When I honored with an invitation to join BlogHer, SheKnows and PRI (Public Radio International) in their Across Women’s Lives initiative, #womenslives,
accepting the offer was a no brainer.
I also may have exclaimed, “THAT IS SO COOL!” in an utterly dignified manner and did a little happy dance in my seat.
Being born into a female body, and identifying as such, has effected every facet of my life, including education, work and social aspects.
The intersection with disability and other aspects of my situation have further colored the way my gender has impacted the way my life has gone, which has given me a unique take on things.
#Womenslives aims to highlight the impact women have on our society, and to raise awareness of the inequities we face all over the world. We make up a little over half of the population, yet only about 24% of the news has much to do with us.
In the world of neurodiversity, girls are still less likely to get needed diagnosis than boys. For years, it was thought girls couldn’t be dyslexic (false) and up until recently, autism was seen as an exclusively male thing (also false). As a result, countless girls needlessly fought against a learning environment that made education nearly impossible.
It becomes extraordinarily difficult to concentrate on our studies or jobs when we have to cope with that the cultural idea our beauty is what makes us important and the disturbingly high risk of sexual assault. Layer on the stress of coping with difficult aspects of disability, and you have an idea of how challenging life can get.
That’s why I’m so grateful for the #womenslives initiative, and this opportunity to be a part of it. It offers another forum to talk about issues effecting women on every continent, to share our stories and to learn about the vast array of diverse experiences by our gender.
I’ll be writing about my personal experiences from childhood into adulthood and how being a dyslexic woman has colored my world. I’ll also be writing response pieces to articles that pop up in connection to this initiative.
I also invite you to take part, by using the #womenslives hashtag on your social media platforms and reading all of the amazing stories that will be shared. I’m thrilled to be a part of it!
Stats and Links
1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.
91% of sexual assault victims are female, 9% are male.
13.3% of college women admit to having been forced into sexual acts during dating situations.
83% of developmentally disabled females and 32% of the males surveyed were victims of sexual assault.
(Stats from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. There’s a lot more info in the link.)
The myth of “only boys have dyslexia” is actually still going strong in some circles, and I know it’s rooted in history, but the only articles on disability history I could find online completely ignored the gender side of it. This excellent blog entry, from Story of Smith, however, does mention the myth. There’s currently a debate going on regarding whether more boys are dyslexic, or if the ratio between boys and girls is 1:1.
It was only last year or the year before that the issue of girls with autism was raised in the mainstream media. Since then, the news has moved on, but this article is a good representation of what’s still going on: How Girls with Autism are Being Shortchanged
Turn on the TV, open up a news paper or log onto the internet, and you’ll be bombarded with ads geared towards women urging them to do something to better their appearances, so I didn’t really think I needed to link to an article about how girls and women are told their looks are more important than anything else.
Then I remembered this news story. It’s about how Colleen McCulloughn, the author of Thorn Birds, which has sold 30 thousand copies around the world, was represented more for her looks in her obituary than her incredible accomplishments. It’s a pretty stunning example of how our appearances are prized more than who we are or what we do.