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It is unclear how much gendered social exclusion and disconnection reflects a problem or a preference. Women may prefer market-disengagement despite the risk of exclusion from ‘normal’ social activities through financial incapacity, and men may prefer marketengagement despite the risk of disconnection from informal social networks. This article examines these issues amongst Australian men and women. It finds women, particularly single and low-income mothers, are more socially excluded, and men, particularly single middle-aged men, are the most socially disconnected, after preferences. Future policy should be cognisant of contact preferences, intra-household support dynamics, long work hours and prevailing gender norms.