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Speech - Women and Mental Health

            Hello Oprah and audience; thank you very much for having me today. I am here to provide you with some information about women's mental health in the US. Using a developmental framework, I will discuss with you three specific life cycles from a woman's life: childhood, adolescence and adulthood childbearing years; which will help you all have a better understanding of the complexity surrounding the female identity. In my talk I will be discussing psychological phenomena and disorders that are particularly prevalent among females as well as overview how sociocultural views and expectations have influenced and continue to influence today the mental health of women; affecting their overall physical and psychological well-being.
             It is important to learn about these issues so that we are able to find ways to lessen the psychological damage that is caused to women and find ways to improve their quality of life. First of all, may I ask how many of you grew up listening to stereotypes that praised boys over girls in the classroom? May I see a show of hands if any of you ever questioned your academic competence as a child? Well, I assume many of you have; at least I did. Growing up is hard, especially in a society where strong gender segregation is prevalent. There is always this gap between the male and female genders; where one gender is idolized and the other marginalized. The female gender in this case i unfortunately the disadvantaged one. Sadly, females begin to experience the hardships of these downgrading stereotypes as young as being a couple of years old. Research suggests that beginning in 3 rd grade on, in comparison to boys, competence belief declines in girls. I will make a personal reference to this argument, so that you.
             can see how powerful it is. .
             So, I attended a very small "private" school back in the Dominican Republic; the country I was born and grew up in. For some reason, every grade from 1 st to 7th was always dominated by boys.

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