Hi, my name’s Nada, and I’m studying Health Sciences at Western University. Right now, I’m working with Inclusion Canada to use what I’ve learned in my classes and get even better at it.

This year, the UN is talking about “Invest in Women” for International Women’s Day. I want to talk about how women with disabilities sometimes have a hard time finding jobs. I’ll look at how many of them have jobs compared to women without disabilities or men with disabilities.

Before I begin, I want to mention that a person doesn’t need to have a job to be valuable. There are many ways for people to find meaning in their lives, and the same holds true for people with a disability.

How many women with a disability have a job

I want to talk about how many women with disabilities have jobs. But first, I need to mention that there’s not enough information about women with intellectual disabilities. So, I’ll talk about women with any kind of disability for now. But I hope researchers will look into the experiences of women with intellectual disabilities soon.

So, overall, about 65 out of 100 women with disabilities have jobs. But for women without disabilities, it’s higher, about 76 out of 100. Also, younger and older women with disabilities have a harder time finding work, especially those between 16 and 24 years old or 55 to 64 years old.

Disability and building skills

Having a job is important for many of us because we need money to live. But there’s more to it than just money. I’ve been working since I was 15, and I’ve learned a lot from my jobs. This learning and growing is called human capital. It’s like building up your skills and knowledge.

The link between having skills and having a job is like a two-way street. When you have more skills, you’re more likely to get a good job. And having a job helps you learn even more skills. But for women with disabilities who can’t find work, it’s tough. They miss out on building up their skills, and not having skills makes it harder to find a job. So, it’s like a cycle that’s hard to break.

Job and pay equality

Finding a job isn’t the only struggle faced by women with a disability. Even when they do find work, they’re more likely than men with disabilities to have part-time jobs instead of full-time ones. This means they earn less money.

For example, on average, men with disabilities make about $43,300 a year, but women with disabilities only make about $31,100. And even though women with disabilities often have more education than men with disabilities, they still earn less and work part-time more often. It seems like this is because of unfair treatment based on gender but we’re not sure about this. More research is needed.

Also, women with disabilities are more likely than men to change how they work. They might work fewer hours, take time off, or work from home. It’s not clear if this is good or bad. Working from home can be helpful for some women with disabilities, but not helpful for others.

Investing in Women with a Disability

First, we need to do research to figure out why it’s hard for women to get jobs. Groups like the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) or Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) should give money to study this. They should focus on women with disabilities, especially those with intellectual disabilities, to learn more about their work experiences. This will help us make better programs to help them find jobs.

On International Women’s Day, we should think about how we can help women with an intellectual disability find and keep jobs they enjoy, at equitable and fair pay.


Blyden, P. (2005). Disability and Employment: Considering the Importance of Social Capital. Journal of Rehabilitation, 71(3), 20–25.

Government Of Canada. (2023, August 30). Chart 1: employment rates of persons with disabilities and persons without disabilities by age and sex, Canada, 2022. Statistics Canada. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/230830/cg-a001-eng.htm

Schimmele, C., Jeon, S.-H., & Arim, R. (2021). Work experiences of women with disabilities. Economic and Social Reports.