women

Left-to-right: David Fritze, Nicole Washington, Roxanne Hinther, Janet Cizek
Oklahoma Watch

Women in Oklahoma face often unique mental-health challenges in different life situations – whether incarcerated, suffering from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, or dealing with severe anxiety as a professional or parent.

At an Oklahoma Watch-Out forum in Tulsa May 21, three experts talked about issues ranging from incarcerated women and trauma to postpartum depression and both the cultural and biological factors of mental health.

A decade-old beating haunted Nikki Frazier while she served time in prison.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

In her dorm at Dr. Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft, anxiety attacks used to waken Nikki Frazier in the middle of the night. For about an hour she would sit on her bed, shaking, sweaty and nauseous.

“It would feel like I was having a heart attack,” Frazier said. “It was just a big ball of weight in my chest, and it was so bad.”

Frazier could point to one source of her anxiety: In 2005, she got into a dispute with her then-husband, and he kicked her repeatedly in the face with steel-toed boots, for which he was later convicted. Six years later, a doctor cited the beating in diagnosing Frazier with post-traumatic stress disorder, severe anxiety and depression.

Serving a prison sentence for forging checks, Frazier suffered attacks for months until she was able to see a psychiatrist and get on a different medication. But she said she could never truly calm her anxiety until she was released in February. She gained control over her life and began receiving one-on-one counseling.

Frazier’s mental-health struggles reflect those of hundreds of women in Oklahoma prisons.

Oklahoma Women Suffer PTSD

Oklahoma Watch obtained detailed data on mental health diagnoses for men and women in prison from the state Department of Corrections and found dramatic differences in their conditions.

According to the data – a snapshot in late March – nearly 60 percent of female inmates show signs of mental illness, about twice the percentage of male inmates. A total of 3,104 women and 25,620 men were in the corrections system at the time.

Women also suffer disproportionately from depression – 64 percent versus 59 percent of men.

But the most striking difference occurs with trauma disorders. PTSD is the second most common mental illness among incarcerated women, with about one in five showing symptoms, or five times the rate for men.

Women stand in a circle, holding hands and singing "Make New Friends." Their children stand beside them. These powerful scenes are part of a documentary called Women Behind Bars: The Voices of Oklahoma’s Incarcerated Women and Their Children.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss President Obama’s recent trip to India, and this week’s legislative elections in Greece that saw huge left-wing parliamentary gains and a new coalition government.

Then University of New Hampshire historian Nicoletta Gullace discusses her work tracing how changing turn-of-the-century gender roles led to women's increased participation in war activities.

Two nurses tend to wounded inside an ambulance-train ward, France, during World War I. Ambulance trains were used in the main to transport large groups of soldiers to the French coast so that they could return to England for treatment.
David McLellan / National Library of Scotland

The demands of two world wars and changing gender roles opened the way for women to gain more rights as citizens in the United States and Britain.

Before the 20th century, women in the United States and Britain couldn’t vote in national elections and generally weren’t seen as key players in war efforts. With the professionalization of military nursing during the Crimean War, women’s participation in war efforts grew and paved the way for women’s heavy involvement between 1914 and 1918.

The Southwest Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

A recent study shows Oklahoma women among the lowest full-time average earnings in the nation.

On the low end of the scale, Oklahoma and Louisiana women had average earnings of $591 per week, compared to Massachusetts at $900 per week, the state with the highest median earnings.

The information is found in The Southwest Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Women’s Earnings in Oklahoma – 2013.

Move Over Barbie, Here Comes Madame Curie

Sep 3, 2014

Two young women who studied engineering at the University of Illinois want to inspire girls to become scientists by offering dolls based on real people, like Nobel Prize-winning chemist and physicist Marie Curie.

Janna Eaves and Supriya Hobbs founded the Miss Possible company to offer an alternative to Barbie or American Girl dolls.

Visnu Pitiyanuvath / Flickr.com

Oklahoma has been ranked the sixth worst state in the U.S. for women's equality.

Wallethub.com released its 2014 list of best and worst states for gender equality on Monday. The personal finance social network complied data from the census and various federal agencies.

The website used 10 primary metrics such as average life expectancies and the gap in the number of male and female business executives.

Margo Wright / Wikimedia Commons

A group of women who have held public office in Oklahoma say it is important for more women to become involved in politics.

At a meeting of the Norman Chamber of Commerce on Friday, the women set aside politics to underscore the need to add women's opinions and viewpoints to the public debate.

Former Lt. Gov. Jari Askins says state decisions that impact families need to have a female perspective.

State Rep. Leslie Osborn says there is no glass ceiling at the Legislature, but that not enough women are running for office.

prison bars
mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

A plan to target Oklahoma's highest-in-the-nation female incarceration rate with a prison diversion pilot program in Tulsa has unanimously passed the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate voted Wednesday for the bill by Republican Sen. Kim David of Porter that targets women convicted of drug or other nonviolent crimes. David says female offenders first must enter a plea of guilty, which a judge can withhold and waive if the woman completes the 12-to-18-month program.

Pages