Women: the CEO’s of the household

Two of my favourite women, Karen and Jacinta

Two of my favourite women, Karen and Jacinta

The following is a portion of my presentation at the GADAA event, Women and Dementia: A Global Challenge event last Thursday!

When diagnosed with dementia, women experience stigma, discrimination, sexism (that exists everywhere, not just because of dementia) and if diagnosed younger, then we also experience the ageism attached to having what is perceived to be an ‘older persons’ disease.

The impact of dementia is high.

It is very clear from the data, my personal experience, and that of DAI members and others with dementia or who are care partners or in a caring role of some kind supporting a person with dementia, that;

– Women are at a greater risk of developing dementia

– Women are more often in unpaid care partner roles than men

– Women are usually the CEO’s of the household in a heterosexual relationship, or are living alone

– Women are more likely to give up work to support a family member

– Women are often isolated in their role as care partners

– Women diagnosed with dementia are deeply impacted, stigmatised, discriminated against and isolated

– As a result, women are more often negatively affected financially, emotionally and physically than men, simply due to the percentages of women affected by dementia

This is definitely not meant to dilute the human cost felt by men, either diagnosed with dementia or supporting someone with dementia.

And finally, another example of the sexism, often by women towards their own gender, is that even when fathers take do take on the roles of the parenting and household, they are very often well supported by other women. When a father goes away from the home, women, generally, are left to cope alone.

If interested, you can read my full speech notes and download the slides from todays blog at Dementia Alliance International.

One thought on “Women: the CEO’s of the household

  1. Kate, your voice is so important to this community. A friend of mine (age 64) was just given her marching papers by the company she was working for because she was making too many mistakes. She is going for tests to determine if this might be a symptom of early-onset AD, but it occurred to me that the workplace, too, needs to be educated on cognitive disorders and older employees. It’s my observation that, had it been a man experiencing mental confusion, they would have worked with him to allow time for diagnosis and/or compassionate leave. As she was a woman and a mere “administrative assistant”, they felt they had no such duty. Society needs to rethink the way we see aging and its concomitant challenges. Of course, it’s only when we’re in it up to our knees that we see this! Thanks again for continuing to shine a light into all the dark corners that don’t have to be dark.


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