Learned helplessness gives people a feeling that they have no control, whether it be in certain situations or life in general. Quite a bit of research has been conducted on the topic and some believe that depression and other mental illnesses result from learned helplessness.
Learned helplessness can contribute to other health issues resulting from a poor diet and loss of exercise (many times triggered by depression).
When we are looking at specifically women, I think it is important to think of this from a cultural point of view as well. Women are raised differently in different parts of the world. I believe that some cultures raise women to grow up to be helpless and dependent on men while others raise their daughters to be strong independent women.
"Learned helplessness, as a technical term in animal psychology and related human psychology, means a condition of a human being or an animal in which it has learned to behave helplessly, even when the opportunity is restored for it to help itself by avoiding an unpleasant or harmful circumstance to which it has been subjected."
One factor that leads to learned helplessness in women is the dependence learned from childhood. Many cultures teach women to rely on others for their safety, income, and happiness. This type of nurturing leads to learned helplessness. If we are always looked after and taken care of we will never learn to do for ourselves. This type of upbringing teaches women to fear independence and self sustainability.
I have to agree with the previous editor that learned helplessness is to be applied to the way in which women have become helpless. However, I also have to add that social restrictions also create an aura of helplessness that restricts women from further developing. In America women have had more opportunities for growth, but there is still left the thought process that certain things in our society are considered to be a "man's job."
Men have suffered a blow to their ego with the emergence of woman in the role of men's jobs, but the population of women taking in leadership roles in math, science, and businesses is still below the average for men. I do have to add though that many men are quite comfortable and accepting of women as coworkers. This reverts back to socialization and the way in which women are socialized. There has been progress in this area, but it will still take a long time before the statistics will show an equal balance among women and men in the fields of science, medicine, businesses, and math.