Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Wellness > Mental Health

Facts You May Not Know About Women with Autism

Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

As a neurodivergent woman who is learning more about autism and how it affects everyone differently, I think it is important to talk about how autism affects women because autistic women are more likely to be misdiagnosed and to receive a late autism diagnosis compared to autistic men, and are often misrepresented in the autism community. With this being said, it would only be appropriate to share some facts about autism in women. Here are some facts that I personally can relate to as a woman with an autism diagnosis and facts that stand out to me:

1. Women with autism tend to mask more than men with autism

Fulfilling the gender expectations for women such as smiling, making eye contact with others, and appearing to be approachable and friendly is often challenging for autistic women. It is because of these gender expectations that autistic women tend to mask their symptoms such as not making eye contact, having flat expressions, and stimming to fit in with the general population. On the other hand, men with autism tend to mask their symptoms less because their symptoms such as flat expressions and showing a lot of emotion are in alignment with male gender expectations. Compared to their male counterparts, autistic women tend to mask more because their symptoms are less accepted by society and don’t align with the female gender expectations. 

2. AUtistic women are at higher risk for developing mood disorders

Due to women with autism being more likely to mask their symptoms, they are also more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as suicidal ideation compared to men with autism. Autistic women being more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation is thought to stem from greater amounts of masking and feeling like they don’t fit in with other neurotypical people. 

3. it can be more difficult for autistic women to form relationships with others

Because autistic women often have difficulty detecting or understanding social cues that signal romantic interest, like, or dislike, it may be difficult for them to form friendships or romantic relationships with other people. In addition to struggling to detect and understand social cues, autistic women may also struggle with reciprocating interest or emotions in conversations with others which may lead to them being perceived as rude or not interested. Difficulty with understanding social cues can not only lead to misunderstandings with other people but can also lead to women with autism not understanding what they did to offend the other person if that person is upset with them.

4. autistic women are more likely to be victims of Sexual harassment compared to neurotypical women

Having difficulty understanding social cues given off by other people can increase the risk of autistic women falling victim to sexual harassment and rape. Specifically, autistic women may have difficulty with detecting social cues that signal danger or that a person may have bad intentions with them. Compared to non-autistic women, a study found that women with autism were three times as likely to have been sexually abused. In addition to these findings, the same study also found identical twins with autism were more likely to report sexual abuse than fraternal twins. 

Are there any facts about women with autism that I missed? Let us know at Her Campus CWU. 

XOXO Her Campus

Hi there! I am third-year student at CWU majoring in psychology with a minor in theatre arts. In my spare time, I enjoy baking, reading, singing, and exercising.