Causes for awareness

Making the public aware of women's equality, diabetes, Alzheimer's, domestic violence and breast cancer

Women’s Equality Day

Though it is true that women today are closer to the equality sought by early women’s rights advocates, there is still much to be done. A woman still earns less than her male counterparts at $0.81 for every $1.00 a man earns (Women in Management, 2010). In Congress, women represent only 16.3% of the governing body of the US, though 51.6% of the voting age population are women. At a briefing sponsored by Women’s Policy Inc., presenters noted that across the nation women face a 26% wage gap affecting not only themselves but also their families. Six out of ten women are the primary breadwinner in their households, of these women, 35% are living in poverty due to the recession.

In the field of psychology, statistics somewhat improve. The WPO’s Women in the APA series presents the percentages of women in APA Governance, such as Division officers, Presidents, and the Board and Council of Representatives. These tables will be posted in 2012.

Marking the 91st anniversary of the Constitutional Amendment granting women the right to vote, President Barack Obama issued a proclamation on August 26 Women’s Equality Day.

To read the President’s proclamation please visit the White House website.

Sherrill, A. (2010). Women in management: Female managers’ representation, characteristics, and pay. (GAO-10-1064T). Washington, DC: US Government Accountability Office.

November: National Diabetes Awareness Month

The month of turkey, grandma’s sweet potato pie, and all the trappings of the highly anticipated Thanksgiving Day dinner is also known as National Diabetes Awareness Month. The US Department of Health and Human Services reports obesity numbers in youth and adults continue to grow each year and have increased significantly over the past 20 years. Approximately 26 million Americans are diabetic and of them 35.5% are women compared with 32% being men (National Health Information Center, 2011).  Several studies suggest a link between diabetes and depression in women (Pan, A., et al., 2010). Also, Pan, et al. (2011) found that depression and diabetes are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality rate among women.

To learn more about diabetes and diabetes statistics please visit, the American Diabetes Association.

Manzella, D. (2010). Top ten warning signs of diabetes. Retrieved September 22, 2011.

National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Aging. (2011). Diabetes in Older People - A Disease You Can Manage. Retrieved September 22, 2011.

Pan, A., Lucas, M., Sun, Q., van Dam, R. M., Franco, O. H., Willet, W. C., Manson, J. E., Rexrode, K. M., Ascherio, A., & Hu, F. B. (2010). Bidirectional association between depression and type 2 diabetes mellitus in women. Archives of Internal Medicine, 170, 1884-1891.

Pan, A., Lucas, M., Sun, Q., van Dam, R. M., Franco, O. H., Willet, W. C., Manson, J. E., Rexrode, K. M., Ascherio, A., & Hu, F. B. (2011). Increased mortality risk in women with depression and diabetes mellitus. Archives of General Psychiatry, 68, 42-50. Doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2010.176.

US Department of Health and Human Services. (2011). National Health Observances (PDF, 185KB). Retrieved September 22, 2011.

October: Breast Cancer Awareness and Domestic Violence Awareness Month

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Breast Cancer is reported to be the most common cancer among women of all racial and ethnic groups in the United States (Yi-Bin & Zieve 2010). One presentation at the 2011 AACR Conference on the Science of Cancer Health Disparities found that psychosocial stress could play a role in the etiology of breast cancer aggressiveness, particularly among the minority population (Newswise, 2011). However, a new test finds pathways activated in aggressive cancer can be detected very early, even in precancerous cells, among young African-American women at high risk for breast cancer (Newswise, 2011). According to the Animated Dissection of Anatomy for Medicine (A.D.A.M) Medical Encyclopedia, women who had children after the age of 30 have an increased risk of developing breast cancer as opposed to those women who had children before the age of 20 (Bernstein, L. 2002). Colditz, et al. (2006) suggest that pregnancy and breastfeeding reduce a woman’s exposure to endogenous hormones that may cause cancer.

Over the past 25 years, activities during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) have been focused on educating and empowering women to take control of their breast health and become aware of this disease by providing important resources, information, and facts. As recommended by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), all women over the age of 40 should receive annual mammograms, however, women who are at a higher risk should check with their health care providers about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40 and how often (National Cancer Institute, 2010).

