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Empowering Women with Disabilities

Women with Disabilities

Baksha Ali black and white headshot of Maya Angelou wearing hoop earings Khadija Bari smiling holding a white cane Ariella Barker smiling headshot. Barker is a white woman with blonde hair down past her shoulders who uses a wheelchair
Baksha Ali
She Sees What You Cannot See
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Maya Angelou
Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist Who Had Disability, Inspires Generations
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Khadija Bari
Becoming Her Whole Self
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Ariella Barker
This Women’s History Month, I Remember the #MeToo Survivors with Disabilities
[Read More]
Halle Berry headshot smiling facing the camera with gold hoop earrings Simone Biles holding her gold medal at the Olympics Selma Blair in front of a white background La'Rina Carolina headshot smiling
Halle Berry
Living with Disability While Taking a Stand against Domestic Violence
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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
[Read More]
La’Rina Carolina
Pioneer breaking the inequality lines between deaf and hearing societies
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Barbara Corcoran pointing toward the camera wearing a blue top and silver necklace Lois Curtis smiling Andrea Dalzell wearing scrubs, smiling. Dalzell is a person of color who uses a wheelchair Sneha Dave smiling
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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Andrea Dalzell
RN Who Uses a Wheelchair Treating COVID-19 Patients in NYC
[Read More]
Sneha Dave
Super Talent Creates Network for Teens and Young Adults with Chronic Health Conditions
[Read More]
Kianna Dorsey smiling headshot on a television set Tammy Duckworth on stage smiling with the AIPAC logo behind her. Ashley Eakin smiling headshot Missy Elliot smiling for the camera, dressed in a black and white outift
KiAnna Dorsey
Sharing the stories of underrepresented communities
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Tammy Duckworth
Illinois Senator Severs as Role Model for Many
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Ashley Eakin
Changing Media Perceptions of Disability, One Film at a Time
[Read More]
Missy Elliott
‘Works it,’ Serves as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities
[Read More]
Shaina Ghuraya smiling headshot Haben Girma wearing a blue dress and pearls Whoopi Goldberg headshot wearing a gray sweater Lori Golden smiling headshot
Shaina Ghuraya
Triple Threat Creates Space for Spectacular Intersectional Stories to Grow
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Haben Girma
Deafblind Civil Rights Lawyer Advocates for Disability Rights in Media
[Read More]
Whoopi Goldberg
Talented Actress, Comedienne and Talk Show Host Lives with Dyslexia
[Read More]
Lori Golden
Self-Advocate and Trailblazer in Disability Inclusion in the Workplace
[Read More]
Selena Gomez wearing a white blouse with a cherry print posing for the camera with a yellow background Claudia Gordon smiling in front of an American flag Salma Hayek wearing a blue top with her hand under her chin smiling for the camera Ketrina Hazell smiling headshot
Selena Gomez
Prioritizing Health, Serving as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities
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Claudia Gordon
First Female Deaf Black Lawyer and Anti-Discrimination Advocate
[Read More]
Salma Hayek
Sharing Story of Dyslexia, Serving as Role Model for Latina Woman with Disabilities
[Read More]
Ketrina Hazell
“I am visible. I have worth. I can succeed.”
[Read More]
Senator Mazie Hirono inside the Capitol Cami Howe smiling leaning back in her wheelchair Andrea Jennings smiling headshot Frida Kahlo black and white headshot
Mazie Hirono
Hawaii Senator Recognized for Leadership as an Immigrant and as a Person with a Disability
[Read More]
Cami Howe
Strong Independent Woman Who Doesn’t Need A Knight in Shining Armor
[Read More]
Andrea Jennings
Black History Representation Matters in Arts Activism and Civic Leadership
[Read More]
Frida Kahlo
Through Art, Role Model for Artists, People with Disabilities and Bisexual Women
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Sophie Kim smiling headshot Solange Knowles wearing a black and yellow dress smiling for the camera Ana Kohout smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner headshot of Tonya smiling with her hair loose, wearing pearl earrings and pearl necklace wearing a white top and a light blue cardigan color photo
Sophie Jaewon Kim
14-Year-Old Korean-American Actress Paving the Way for Better On-Screen Representation
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Solange Knowles
Role Model for African American Performers with Disabilities
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Ana Kohout
Young Activist Aims to Change Beliefs About People with Disabilities
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Tonya Koslo
Cancer Survivor Who is Helping Others in Need
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Emily Kranking smiling headshot Janet LaBreck smiling in front of an American flag Kannie Yu LaPack smiling headshot Andrea Lausell leaning against a staircase railing in front of a wall
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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Kannie Yu LaPack
I Was Diagnosed With Breast Cancer—Then Coronavirus Happened
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Andrea Lausell
Disability Pride & Hispanic Heritage Pride as One
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Vanni Le smiling headshot in front of a staircase Tatiana Lee in a wheelchair wearing a pink jacket smiling Gisselle Legere headshot Laka Negassa smiling in front of the RespectAbility banner
Vanni Le
Striving To Effect Social Change and Champion Diversity and Inclusion
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Tatiana Lee
Changing Media Perceptions of Disability, one Modeling Job at a Time
[Read More]
Gisselle Legere
Deafness Gives Her a Positive Edge in the Writer’s Room
[Read More]
Laka Mitiku Negassa
Brain Injury Survivor Hopes to Support Reform of U.S. Disability Policy
[Read More]
Nelly Nieblas smiling headshot. Nieblas has a disability in her right arm. Carly Okyle headshot smiling. Okyle is white, has long brown hair and is wearing glasses. Krista Ramirez-Villatoro headshot Dr. Nelle Richardson headshot smiling
Nelly Nieblas
Making The Outsider The Insider
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Carly Okyle
The Myth of Non-Progression
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Krista Ramirez-Villatoro
Fighting for the Rights of Disabled Latinas While Also Remembering How Far We’ve Come
[Read More]
Dr. Nelle Richardson
“We are more than enough, and we are standing firmly in our truth!”
[Read More]
Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt smiling headshot Gina Rodriguez wearing a black dress, smiling Michelle Rodriguez wearing a black tank and smiling Diana Romero smiling headshot.
Ava Rigelhaupt
Yes, I’m Jewish: An AAPI Month Reflection
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Gina Rodriguez
Star of Jane the Virgin Opens Up About Her Anxiety
[Read More]
Michelle Rodriguez
Fast and Furious Actress Cites ADD as Motivation for Success
[Read More]
Diana Romero
Award-Winning Producer with Multiple Sclerosis Continues to Find Success in Hollywood
[Read More]
Cristina Sanz wearing a blue top Abigail Shaw smiling headshot Lolo Spencer smiling headshot. Lolo is a woman of color with short hair and hoop earrings Alejandra Tristan smiling headshot. Tristan is seated in her wheelchair
Cristina Sanz
First Hispanic with a Disability to Win an Emmy Award, Shatters Stigmas
[Read More]
Abigail Shaw
“You Don’t Look Blind”
[Read More]
Lauren “Lolo” Spencer
The Importance of Authentic Storytelling
[Read More]
Alejandra Tristan
Becoming Proud of Her Disabled Identity as a First-Generation American
[Read More]
A portrait of Harriet Tubman Donna Walton Lachi smiling headshot seated backwards on a chair.
Harriet Tubman
Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist with Epilepsy and TBI, Inspires Generations
[Read More]
Donna Walton
Creates Nationwide Movement of Representation with Divas With Disabilities
[Read More]
NY Music Sensation & Ardent Disability Champion
[Read More]

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.

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

More Resources You Can Use

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