Nowadays there are a lot of talks about violation of women’s and disabled people’s rights. But these 8 ladies don’t give a damn about such an old-fashioned stereotypes. They are too busy with running this world.

Liz Carr

That’s true that lives of disabled people are full of hardships and aren’t funny at all. But there is a disabled lady who turns such a sore point as disability into irony. Sometimes the audience doesn’t know how to react when she uses words like “crip” and “spaz” on the stage. Liz Carr, the 45-old British comedian with the rare diagnosis “Arthrogryposis multiplex congenital”, which causes the deformation of limbs and affects muscular tissue and joints, calls her shows “Sit down stand ups”. Due to her disease she is standupping in a wheelchair. “It’s not some sort of pious, ‘Hey, well, we’re disabled and very serious. A lot of people say: ‘Are you trying to be controversial?’ And we say, ‘No, we’re not. We are just being ourselves”, Carr explained in her interview to “The Guardian” concerning the questions about disabled people in comedy industry. Liz is not only a comedian, but also an actress and international disability rights activist. For the past 20 years she has been disability rights campaigner in the UK, in 2008 she joined American disability rights group ADAPT and protested against presidential candidate John McCain’s who refused to support the right of disabled people to live in their own homes. In 2013, she joined the long-running BBC crime thriller series Silent Witness as regular character Clarissa Mullery.

 

Alice Wong

Some societies are avoiding talks about “non-standard” people and by blenching their problems make them “invisible” for communities. American activist and journalist Alice Wong gives disabled people a chance to speak up. Wong is the founder of the project called “Disability Visibility”, that encourages disabled people to  StoryCorps  and record their oral histories that will be archived at the Library of Congress and creates different media from those stories: essays, radio programmes and reports. By providing online spaces for public discussions and organising a network for disabled people, Disability Visibility helps to connect and to attract the attention to the issues of ‘special’ people.  Furthermore, in 2016 Alice Wong co-founded a campaign #CripTheVote that aims to get politicians and citizens more involved and invested in disability problems. For her leadership on behalf of the disability community, Wong received the Mayor’s Disability Council Beacon Award in 2010, the first-ever Chancellor’s Disability Service Award in 2010, 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award at UCSF and met the former President of USA Obama via robot at White House in 2015.

 

Jillian Mercado

Fashion and beauty industries are the spheres where the standards are the most strict: height, weight, body parameters, face traits… Stop. Does it really matter in modern, tolerant societies? There is a “unique model” and fashion historian and lifestyle blogger Jillian Mercado with muscular dystrophy, 29 years old. Since 2014 she has been inspiring not only girls with disabilities all around the world, but also brands to attract “unique models” to their fashion campaigns. During her career she fights with the lack of disabled people in the beauty and fashion industry their enduring stigma. After a successful participation in fashion campaign of Diesel brand, she sign a contract with IMG Models agency. In March 2016, Mercado was announced as one of three models to appear in the latest campaign for Beyoncé’s website, promoting merchandise for the singer’s new single.

 

Simi Linton

Disabled people, as a special ones, need to be represented in the complex studies of society.  Simi Linton is a writer, public speaker, activist and the researcher in the field of disability studies with the significant academic background: she has a Ph.D in in Counseling Psychology and was teaching at New York University and  in the Department of Educational Foundations and Counseling Programs at Hunter College. She was injured in a car accident and now a is wheelchair user. And now she is “teaching” and inspiring people through her books. “Claiming Disability” and “My Body politics”, where she writes discusses discrimination in favor of able-bodied people, are must read for everyone who has any prejudiced about disabled people. In 2014 Linton  co-directed documentary Invitation to Dance. The most of her speeches focus of art sphere: she gives advices to movie producers, TV, museums on how to become more “inclusive” and to increase the disability representation in different forms of art.

 

Yetnebersh Nigussie

“There are a lot of assumptions about people with disabilities; many people think about the one disability and forget about the 99 abilities a disabled person has”, says Yetnebersh Nigussie, a lawyer and disability rights activist from Ethiopia, in the interview to “The Guardian”. She lost her eyesight when she at the age of five. She is blind, but her heart is not.  Now, at the age of 35 she worked with the number of issues concerning disabled persons’ rights and fights for inclusive education. During her life she joined more than 20 organizations as a volunteer, chaired the Ethiopian National Association of the Blind Women’s Wing from 2003 to 2007. Later she founded Ethiopian Center for Disability and Development, that promotes the inclusion of disabled people in eductional and development programs. Since 2016 she is working with non-profit organization “Light for the World”, that aims to provide inclusive education and defends disabled people’s rights in African region.

 

Lydia Brown

The youngest in our list, Lydia Brown is only 24 years old, but by this age she has already done a lot to improve the lives of autistically disabled people. Since she entered the Georgetown University, she has been defending disabled students on campus: she wrote a city guide to resources for students with disabilities, designed a proposal for a Disability Cultural Center on campus, organized a Twitter chat by Georgetown students with disabilities, and organized a Lecture & Performance Series on Disability Justice that featured talks with disability activists. Not a typical school life, isn’t it?

In 2014 Lydia recieved awarded with Empowering the Future Youth Activist Award for their work with the Washington Metro Disabled Students Collective and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. A year later, in 2015, she was included into a list of Top Thinkers Under 30 in the Social Sciences by Pacific Standard and included on Mic’s inaugural list of “the next generation of impactful leaders, cultural influencers, and breakthrough innovators.”  Is it really how disability looks like?

 

Vilissa Thompson

Vilissa Thompson has propelled disability rights activism to the next level of tolerance: by launching a hashtag #DisabilityTooWhite she claimed that it is shameful that the leaders of disabled people communities are mostly whites. As a black disabled lady, she righted the ship. Vilissa is a life coach, motivational speaker and licensed master social worker. She founded the project “Ramp Your Voice!”, an organization that focuses on strengthening empowerment for disabled people, especially people of color. As a disabled lady of color herself, she shares her life experience trough public motivational talks and social networks and tales from the women she has encountered during her activist’s work.

 

Silvia Quan

Silvia Quan, a lawyer and disabled rights defender from Guatemala faced discrimination when she acquired visual impairment in her studenthood. When she tried to find a job, she was always rejected even without an interview: none of the employers wanted to hire a blind woman. Since that she decided to promote inclusivity ideas for disabled people and to rise the level of awareness about abilities of disabled persons among different organizations in Guatemala. “I would like people with disabilities not seen with pity, but as equal participants in society”, – Quan said in her interview to “The Guardian”. After 20 years of activism and being a member of such international organisations as Latin American Network of Nongovernmental Organisations of Disabled People and their Families (RIADIS), Disability Rights Fund (DRF), she became an independent expert in the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where she was elected as a vice president for 2015-2016.

Of course, there are more than 8 of them. But isn’t it true that these ladies proved to have more abilities than some people who are literally abled ones?

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