Gender and Disability in Male-Dominated Occupations: A Social Relational Model

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Evidence from male-dominated sectors points to high levels of disability and the disabling nature of working environments. However, research of this nature assumes a medical model of disability that does not account for the social construction of disability or the lived experiences of disabled employees. Using data from seven focus groups (n = 44) and semi-structured interviews with
professional transport employees with life-long hidden ‘impairments’, including dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia, ADD/ADHD and Asperger syndrome (n = 22), this paper explores the lived experiences of men and women working in a sector traditionally dominated by men, the transport industry. Key themes include homosociality, public–private divide and the impact of changing work practices. Further, the data revealed how those with hidden ‘impairments’ in part construct their identities in relation to both non-disabled colleagues and those considered stereotypically representing disability (wheelchair users). This study furthers understandings of the relationality of gender and disability in the workplace, and the lived experiences of disabled employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-581
Number of pages16
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Early online date9 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • gender
  • disability
  • masculinity
  • social relational model


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