Stunning Women Who Made History Despite Their Disabilities


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A mid adult African-American woman in her 30s in a wheelchair outdoors, in the city, smiling at the camera. She has spina bifida.

For some women, this was their only option, yet for ages, women have been shaping history. Either live your life as others expected of you or fight for the life you and all other disabled people deserved, especially for women with impairments.

Every person who has a handicap can attest to having experienced prejudice at least once in their lifetime. There are many systemic ways that work to make things difficult for people with disabilities and deny them the opportunities to share their talents and insights with the world, such as figuring out how to get into a building without adequate mobility accommodations or getting ignored on Tinder after someone finds out about your disability. We looked into the lives and contributions of some handicapped women who shaped our society in honor of Women’s History Month to serve as a reminder of the gratitude we should all have for people with various impairments and backgrounds. Jillian Mercadog highlighted here, including Dr. Maya Ange. Judy Heumann Gordon, Jillian Mercado, Stella Young, and Judy Stella Younge are all examples of accomplished women who have imgordoned Claudia for everyone by making significant medical Maya Angelou engages in activism, politics, and writing.

Senator Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth, the junior U.S. Senator from Illinois since 2017, has distinguished herself by achieving several firsts: she was the first female helicopter pilot to command a combat mission, the first Iraq War double amputee, the first Thai-American woman elected to Congress, the first woman with a disability, and the first senator to give birth while in office. A fearless trailblazer who always maintains a sense of humor, Duckworth has advanced her political career by presenting many laws that support the needs of working parents.

Is she ready for a big yes?

Jillian Mercado

Jillian Mercado is among the first models with a physical impairment to be signed. She searched for other models who needed wheelchairs but was unable to locate any when she began to think of modeling as her dream job. Models with any form of physical disability are quite rare.
Mercado attended an open casting call around four years ago, which ultimately transformed her life and the modeling profession. She was signed by IMG Models a year after being recruited for a Diesel Jeans advertising campaign. Since then, she has been in Target ads and has been included in BeyoncĂ©’s Formation tour clothing campaign.

Judy Heumann

Judy Heumann decided she had to make a difference after seeing how cruel the world might be when she was sent home from elementary school for being a “fire hazard.” When the Board of Education originally rejected her license, she went on to become the first person in a wheelchair to teach in New York City. Heumann filed a discrimination lawsuit after learning that her denial was solely due to concerns about her ability to assist a pupil in need or use the restroom on her own. She was successful in her lawsuit, and she continued to teach for three years.

After teaching, she rose to the position of assistant secretary of education for special education and rehabilitative services in the United States. Currently, she serves as a special adviser for international disability rights at the State Department.

Stella Young

Stella Young took over the media in an attempt to mainstream disability; she presented No Limits, Australia’s first TV program focused on disability culture, published articles, ran an online magazine, and had her own comedy show. Even in 2014, she gave a TEDx lecture titled “I’m Not Your Inspiration, Thank You Very Much.”
Through her TEDx lecture, she popularized the idea of “inspiration porn” to millions of people. It occurs when people see individuals with disabilities as “living, breathing, feel-good memes.” As strange as it may seem, it happens frequently: while going about their everyday business, a person with a handicap will often hear someone call them an inspiration.

Claudia Gordon

In addition to working with former President Obama to address national disability concerns, Claudia Gordon is enacting improvements in Washington, D.C. Gordon has fought for the rights of the deaf and disabled communities in all of her professional endeavors. She has held positions at the National Council on Disability, the National Coalition for Disability Rights, and Homeland Security, where she oversaw the government’s implementation of emergency plans for the disabled.
Above all, she is the first deaf student to graduate from American University’s law school and the first black deaf lawyer in America.

Dr. Maya Angelou

Although you may be familiar with her name, it’s likely that you were unaware of her upbringing due to a handicap. Yes, it is correct! The poet who wrote all of your favorite poetry, Dr. Maya Angelou, had a secret condition.
Her mother’s lover mistreated and sexually raped her when she was a youngster. He was found guilty, freed, and later discovered dead when she notified someone about it. She had trauma from being sexually assaulted and believed that by speaking out, her attacker would die. This led to the development of selective mutism, an anxiety illness that makes a kid hardly speak at all under certain circumstances. For Angelou, this meant a five-year period of total silence.
She was one of the most significant black women in history and made great life lessons out of her hardships.
I have the utmost gratitude for Angelou and the other ladies, especially being a disabled woman. They have influenced my current life and taught us that we must persevere through any challenges life may throw at us. These ladies prevailed in their battle for the life they desired. Let’s now all follow their lead and leave our imprint on the planet.


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