Today is International Women’s Day, and for the 2022 Dementia Alliance International blog, our focus is on the reality that dementia affects more women and girls than men and boys. The International Women’s Day #IWD2022 campaign theme is #BreakTheBias
This year, DAI joins the Global Alliance For the Rights of Older People #AgeWithRights campagin rally, with an event being on March 15/16, 2022. Please join us, to help #BreakTheBias. Follow this link for details and to register.
Woman, girls and dementia #IWD2022
By Kate Swaffer, DAI co-founder, 8 March 2022
- Imagine a gender equal world.
- A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
- A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
- A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
- Together we can forge women's equality.
- Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
On the International Women’s Day Website, we are asked to imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.
- Celebrate women's achievement.
- Raise awareness against bias.
- Take action for equality.
According to the World Health Organisation, there are an estimated 55 million people living with dementia globally, there are 10 million new cases each year, and dementia is currently the seventh leading cause of death among all diseases and one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people globally.
Dementia also affects woman and girls, disproportionately to men and boys. In Australia (2020), it was listed as the second leading cause of death nationally for men and women, and the leading cause of death of women. In Canada, about two-thirds of Canadian living with dementia are women. According to Dr Kiely in 2018, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1 globally, and brain scans tell us that the rate at which brain cells are dying in the brain is faster in women than in men. In the US, it was also found that two-thirds of clinically diagnosed cases of dementia and AD are women, according to U.S. most European reports, and although it appears complex, female versus male longevity it not the only reason for this disparity.
A 2015 report by Alzheimer’s Research UK, “Woman and dementia: A Marginalised Majority”, it was the 5th leading cause of death, women more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, and “Between 60 and 70% of all unpaid dementia carers are women.”
In an Alzheimer’s Society UK blog written by Sherena Corfield in 2018 about women in rural areas demanding more action, she wrote, “Women are disproportionately affected by dementia than men. It’s the biggest killer of women in the UK. Despite this, it remains a hugely misunderstood health condition. This is particularly apparent for women in rural parts of the world, who often face the most extreme stigma due to a lack of awareness.”
The Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care found, found that apart from all of the other forms of violence, abuse and neglect in residential aged care in Australia, they estimated that 50 people every single week are being sexually violated; most of them are women with dementia.
As DAI seeks to represents the more than 55 million people estimated to be living with dementia and those people receiving a new diagnosis of dementia every 3 seconds, and works hard to empower people to get back to living, rather than go home and get their end of life affairs in order, as most people are advised to do. We also want to keep raising the issue that there is gender bias, and that dementia affects more women and girls than men.
We highlight again what we wrote on our blog for IWD2021:
Everyone impacted by dementia receives little if any health care, including a lack of access to a diagnosis, nor appropriate support to live with dementia once diagnosed. Older women, especially widows, can be exposed to what has been termed a ‘triple jeopardy’ discriminated against as a result of their age, sex and condition (carer or diagnosed with dementia).The stigma surrounding dementia exists universally, with women more likely to be stigmatised in this way. Extreme forms of discrimination can lead to women with the condition facing abuse, violence and even death.
As a female with dementia, I now not only experience continuing discrimination and stigma due to being female but the added stigma and discrimination due to a valid diagnosis of dementia, as well as ageism, as dementia is still seen as an older person’s condition.
If I thought I was invisible as a woman before, having dementia as a woman is like wearing a Harry Potter Invisibility Cloak!
By Kate Swaffer © 8 March 2022 #IWD2022
Co-founder, Dementia Alliance International