On March 9, I had the pleasure of moderating an incredible panel for a webinar hosted by the Reeve Foundation and Disability EmpowHer Network. The webinar, called Disabled Women Make History, was a panel discussion with three extraordinary women living with paralysis, Curran Brown, Liz Persaud, and fellow Quantum Ambassador Jill Moore. I was honored to moderate the conversation as we explored the complexities, struggles and accomplishments that they experienced living with paralysis.
This webinar was born from a monthly blog series called Disabled Women Make History, which celebrates the achievements of women with disabilities. The series is based on interviews with passionate, determined, and talented women with paralysis. We chose to host the webinar this month to celebrate Women’s History Month.
What We Discussed
Throughout the 1.5-hour discussion, we explored a variety of topics including assistive technology, inclusive play, foreign travel, intimacy, leadership and more. Each of the panelists are incredible women with paralysis who have very different backgrounds. So, it was fun to experience a vibrant conversation where we could talk about the work they do and how their presence as disabled women make a positive impact in their fields.
The Impact of These Women
For example, Liz Persaud is an assistive technology expert and she discussed how she uses upwards of 30 pieces of assistive technology per day. As a disabled woman with lived experience using a variety of assistive technology, she brings an important voice to the conversation about assistive technology. This conversation is often dominated by nondisabled men.
Likewise, Jill Moore is an inclusive play specialist working in a field that is predominantly nondisabled men. She advises playground manufacturers and communities on how to create play spaces that are inclusive of all children. Her experience informs the work that she does.
Lastly, Curran Brown is studying to be an occupational therapist. As a woman with a spinal cord injury who went through occupational therapy, she learned how to live an active life as a wheelchair user. Curran can help disabled people going through therapy in a way that no nondisabled person ever could because they have never lived it.
Input from the Audience
It was such an insightful and lively conversation. I especially enjoyed how active the chat box was with comments and questions from the audience. There was never a lull in the hour and a half that we were chatting. When our time was up, I felt like we had barely gotten started.
I am so glad that we got to dive into these important topics about women with disabilities and hope to continue these important conversations. If you missed the panel but are interested in the conversation, you can watch the recording here.
About Stephanie Woodward: Stephanie is a brand ambassador advisor for Quantum Rehab® and works as a disability rights activist. She has received many awards for helping communities become more accessible, as well as for her actions in fighting for the rights of disabled individuals as it relates to Medicaid and other support services. Click here to learn more about Stephanie.