Everyone’s heard or read about Kate Spade’s suicide. It’s just horrible. And while I couldn’t possibly speak as to the particulars of her case, I’m wondering if, in a larger context, feminism has some answering to do for the spike in female suicides.
According to Julie Phillips, a sociologist at Rutgers University, the spike in the suicide rate among women can be traced back to about 2000. The rate is highest today for women aged 45 to 64 who lack a college degree, which might be the result of weakened social interactions among Baby Boomers, experts say.
Karen Swartz is the clinical director of the John Hopkins Mood Disorders Center, where she researches people who are working through depression and bipolar disorder and helps train teachers at high schools, who often reach out to her in the aftermath of a tragic high school suicide.
She, too, has seen a noticeable uptick in the past decade of suicide among women. While both men and women have seen increases in suicide, the most recent report on suicide rates in the United States by the Centers for Disease Control indicated that female suicide rates have spiked. “Suicide rates for females were highest for those aged 45–64 in both 1999 (6.0 per 100,000) and 2014 (9.8). This age group also had the second-largest percent increase (63%) since 1999,” the report says.
The CDC reported recently that the suicide rate is up 63% for women aged 45-65 and up 200% for girls aged 10-14.
In this day and age when feminism has fundamentally transformed our culture in myriad ways including abortion access, contraception, and more women in the workplace, it’s troubling that suicide among women is skyrocketing. Women are working more outside the home. They’re marrying later. Having fewer children.
And they’re less happy. But that doesn’t matter to feminism. They’re just collateral damage in the great fight to break the glass ceiling. Heck, they might even be pleased that male suicides and female suicides are reaching parity. Because remember, it’s not about saving lives. It’s about equality.