Women Rising Presents Research Findings from Its National Survey, Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls” ™

The First Sociological Survey Exploring the Intersection of Empowerment and Autoimmunity in American Women

In 2022, the NIH reported that 8% of the US population is living with an autoimmune disease- with 80% being women.

NEW YORK, March 12, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Women Rising, an 11x award-winning women’s empowerment and media company founded by autoimmune-diagnosed, 15x award-winning documentary filmmaker, Sara Hirsh Bordo, is releasing findings from Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls” ™  the first-ever sociological survey exploring the intersection between empowerment and autoimmunity in American women. Defined as the immune system at war with itself by not being able to distinguish between the “good” and the “bad” cells and tissues, autoimmune diseases are afflicting millions.  According to the Autoimmune Association, there are over 100 autoimmune diseases on record, none with known cures, and women consistently receive 80% percent of the total diagnoses.

“During a relapse of my Hashimoto’s disease in 2019, I began researching my own health and empowerment origin stories, and patterns emerged,” says Sara Hirsh Bordo, Women Rising founder. “Many of us were raised as “good girls,” conditioned to suppress and betray our own needs for the good of others. We weren’t conditioned to recognize ourselves and perhaps our immune systems began telling the same story. I wanted to study empowerment, and the lack thereof, as a potential missing modality in women’s health— in hopes of supporting other women like me.”

“This survey is a call to action for allies and the medical community alike, inviting us to listen, learn, and advocate for a more equitable healthcare landscape for women,” says Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th Surgeon General of the United States. “Lifting up women will affect health outcomes for them and their families. We are fortunate that Sara has taken on this exploration to inform us all on these gender dynamics of empowerment and health.”

In Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls” ™ out of total women screened, nearly a quarter of the 2,525 had been diagnosed with at least one autoimmune disease. Utilizing the industry leading ACE Questionnaire * (Adverse Childhood Experiences) as a comparative, Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls,” ™ found that 80% of women with autoimmune disease diagnoses reported at least one adverse childhood experience and 47% surveyed reported at least four ACE experiences. This is compared to 64% of average U.S. women reporting at least one ACE experience and only 19% having at least 4 – according to the most recent CDC-Kaiser ACE Study.

*The CDC-Kaiser Permanente adverse childhood experiences (ACE) study is one of the largest investigations of childhood abuse and neglect and household challenges and later-life health and well-being.

Fielded by the independent research firm Proof Insights, Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls” ™ surveyed 2,525 U.S. general population women 18 or older to reach 1,000 women who have received at least one autoimmune disease diagnosis. The sample of women screened into the survey aligns demographically with the U.S. census across age, region, ethnicity, income, marital status and presence of children in the household.

Women Rising researched beyond single event occurrences to broader, gender-specific, girlhood differences, including possible conditioned identities as the caretaker or the dutiful, “good girl.”

Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls” ™ key findings include:

Adverse Girlhood Insights:
-More than 6 in 10 women diagnosed with autoimmune disease were either the oldest or only daughter in their families and 52% of women diagnosed say their girlhood role involved being their family caretaker.

-50% of women diagnosed with autoimmune disease say they felt a connection between being a “good girl” and feeling loved in addition to 49% of women diagnosed saying they had difficulty understanding and expressing their wants and needs.

-44% of women with autoimmune disease said they felt the weight of responsibility of to manage the emotional well-being of others including parents.

-Nearly half of women with autoimmune disease said as a girl they identified with a heightened responsibility for others’ well-being and felt they were forced to grow up too fast.

Adverse Womanhood Insights:
-Childhood caretakers may become autoimmune-diagnosed women who are uncomfortable receiving the care they need. 87% suppress their needs and wants because they are more comfortable being responsible for others.

-Childhood caretakers may become autoimmune-diagnosed women who deprioritize themselves and their needs. 84% find it uncomfortable to receive help, compliments, or generosity and 73% say putting themselves last and others first is a pattern they wish they could change but are not sure how.

-Childhood caretakers may become autoimmune-diagnosed women who live in fear of disappointing others. 79% say they fear disappointing others and 47% say they quiet their voice to not disappoint their doctors.

-Childhood caretakers may become autoimmune-diagnosed women who are unable to self-prioritize. Only 55% started putting themselves first after receiving their diagnosis.

Visit this link to download the free Key Findings pdf of Autoimmunity and the “Good Girls” ™ or to purchase the Full Report.

Women Rising® is an 11x award-winning empowerment and media company, founded by former Hollywood executive, Sara Hirsh Bordo. With documentary films addressing women and girls’ issues including the SXSW-winning “A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story,” “ProtectHer,” and “Tightly Wound.” Women Rising’s events include TEDxAustin Women, the 2017 Women’s March of Texas, the Official Women in Football Party at Super Bowl LIII, Prevention Magazine’s R3 Health and Wellness Summit, and The United State of Women Summit, headlined by Michelle Obama. With strategy and storytelling work for clients including TOYOTA, ESPN, Warner Bros’ WONDER WOMAN franchise, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, and ConnectHER International Film Festival, Women Rising’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, People Magazine, and The Washington Post. www.womenrising.com

PROOF Insights is a research and insights firm based in Frederick, MD since 1989. For over 30 years they have worked with some of the world’s greatest brands, including The New York Times, People Magazine, Sony, and Marvel to gather insights and provide strategic recommendations about their target market and consumers. www.proofinsights.com 

Media Contact:
Caroline Andoscia

SOURCE Women Rising