Thinking Differently: Autistic and ADHD Women and Girls

Our campaign seeks to raise awareness of Autism and ADHD in women and girls and to take action to improve the diagnosis process.

Thinking Differently campaign logo


Autistic Spectrum Condition (ASC) is the medical name for autism. Autism is a lifelong developmental condition which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a condition that affects people's behaviour.

Although the main components of Autism and ADHD are different, they can share some of the same symptoms and presenting issues.

Historically, ASC and ADHD have been recognised as mainly affecting men and boys resulting in women and girls being overlooked or misdiagnosed.

According to the National Autistic Society, men and boys are three times more likely than women and girls to be diagnosed as autistic. ADHD can present differently in girls. Boys are more often described as ‘hyperactive’ while girls are more often described as ‘inattentive’ or as a combination of inattentive and hyperactive.

Women and girls are often better at masking or camouflaging their difficulties. In general, they engage in more “internalising” behaviour than boys, meaning they tend to take their problems out on themselves rather than others. According to the National Autistic Society’s Centre for Autism, professionals often don’t recognise and understand the different ways autism can manifest in women and girls.

Neurodevelopmental specialists and clinical psychologists highlight that autism and ADHD symptoms in women can often be misunderstood and misdiagnosed by medical professionals, mistaking them for stress, anxiety, or another related condition.

How you can get involved

  1. Download our campaign action pack to learn more about our campaign.
  2. Share your experience: We’d like to hear from those with personal or professional experience of autism and/or ADHD, including late diagnosis. If you would like to be contacted by us so you can share your experience, please email us at and we can provide further details about what is involved. No information about your experiences will be shared further or stored without your consent and you can also remain anonymous if you wish to.
  3. Have your views heard in our Spring 2023 survey: the aim of the survey is to gather the views and experiences of autistic and ADHD women and girls. If you would like to get involved please get in touch at

If you are a WI Member or Supporter Plus, we have more ways to get involved on My WI. Find out more here.