International Women's Day 2013; A Shout-out to my ADHD sisters!While enjoying some live funk / R&B music at a local venue last night (with a kick-ass female vocalist fronting the band, I might add), I suggested to my younger companion that we should request a special song for International Women’s Day.

“What’s that?” she asked.

I have tremendous respect for this amazing mom of 7; with her intelligent, inquiring mind, I’m not surprised she asked. I was happy to share. It’s not the first time over the years I’ve introduced another woman (or girl, or entire classroom of young students) to IWD.

International Women’s Day reminds us that human rights for women (such as the right to vote!) are not universal and cannot be taken for granted; they’re hard-won and had to be fought for – have to be fought for as we see how easily stripped away they are, once gained (witness the current and seemingly endless controversy over Roe vs. Wade amongst my southern neighbors).

While strides have been made, we’ve barely begun the fight for recognition of, and equal treatment for women with ADHD. Women, girls, mothers with ADHD and with ADHD kids have our own unique challenges. In spite of this, there is still a profound lack of research and information available to help us find effective ways to unleash our potential.

The ADHD mystique?

Coincidentally, it’s the 50th anniversary of Betty Friedan’s famed (or infamous, depending on your perspective) The Feminine Mystique. In brief, in 1963 Friedan fearlessly penned a treatise calling for women to explore options outside their domestic domain.

Was Friedan ahead of her time? Of course – even more than we realized.

As a woman with late-diagnosed ADHD, I’ve encountered innumerable women like me for whom living up to the traditional feminine mandate of skilful hearth and home management was not only boring and less than completely fulfilling (similar to the “housewives” described by Friedan), but stressful and ultimately impossible.

With our unique challenges, and with (for many of us) our unconventional priorities, goals and dreams, if Friedan were writing today she might well include a chapter exclusively devoted to unshackling women with ADHD from these societal expectations.

Not that there’s anything wrong with female domestic competence and artistry; I immensely admire my more talented sisters – I just do not aspire to their talents. I have my own.

Friedan wrote:

“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.”
- Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique

Perhaps this is even more so for the woman with ADHD.

Just as Friedan tries to open the doors to less constricted roles for women, so too – 50 years later! – do we need to finally blast apart that lingering vestige of narrowly defined pursuits rubber-stamped for women. Ultimately, this view has continued, globally, to rob us of the tremendous potential we women – including women with different brains – have to contribute to our communities.

A shout-out to my ADHD sisters

Daily, I’m encouraged, emboldened, and inspired by many incredible women with ADHD. Using humor, integrity, intellect, raw honesty, boldness and bravery, these women are dedicated to shining a light on our lives. In doing so, they build pathways to understanding, support, and success for themselves, each other and to future generations of girls with ADHD.


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    Last reviewed: 8 Mar 2013

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2013). International Women’s Day – A Shout-out to My ADHD Sisters. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 29, 2015, from


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