230: Why ADHD is a Feminist Issue

June 1

Thanks to fearmongering and misinformation, being a feminist nowadays comes with all kinds of political baggage that leaves many running away from this label. But put quite simply, a feminist includes anyone who supports equal rights for women. So if you believe that you or the women in your life should have equal rights to a man, then congratulations, you’re a feminist!

Viewing ADHD through a feminist lens allows us to see how gender factors into our experiences, from diagnosis and treatment to ongoing impact. Feminism allows us to question gendered expectations, to see them as social constructions that bear no basis in reality, to stop conflating them with virtue, and to start embracing our uniqueness.

Women with ADHD have so many gifts to offer, the problem is we cannot recognize and celebrate those gifts without a more level playing field. Join me this episode as I take a closer look at the impacts of inequality on ADHD women and explore some ways to level out the playing field and start taking on more roles that generate positive emotions and self-worth.





"Women with ADHD deserve better. We are not small men; we have different physiology and face different gendered expectations and biases." 
- Tracy Otsuka

"The consequences of struggling with organization and planning and then beating yourself up over it are huge. Women are not only less likely to be diagnosed and treated for ADHD, but we also suffer more from comorbidities like chronic illness, autoimmune conditions, inflammatory diseases or comorbid mental health challenges. If your cortisol levels are constantly through the roof, your nervous system will play havoc with your entire body." 
- Tracy Otsuka

"A feminist perspective allows us to see how gender factors into the experiences of those with ADHD, from diagnosis and treatment to ongoing impact. When we factor in the experiences of women with multiple minoritized identities, for example women of color, the story gets even more complex." 
- Tracy Otsuka

[00:00 - 20:28] ADHD, gender, and trauma

  • Tiffany shares her personal experience with ADHD and how it's not unique, with women connecting and sharing their struggles online.
  • Historian discusses how women's mental illnesses were pathologized and treated with lobotomies, sterilization, and institutionalization in the past.
  • Tracy discusses how women's mental illnesses were pathologized and treated with lobotomies, sterilization, and institutionalization in the past.

[20:28 - 34:26] Gender bias in medical research and its impact

  • Woman shares how office temperature set for men led to discomfort and health issues.
  • Despite millions of women worldwide experiencing debilitating conditions like PMS and PMDD, there is a lack of research and understanding due to the historical gender bias in medical research.
  • Tracy highlights the importance of recognizing that the male and female brains are not fundamentally different, despite common beliefs and gendered socialization.

[34:26 - 39:16] ADHD, organization, and parenting struggles

  • Tracy struggles with organization and planning, feeling guilty and anxious about it, and recognizes the importance of seeking help to manage these challenges.
  • Tracy believes that a little bit of help can make a big difference in managing household chores and improving overall well-being, and encourages others to seek out support.
  • Tracy discusses her personal experience with ADHD and mental health, and the importance of research on women.

Learn more by connecting with Tracy through Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest or visit adhdforsmartwomen.com.

Struggling to figure out what to do next? Join the What Do I Do With My Life? Master Class designed to lead you from chaos to confidence.

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Saving Normal
Caroline Criado Perez Book
Gender and Our Brains

Hi, I'm Tracy

I teach Smart Ass ADHD women how to use their brilliant brains to build the life they want by embracing their too-muchness and focusing on their strengths.