March 8th is International Womxns Day, and we are so excited to celebrate this very exciting day with all of you! In order to celebrate, we thought we'd draw attention to 5 incredible women with disabilities that have made history. There are so many amazing women that have made incredible strides in history, and if we were to try to name all of them I think we would run out of room in this post, but let us know if you want to see a part 2 to this post!
Senator Tammy Duckworth
Senator Duckworth is a name everyone should know. Her list of accomplishments is nothing short of incredible. She is an American politician and a retired Army National Guard lieutenant colonel serving as the junior United States Senator from Illinois since 2017. Her successful career started long before she became senator, when she became the first female helicopter pilot to lead a combat mission. She then became the first double amputee of the Iraq war, but that didn't slow her down at all. She went on to become the first Thai-American woman and the first woman with a disability elected to Congress. She continued her line of firsts when she became the first senator to give birth in office. Needless to say, Senator Tammy Duckworth is the definition of a trailblazer. We cannot to see what firsts she makes next.
Hannah Cockroft is a disabled gold-medal winning Paralympian. She's a 10 times world champion for Paralympic wheelchair racing. Hannah has cerebral palsy, she suffered two cardiac arrests within 48 hours of her birth which affected two parts of her brain. This left her with balance, mobility, and fine motor impairment. Clearly this hasn't held Hannah back, because she's continued her streak of success at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio where she won three gold medals. We look forward to seeing Hannah compete again.
Stella Young was an Australian comedian, journalist, and disability rights activist. Stella was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, and used a wheelchair for most of her life. She held a variety fo jobs, starting as an editor for an online magazine, then working for ABC. Eventually she gave a TEDxSydney Talk in 2014 and her career took off. Her famous quote from her talk will be referenced for a very long time: 'I'm not your inspiration, thank you very much'. Her talk was centered around 'inspiration porn', and she was really the one that introduced the concept to mainstream media. She showed the world in her own hilarious way about the disability experience, and inspired millions of other disabled women. Stella passed away in 2014, and her impact on the disabled community will never be forgotten.
Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see some disabled models walking the runway in well known designer shows. However, when Jillian Mercado began her career, it was not. As a wheelchair user, Jillian struggled greatly to find anyone in the industry that had similar aspirations to her. She had to pave her own way in the fashion industry, and she did it with passion. Her career changed when she was hired for a Diesel Jeans ad campaign, and a year later was signed by IMG Models. Now, she works with Beyonce on her merchandise campaign and even on her tour, and she's also worked with major retailers such as target. Jillian Mercado is an incredibly hardworking model who has built her own way into the industry, and paved the way for millions of other women.
You may recognize Ally's last name because of her father, fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger. You may also know that Tommy Hilfiger was inspired to create an entire line of adaptive clothing because of his daughter's unique needs. However, you may not know that Ally herself is a woman on a mission to change the world for the better and make it more accessible. Ally suffers from Chronic Lyme Disease, but hasn't let that interfere with her goals, but rather guide them. She's used her platform for good, writing books on her diagnosis process and journey, and speaking with others about living with a disability.