Hierarchies of categorical disadvantage: economic insecurity at the intersection of disability, gender, and race
disability, intersectionality, economic insecurity, poverty, inequality, gender
Intersectional feminist scholars emphasize how overlapping systems of oppression structure gender inequality, but in focusing on the gendered, classed, and racialized bases of stratification, many often overlook disability as an important social category in determining economic outcomes. This is a significant omission given that disability severely limits opportunities and contributes to cumulative disadvantage. We draw from feminist disability and intersectional theories to account for how disability intersects with gender, race, and education to produce economic insecurity. The findings from our analyses of 2015 American Community Survey data provide strong empirical support for hierarchies of disadvantage, where women and racial minority groups with disabilities and less education experience the highest poverty levels, report the lowest total income, and have a greater reliance on sources outside the labor market for economic security. By taking disability into account, our study demonstrates how these multiple characteristics lead to overlapping oppressions that become embedded and reproduced within the larger social structure.
Maroto, M., Pettinicchio, D., & Patterson, A. C. (2019). Hierarchies of categorical disadvantage: economic insecurity at the intersection of disability, gender, and race. Gender & Society, 33, 1, 64-93.
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