Press Release
On 33rd Anniversary of the ADA, National Partnership for Women & Families Launches Disability Policy Agenda for Economic Justice 

New research provides recommendations for policy transformation in jobs and employment to support economic security for women with disabilities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 26, 2023 – Today, the National Partnership for Women & Families introduced their first disability policy agenda to address the policies and systems at the intersection of disability and gender justice that prevent women with disabilities from achieving economic security. The “Systems Transformation Guide to Disability Economic Justice: Jobs and Employment” – which comes on the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act that transformed workplaces and opportunities for disabled workers – is the first report from the National Partnership that dives into how to build an equitable economy that centers the needs of women with disabilities, and women of color with disabilities, in particular.

As part of its mission to achieve an equitable economy that works for all women and families, the National Partnership is launching sustained policy research in disability justice and integrating it into the organization’s economic justice advocacy, which covers issues such as paid family leave, equal pay and sexual harassment in the workplace. The series of Systems Transformation Guides focuses on evidence-based policies, informed by the lived experiences of women with disabilities, to improve employment and provide concrete recommendations for federal, state and local policymakers, as well as business leaders.

“Our work always has been, and continues to be, about improving the lives of all women and families – and we cannot do that without centering women with disabilities, particularly women of color with disabilities, living at the intersection of multiple identities and multiple barriers,” said Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “The barriers to their economic security and wellbeing harm people with disabilities, workers, and our country. We must pursue supportive policies that recognize the contributions of women with disabilities in the different roles they play – as workers, as caregivers, as consumers – in their families and in the economy. We have been energized by the opportunity to work more diligently in this new policy area and are excited about the possibilities of what we can accomplish through this work with our partners to build an economy that works for everyone.”

More than 42 million people in the United States live with a disability. Not only are women more likely than men to have a disability, but employed women with disabilities are also more likely to be economically insecure. The new analysis finds stark disparities in jobs and employment for women with disabilities:

  • Just 36 percent of women with disabilities are employed, compared to 70 percent of nondisabled women.
  • 31 percent of employed women with disabilities are economically insecure.
  • Women of color with disabilities are much less likely to be employed than nondisabled white women or men. Among disabled women by race and ethnicity, American Indian/Alaska Native and Black disabled women are the least likely to be employed at 30 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

To close these gaps, the National Partnership recommends concrete policy and systemic changes through increased federal investments in job equity, establishment of a national comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy, legislation to strengthen anti-discrimination protections for workers, bolster Social Security, raise the minimum wage and end the subminimum wage for workers with disabilities, and more.

“We hope the Systems Transformation Guide and the others that follow will prompt significant policy changes, impacting the millions of disabled workers in this country,” said Marissa Ditkowsky, disability policy counsel for economic justice. “Part of economic equity involves removing existing barriers so that disabled people can work to the extent they are able or should they so choose. While some workplace flexibilities have expanded, we still have a long way to go, and we look forward to working with advocates and policymakers to create an economy that allows disabled women to thrive.”

Later installments of the Systems Transformation Guide will look at the intersections of disabled women and a range of other issues, including housing, transportation and food insecurity.

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Media Contact:

Gail Zuagar

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About the National Partnership for Women & Families

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family.

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