[EDEQUITY Disability] Responding the reading list

From: Susan Foley (Susan.Foley@umb.edu)
Date: Thu Aug 22 2002 - 12:39:49 EDT

             I agree with one of the commentators (KAASTE??) that girls
have made substantial progress in the educational realm and the data
particularly from the National Science Foundation tends to support this. We
should consider this progress that I hope extends to increased income
parity and employment in high ranking jobs.

             However, I would like to keep the focus on gender and
disability. Both girls and boys with disabilities do not fare nearly as
well as their non-disabled peers. Once more, their employment outcomes
(rate of employment, income) are very low and they do not go on to college
at the same rate as their peers. There is a clear disparity between women
and men with disabilities when it comes to employment outcomes. Women with
disabilities earn far less than men with disabilities. 1/3 of women with
disabilities and 1/4 of men with disabilities are in poverty. Excluding
SSI, women with disabiities are more likely to receive welfare and men with
disabilities are more likely to receive unemployment insurance, workers
compensation, veterans disability benefits, and private disability
insurance. Both women and men with disabilities could use a little equity.

             Disability advocates particularly women have long written
about how feminism and gender equity goals have not included them. Findings
from vocational rehabilitation administrative data show that women with
disabilities earn $50 less per week than men with disabilities earn, which
at $250 a week is no small difference. It is not explained by hours worked
per week. Both are working approximately 32 hours per week. Married women
with disabilities completing vocational rehabilitation earn $100 less per
week than married men with disabilities earn. Also, not explained by hours
worked per week. There are small but rather insignificant differences in
type of disability.

             Writers like Christina Hoff Sommers and others have generally
not discussed disability issues. It is very difficult to find writings in
either the disability field or within women's studies that give the full
picture on disability and gender. Welfare policy is just starting to
recognize that nearly 50% of the population currently on welfare are women
with disabilities. Many of these disabilities are being discovered during
the person's welfare tenure. They did not receive any accommodations in
school and their is evidence supporting the premise that these women had
been working and were fired or left jobs because they did not provide job
accommodations or it was a poor match with a disability (a maid with
asthma, a person with serious depression performing shift work, a cashier
not allowed a chair even though she had serious and long term leg trauma).

             While I think we can argue that educational outcomes are
better for girls than previously, we often neglect the girls and boys for
whom everyone has low expectations.

Susan Foley,
Senior Research Associate,Institute for Community
Inclusion,University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA

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