Gender is not emphasized in Nomadland by Jessica Bruder because the phenomenon of former middle class people taking to the road full time is not gender-specific. In her travels, she meets people of all ages, both men and women, although a majority of those who turn to life on the road are older Americans who cannot afford a conventional retirement. She explains in the book's foreword that these individuals must cope with "impossible choices that face what used to be the middle class" of how to spend the limited amount of money they have. As Bruder writes: "They are surviving America."
However, though the book's emphasis is not on gender, Bruder focuses her reportage primarily on the stories of older women, especially an elderly woman named Linda, an itinerant who moves from temporary job to temporary job towing her little trailer home. The reason for this, as Bruder explained in interviews following the publication of the book, involves the difficulties that women face in a country with a gender-biased workforce. A review of Nomadland in The New Yorker in November 2017 states:
Social security benefits are modest, Bruder reminds us, especially for women.
In an interview that appeared in several venues in October 2017, including Forbes Magazine and PBS television, Bruder was asked why she thinks that "so many older people are living and working this way." She emphasized the preponderance of older women among the new nomads:
I met a lot of older women. The gender wage gap has meant women have lower lifetime earnings than men; they spend more time out of the workforce doing unpaid labor, raising families or caring for parents.
We see, then, that though gender is not a specific issue that Bruder discusses in depth in Nomadland, it underlies her experiences, observations, and the people that she focuses on in her book. Additionally, as in the examples above, Bruder took care to explain gender issues having to do with the nomadic lifestyle in interviews after the publication of the book.