Everywhere I turn these days, I encounter a new focus on the empowered woman. There is one notable area within this subject that is sometimes overlooked. That is the independence, empowerment and relevance of the woman with a disability.
Disability issues came to the forefront when our country took the lead with the American with Disabilities Act. Now corporations of all sizes are mobilizing to accommodate and hire people with various disabilities – seeking to bring the rate of hire equal to that of the general population. There is still work to be done, but Work Without Limits Sponsors and Massachusetts Business Leadership Network (MABLN) members are perfect examples of these types of disability inclusive employers.
Women and girls of all ages may face barriers to equality, but women with disabilities can be more vulnerable and further marginalized. As a result, they often face greater barriers to both social and professional opportunities. As I have watched women with disabilities navigate these barriers, I have learned a lot from them throughout my life’s journey.
I have appreciated their optimism and goal setting and learned from their self-confidence and security with body image. I have been emboldened by their aggressiveness in job seeking and the demand for inclusiveness. Their push to learn and be educated, to have families and jobs and growing responsibilities, to participate in sports, and command a presence excites and motivates me!
Whether she has spina bifida, multiple sclerosis, Down syndrome or depression, women with disabilities are having children, working, playing active sports, and participating as proud leaders in their communities.
Women with disabilities wear trendy clothes, obtain doctorate degrees, party with friends, water ski, and jump out of airplanes. Women with disabilities multitask, drive cars, invent, use technology and lead companies.
Disability Images works only with real people who have authentic disabilities. We demonstrate a positive, engaged lifestyle that shows women, and men, who are strong in mind, body and soul. I continue to be energized by all the people I meet, but especially by women with disabilities.