Celebrating Disabled Women

It's that time of the year again! March is here, and you know what that means—it's Women's History Month! This month holds a special place in my heart because it's all about celebrating the incredible achievements and contributions of women throughout history. And let me tell you, there's a lot to celebrate!

sw disabled women make history

Women have been breaking barriers, shattering glass ceilings, and making our marks on the world since day one. From scientists to activists, artists to athletes, we've been making history in innumerable ways.

As much as I love a good celebration of girl power, it’s important to remember that when we talk about women's history, we cannot forget about the incredible contributions of women with disabilities. Too often, the accomplishments of disabled women are overlooked, overshadowed by ableism and discrimination.

From Sojourner Truth, who advocated for both women's rights and the abolition of slavery, to Frida Kahlo, whose vibrant art not only reflected her own experiences with disability but also challenged societal norms and expectations, to Wilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, to Marsha P Johnson, a pioneer in the LGBTQ+ rights movement whose bravery and resilience continue to inspire generations - disabled women have been making history for centuries. Despite facing barriers and challenges, women with disabilities have consistently risen above, defying expectations and making the world a better place.

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Yet, despite their incredible accomplishments, disabled women often face additional hurdles and barriers that make our achievements even more remarkable. Whether it's societal stigma, lack of accessibility, or discrimination, disabled women have had to fight at least twice as hard to make our voices heard and our talents recognized.

Disabled women aren't just making history though—we're shaping the future too. Look at leaders like Tammy Duckworth, who is breaking barriers as the first openly disabled woman elected to the U.S. Senate and the first Senator to give birth while in office. Also look at all of the disabled girls and women in your community - my bet is that they are doing incredible things that are going unrecognized.

As we celebrate Women's History Month, let's make sure we're lifting up the voices and stories of disabled women. Let's recognize their resilience, strength, and unwavering determination to make the world a better place for everyone.

Because when we empower women with disabilities, we're not just advancing gender equality—we're building a more inclusive and just society for all.

So here's to the disabled women who've been making history since the beginning of time, and here's to the ones who will continue to shape the future for generations to come. Your voices matter, your stories matter, and your contributions matter.

Let's keep fighting, together.

About the Author - Stephanie Woodward

Stephanie Woodward is an attorney and Executive Director of Disability EmpowHer Network, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering girls and women with disabilities. Stephanie is passionate about seeking justice for marginalized communities - and has an arrest record to show for it. As a proud disabled woman and civil rights activist, Stephanie is committed to bringing more women and girls with disabilities to the forefront through mentoring and activism.

Stephanie Woodward

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10,000,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.