Skip to main content

Disability and Sex/Gender Intersections in Unmet Workplace Support Needs: Findings from a Large Canadian Survey of Workers

Written by: Arif Jetha, Monique A. M. Gignac, Selahadin Ibrahim, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis
Published on: Jan 30, 2023
young woman with prosthetic arm typing on laptop
Photo credit: AnnaStills/Adobe Stock


Individual attributes including disability and sex/gender have the potential to intersect and determine the likelihood of unmet workplace support needs. Our study compares unmet workplace support needs between workers with and without a disability, and according to disability type and sex/gender differences.


Workers with (n = 901) and without (n = 895) a disability were surveyed to examine their need and use of workplace supports including job accommodations, work modifications and health benefits. A multivariable logistic model was conducted to examine the relationship between disability status, disability type and sex/gender and unmet workplace support needs. The model included interaction terms between sex/gender × physical disability, sex/gender × nonphysical disability, and sex/gender × physical and nonphysical disability.


Among participants with a disability, 24% had a physical disability, 20% had a nonphysical disability (e.g., cognitive, mental/emotional or sensory disability) and 56% had both physical and nonphysical disability. Over half of the respondents were women (56%). Results from the multivariable model showed that nondisabled women were more likely to report unmet workplace support needs when compared to nondisabled men (odds ratio [OR] = 1.54, 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.13–2.10). Findings also showed an intersection between the number and type of disability and sex/gender; women with both a physical and nonphysical disability had the greatest likelihood of reporting unmet workplace support needs when compared to nondisabled men (OR = 2.73; 95% CI, 1.83–4.08).


Being a woman and having one or more disabilities can determine unmet workplace support needs. Strategies to address workplace support needs should consider the intersection between disability and sex/gender differences.

Read the full report.