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Empowering Women with Disabilities

Talented Women with Disabilities

black and white headshot of Maya Angelou wearing hoop earings Ariella Barker in front of a tree and bushes. Ariella is a wheelchair user Simone Biles holding her gold medal at the Olympics Selma Blair in front of a white background
Maya Angelou
Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist Who Had Disability, Inspires Generations
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Ariella Barker
This Women’s History Month, I Remember the #MeToo Survivors with Disabilities
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Simone Biles
Olympic & Disability Champion Makes History While Mesmerizing Many
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Selma Blair
Positive Role Model for Success for Individuals with Acquired Disabilities
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Barbara Corcoran pointing toward the camera wearing a blue top and silver necklace Lois Curtis smiling Haben Girma wearing a blue dress and pearls Lori Golden smiling sitting on a leather chair
Barbara Corcoran
Shark Tank Entrepreneur and Business Owner Proves Dyslexics Can Be Successful
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Lois Curtis
Woman with Mental and Intellectual Disabilities Fights for Freedom For All
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Haben Girma
Deafblind Civil Rights Lawyer Advocates for Disability Rights in Media
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Lori Golden
Self-Advocate and Trailblazer in Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
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Selena Gomez wearing a white blouse with a cherry print posing for the camera with a yellow background Salma Hayek wearing a blue top with her hand under her chin smiling for the camera Cami Howe smiling, leaning back in her wheelchair Frida Kahlo black and white headshot
Selena Gomez
Prioritizing Health, Serving as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities
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Salma Hayek
Sharing Story of Dyslexia, Serving as Role Model for Latina Woman with Disabilities
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Cami Howe
Strong Independent Woman Who Doesn’t Need A Knight in Shining Armor
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Frida Kahlo
Through Art, Role Model for Artists, People with Disabilities and Bisexual Women
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Emily Kranking smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner Janet LaBreck smiling in front of an American flag Andrea Lausell leaning against a staircase railing in front of a wall Tatiana Lee in a wheelchair wearing a pink jacket smiling
Emily Kranking
A Cute But Determined Girl with Cerebral Palsy: Believe It! #DisabledandCute
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Janet LaBreck
Successful Pioneer of Change and Role Model for African American Women with Disabilities
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Andrea Lausell
Disability Pride & Hispanic Heritage Pride as One
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Tatiana Lee
Changing Media Perceptions of Disability, one Modeling Job at a Time
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Filmmaker Diana Romero In A Wheelchair Dressed In All Black Cristina Sanz wearing a blue top A portrait of Harriet Tubman Donna Walton wearing hear in a bun and pearl necklace and earrings
Diana Romero
Award-Winning Producer with Multiple Sclerosis Continues to Find Success in Hollywood
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Cristina Sanz
First Hispanic with a Disability to Win an Emmy Award, Shatters Stigmas
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Harriet Tubman
Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist with Epilepsy and TBI, Inspires Generations
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Donna Walton
Creates Nationwide Movement of Representation with Divas With Disabilities
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Headshot of Kaity in professional dress in front of the Respectability banner
At the Intersection of Deafness, Queerness and Being an Asian-American Woman
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News You Can Use

Women’s Disability Leadership, Inclusion & Advocacy Resources

The Women’s Disability Leadership, Inclusion & Advocacy Resources below are from a six-part training series that RespectAbility developed and implemented for women with disabilities, with support from New York Women’s Foundation and the Coca-Cola Foundation; and thanks to our fully accessible, gracious hosts: Guttman Community College (for five of the six trainings) and Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan (for the sixth training). Its two goals were:

  1. To upskill and empower women with disabilities, preparing them to bring their unique lens to civic life (e.g., becoming volunteers, board members, or employees for nonprofits and government agencies). By advancing their civic engagement, together we advance equity and inclusion in their communities and overall city that they call home.
  2. To build community among the attendees.

While each training was uniquely designed to be most relevant to its target audience/participants, there were five components that, for nearly all trainings, remained consistent:

  1. A noteworthy female keynote speaker and/or panelists who addressed the overall topic, relevant research, mental health advocacy, self-disclosure in the workplace, a Q&A, and sometimes sprinkled with live music. (This ‘frontal component’ was covered as a webinar and/or FB livestreamed. Video coverage shut down after the final Q&A, to ensure the privacy of our participants for the ensuing interactive components.)
  2. Original ‘intra-active’ (self-reflection) empowerment exercises that became highly interactive, joyful empowerment exercises.
  3. Small Group Discussions, [co]facilitated by women with expertise in that particular field (e.g., Self-Advocacy and Mental Health).
  4. Civic Engagement / Volunteer Opportunities relevant to the target audience participating at each training.
  5. A closed FB Group established for each, to foster opportunities for connection among the attendees.

For more information, contact Debbie Fink, the Project Director for these trainings, at

Empowerment for Latinas with Disabilities

The spellbinding keynote speaker and self-advocate was Carol Robles-Román (former Deputy Mayor of NYC). Other dynamic Latinas – all self-advocates and allies – were presenters and facilitators for the later small group discussions (Dr. Shirley Leyro, Clarissa Ramos-Cafarelli, Jessica Palacios, Dr. Kaliris Salas-Ramirez, and Crystal Vazquez). Live music was provided by Amanda Lopez and Rebecca Muller.

The resources below were prepared for an empowerment training on this topic:

Attendees at training for latinas with disabilities smiling together

Intersectional Empowerment for Women and Girls with Disabilities

The powerful keynote speaker and self-advocate was Dr. Donna Walton: A RespectAbility board member; Founder of Divas with Disabilities; and author of Shattered Dreams, Broken Pieces. 

The resources below were prepared for an empowerment training on this topic:

Attendees at training on intersectionality smiling together

Empowerment for Mothers of Students with Disabilities

The dynamic panelists were Donna Meltzer, Michelle Grier, and Dr. Nelle Richardson, moderated by Gabby Einstein-Sim. They, along with other lively facilitators (Dr. Jordana Mendelson, Ketrina Hazell, Candace Cable, and Tatiana Lee), later facilitated small group discussions.

The resources below were prepared for an empowerment training on this topic:

Attendees at training for mothers of students with disabilities smiling together

Adding the “D” to Diversity: Enabling Foundations, Nonprofits and Partners to Include People with Disabilities

The spirited panelists were RespectAbility co-Founder and President, Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, and RespectAbility’s Inclusionists Candace Cable, Paralympian and Tatiana Lee, Award-winning actress.

The resources below were prepared for an empowerment training on this topic:

Attendees at adding the "d" to diversity training smiling together

Empowerment for Female College Students with Disabilities

The effective panelists were self-advocates and disability advocates Crystal Vazquez, Rebecca Gross, and Brilynn Rakes, moderated by Gabby Einstein-Sim. They, along with other knowledgeable college professionals in disability and community services (Valora Blackson and Maryanne Sackarnoski) later facilitated small group discussions.

The resources below were prepared for an empowerment training on this topic:

Attendees at training for college students with disabilities smiling together

Empowerment for Jewish Women with Disabilities

The bold panelists were self-advocates Dr. Danielle Sheypuk, Amy Rosenfield, and Ila Eckhoff, moderated by Rabbi Julie Schonfeld. They, and other impactful self-advocates who presented (Rachel Kunstadt and Lori Golden), along with allies Allison Kleinman and Eve Landau, later facilitated small group discussions. Live music was provided by Joanie Leeds and Debbie Fink.

The resources below were prepared for an empowerment training on this topic:

Attendees at training for jewish women with disabilities smiling together

Download Sample Handouts

Two rows of people sitting across from each other, doing speed empowerment exercises


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