To read more about breast cancer among women or learn more about Susan G. Komen for the Cure and resources please visit:

Bernstein, L. (2002). Epidemiology of endocrine-related risk factors for breast cancer. Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia, 7. 3–15

Colditz, G. A., Baer, H. J., Tamimi, R. M., (2006). Breast cancer. In: Schottenfeld D, Fraumeni JF, editors. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention. 3rd ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

National Cancer Institute. (2010) Mammograms. Retrieved November 21, 2011.

Yi-Bin, C., & Zieve, D. (2010). Breast Cancer. Retrieved September 21, 2011

Newswise. (2011). Test could detect breast cancers earlier in young, high-risk African American women. Retrieved November 3, 2011.

Newswise (2011). Association found between stress and breast cancer aggressiveness. Retrieved November 3, 2011.

Domestic Violence Awareness

In recent reports made by the Domestic Violence Resource Center one in every four women has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime, which could suggest that about 3 million women have been physically abused by their significant other (CDC & NIJ, 2010). A total of 74% of Americans know someone who is or has been abused (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2006). With more than 3 women and 1 man being murdered by their intimate partner every day, it has been reported that abusive relationships start as young as 14 years of age by the US Department of Justice Programs (Rennison, C., 2003).  Bonomi, et. al, (2011) identified strategies perpetrators use to successfully persuade their victims to recant and/or refuse prosecution efforts.  The results suggest the victim’s recantation intention was influenced by the perpetrators appeals to the victim’s sympathy through descriptions of his suffering from mental and physical problems, intolerable jail conditions, and life without her. The study goes further to say the intention to recant was solidified by the perpetrator’s minimization of the abuse, and the couple invoking images of life without each other.

Founded in October 1981, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence began days of activities and events that were conducted at local, state and national levels for the fight to end violence against women and their children. The names of women who have been confronted with domestic violence that resulted in death are exhibited in the “Remember My Name” project to raise the awareness for domestic violence.

If you are in danger, please call 911, your local hotline, or (in the US) the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224

For more information on domestic violence awareness, education and resources against it, please visit:

Straus, M. & Gelles, R. (1990). Physical violence in American families. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), & National Institute of Justice (NIJ). (2000). Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence. Retrieved November 23, 2011.

Tjaden, P., & Thoennes, N. (2000).  Extent, nature, and consequences of intimate partner violence.  National Institute of Justice, NCJ 181867.

Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Intimate Partner Violence in the US 1993-2004, 2006.

Bonomi, A. E., Gangamma, R., Locke, C. R., Katafiasz, H., & Martin, D. (2011). “Meet me at the hill where we used to park”: Interpersonal processes associated with victim recantation. Social Science & Medicine. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2011.07.005

September: World Alzheimer’s Day

Every day those living with Alzheimer’s disease are recognized as heroes by their loved ones and the World Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that once every 69 seconds someone in the US develops this disease and as the population ages, it is projected that by mid-century the incidence will increase to once every 33 seconds. More women than men develop Alzheimer’s disease. Of approximately 5.2 million people over age 65 with Alzheimer’s in the US, 3.4 million are women and 1.8 million are men (Shriver, M. 2010). Additionally, 16 percent of women aged 71 and older have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia compared with 11 percent of men (Plassman, et. al., 2007). Psychologists have become increasingly more involved with challenges of improving the lives of contemporary family members caring for aging parents or other loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. The APA Office on Aging offers a webinar on new guidelines for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, in 2010, then APA President Dr. Carol Goodheart convened an APA Task Force to develop a user-friendly, online Family Caregiver Briefcase. This toolkit will help psychologists and other health professionals assist family caregivers through individual and organizational practice, research, and community service.

Plassman, B. L., Langa, K. M., Fisher, G. G., Heeringa, S. G., Weir, D. R., Ofstedal M. B., Burke J. R., Hurd M. D., Potter G. G., Rodgers W. L., Steffens D. C., Willis R. J., & Wallace R. B. (2007). Prevalence of dementia in the United States: The Aging, Demographics, and Memory Study. Neuroepidemiology, 29. 125–132.

Shriver, M. (2010). The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s (PDF, 1.09MB). Alzheimer’s Association. Retrieved November 22, 2011.

Alzheimer's Association. (2011). 2011 Alzheimers disease facts and figures. Alzheimers Association, 7 (PDF, 1.09MB). Retrieved from the Web. September 21, 2011.

Bazell, R. (2011). Alzheimer's link yet another reason to fear diabetes. Diabetes on MSNBC. Retrieved November 3, 2011.