7 Female Disability Advocates You Should Know

Did you know that March is Women's History Month? That's right, this month (and every month, really) we need to celebrate powerful women and shout their accomplishments from the rooftops! I'd love to share some of my favorite female disability advocates with you in this blog post.

The seven women listed below are changing the world for people with disabilities, each in their own way. From well-known disability rights advocates to YouTubers, TikTokers, and more, these seven admirable women should be more widely known:

Judy Heumann

I simply can't make a list praising disability advocates and not include the incomparable Judy Heumann. Judy has changed the world for those of us with disabilities and has become an international phenomenon. Just to name a few of her accomplishments, Judy led the 504 sit-in in 1977, served in the Clinton and Obama administrations, and recently starred in the Academy Award-nominated film Crip Camp on Netflix. Judy is fun to follow on Instagram, and you can find her at @TheHeumannPerspective.

Andraéa LaVant

Andraéa LaVant has become a force to be reckoned with in recent years within the disability community. She is a disability inclusion consultant with over a decade of experience, and in the past year she has also taken on the role of Impact Producer for Crip Camp. In this role, she has led a virtual "crip camp" and even interviewed President Barack Obama. I have loved watching Andraéa advocate for greater disability visibility and I can't wait to see what she does next! You can follow her on Instagram at @AndraeaLaVant.

Jenny Siegle

Jenny Siegle

Jenny Siegle is a woman of many talents. She was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Colorado, she is a disability advocate and motivational speaker, and she currently produces the nationally syndicated Fantasy Football Hour and several other sports programs. Jenny lives in Denver, Colorado and has worked in the sports industry for over a decade, but she also finds time to be one of the best advocates that I know of. You can follow her on Instagram at @j_siegle.

Charisma Sydnor

Charisma Sydnor with her husband

As one-half of the dynamic (and mega-popular!) YouTube duo known as Roll with Cole & Charisma, Charisma Sydnor is one of our favorite influencers. Charisma is the wife of Cole Sydnor, a wheelchair user, and while she doesn't use a wheelchair herself, she speaks up for disability rights and talks honestly about what it's like to be married to someone with a disability. I love her honesty and the fact that she isn't afraid to speak out for inclusion. You can follow her on Instagram at @HappilyCharisma.

Robin Foutz

Robin Foutz is the mom of a child with a disability and according to her TikTok profile, she is the "CEO of hope & joy." I absolutely believe this, because Robin is one of the most fun people in the world to follow. She has an upbeat personality, but does a phenomenal job of talking about having a kid with a disability while dancing around at the same time. Her content is both fun and informative, and I'm sure that you'll have a difficult time pulling yourself away from her social content. You can follow her on Instagram at @TheFoutzFamily.

Maria Serrao

Maria Serrao

At the age of five, Maria Serrao became partially paralyzed after being the victim of a drunk driver. Since then, she has led a phenomenal life and accomplished so many feats. In 1989, she became the first woman in a wheelchair to compete in the Miss California pageant. She also created "Everyone Can Exercise," her own cable fitness show, and she is now America's only female sports reporter who uses a wheelchair. Maria constantly defies the odds, no matter what she does. You can follow her on Twitter at @MariaSports.

Marilyn Hamilton

Marilyn Hamilton

Last on the list but certainly not least, is Marilyn Hamilton. Marilyn became a paraplegic in 1978 after a hang-gliding accident, but she has done more than almost anyone else since then. Not only has Marilyn Hamilton inspired thousands of wheelchair-using athletes as a tennis player and award-winning skier, but she also founded Quickie Wheelchairs. She is now a professional speaker and business consultant. You can learn more about her at her website, MarilynHamilton.com.

So, what are you waiting for? Give these seven women a follow this Women's History Month and support them as they better the world for all of us with disabilities. Thanks to their strong advocacy and indomitable spirits, all of our lives are a bit brighter.

Who is a woman you believe deserves praise this month? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author

Cory Lee

After being diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at the age of two, Cory Lee's thirst for adventure never ceased. He went on many trips around the U.S. when he was younger, and then started taking things internationally when he turned 15. Since then, Cory has traveled to 21 countries across six continents, all while managing to start up his travel blog Curb Free with Cory Lee, where he shares his accessible, and sometimes not-so-accessible travel adventures with others. Cory is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). He has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, in a nationwide segment for CBS News, Lonely Planet, and many others. His blog won the 2017 Best Travel Blog Gold Lowell Thomas Award. He hopes to inspire other wheelchair users to roll out of their comfort zone and see all of the beauty that the world has to offer.

Cory Lee's ride is a Quickie Q700 M.

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Date: 3/30/2021 12:00:00 AM


Cheryl Smith
Great job highlighting advocates. If you don’t know Glenda Hyatt, you should definitely add her to the list as well.
3/31/2021 6:24:25 PM
 

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