disabilities from moving into full-time employment and, despite equality legislation, disabled women are still less likely to be able to access employment, be paid equally and advance their careers.
According to Shaw Trust, there is still a pay gap of 22% between disabled and nondisabled women. To counter this, tailored employment support must be offered in order to best fit the needs of women with disabilities, including more awareness around disability leave.
Clare Gray, Disability Advocacy Adviser, Shaw Trust, 2016, commented that 'Women with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to experiencing poor employment outcomes when compared to men with disabilities.”
Furthermore, Shaw Trust evidence shows that whilst the gap in employment between men with disabilities and women with disabilities has diminished in recent years, the wage gap between the two has widened.
Research from the Equality and Human Rights Commission shows that men with disabilities face a pay gap of 11% whilst women with disabilities face a pay gap that is twice as large, at 22%. Despite qualifications, disabled women have lower participation rates in higher skilled jobs and work fewer hours than both non-disabled women and disabled men. As a result, women with disabilities have both lower earnings and fewer opportunities to progress up the career ladder.
According to Shaw Trust, the reasons behind this are many, with multiple social and institutional barriers restricting the career options of women with disabilities. For example, gender roles and socio-institutional stereotypes restrict the range of jobs open to women with disabilities. In addition, work experience and training opportunities for women with disabilities are limited when compared to those offered to their peers without disabilities.
Download the full Women Returners, Annual Report 2016 (PDF, 1.17MB, opens in new tab or window)