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Disability Pride Month: 5 amazing women you should know

03 March, 2023
Mel Watson
Disability pride month is a time to celebrate people with disability, our diversity and our achievements. This July, let me introduce you to 5 amazing Australian women with disability.

Disability pride month is a time to celebrate people with disability, our diversity and our achievements.

This July, let me introduce you to 5 amazing Australian women with disability.

July is Disability Pride Month!

But what exactly does that mean?

Disability pride month is a time to celebrate people with disability, our diversity and accomplishments, and increase awareness about disability.

In honour of Disability Pride Month, let’s shine a spotlight on five amazing Australian women who are challenging norms, breaking barriers and making a difference. These women come from different backgrounds, have all achieved incredible things and are all intelligent and interesting in their own right – not despite their disability.

Meet Carly Findlay, Jamila Rizvi, Lisa Cox, Hannah Diviney and Turia Pitt (you’ve probably heard of them). Make your insta feed a bit more interesting and follow them on your socials; your daily scroll will be richer for it, I promise!


Carly Findlay OAM

I love Carly Findlay! She is so smart, her observations and commentary are thought-provoking, and she rocks a fabulous print.

Carly is a writer, speaker, advocate and appearance activist. She’s also one of the nicest people you’ll ever follow on social media.

Carly has ichthyosis, a rare genetic skin disorder that causes the skin to build up and scale, becoming extremely dry and red, among other issues (you can find out more about ichthyosis in this article). Carly writes about her experiences with chronic illness and facial difference on her website and in mainstream media, including articles in Refinery29, Sydney Morning Herald, and the Age. She has also appeared on channels such as ABC and SBS, including “You Can’t Ask That” in 2017.

In 2015, Carly was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for “service to the community as an advocate for people with a disability”. She has also written a fabulous memoir, Say Hello and edited the compilation Growing Up Disabled in Australia.

 

Follow Carly for:

  • Her frank observations on attitudes to people with visible differences in the community
  • Her fun fashion – sparkles and colour are her jam
  • Lived experience perspectives on allyship and accessibility

     

You can find Carly at:

 

Jamila Rizvi

Jamila is funny, kind, passionate and whip-smart. She is the kind of person you feel immediately comfortable with because of her warmth and perspective – particularly her judgement-free outlook on the realities of mum life and the mental load.

Jamila Rizvi is a dedicated advocate for gender equity and carers of people with disability, an author, political commentator, media personality and all-around brilliant human. Jamila is the Deputy Managing Director of Future Women and co-host of the daily news podcast The Briefing. She has also written several books, including the best-selling Not Just Lucky, which I highly recommend.

In 2017 Jamila was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. After extensive treatment, she was left with multiple disabilities, including impacts to her eyesight and an inability to produce cortisol. Jamila’s honesty and raw insights into how these conditions affect her day-to-day shine a light on the experience of many people with an invisible disability, particularly women. 

Jamila’s work goes a long way in dispelling the myth that people with disability cannot maintain high-profile, busy careers.

 

Follow Jamila for:

  • Her unapologetic and intersectional feminism
  • Relatable life and parenting stories
  • Her sharp wit and delightful humour

     

You can find Jamila at:

 

Lisa Cox

Lisa Cox is the most beautiful person inside and out. She doesn’t profess to know everything but is generous with her knowledge and is committed to being a voice for change. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and she is so much fun!

Lisa is a disability advocate, model and blogger who is passionate about challenging disability stereotypes and changing the narrative on people with disability. She has modelled for brands like Target Australia, Camilla and Nike, and partnered with several brands to promote accessible fashion. Lisa is also the Disability Affairs Officer at Media Diversity Australia and was a pivotal contributor to the Media Diversity Australia Disability Reporting Handbook, a resource for journalists reporting on disability in Australia.

Lisa uses her unique perspective as someone with acquired disability to help educate non-disabled people and the media on representation and language, smashing stereotypes while encouraging respectful curiosity. Lisa openly speaks about how little she knew about disability before her brain haemorrhage at age 24 (which left her with multiple disabilities, including brain damage, amputations and vision impairment) and what she wishes she had known back then.

Follow Lisa for:

  • All the Australian fashion!
  • Simple, no fluff information on accessibility and disability in Australia
  • Her wicked sense of humour and occasional puppy spam (Louis is the cutest).

     

You can find Lisa at:

 

Hannah Diviney

Hannah Diviney is a Taylor Swift super fan, pop culture fanatic, and a bold force to be reckoned with. At 23 years old, I can only give you the cliff’s notes on what Hannah has taken on and achieved because she is just that talented.

Hannah is a woman with cerebral palsy who has made waves as an advocate for people with disabilities in Australia and internationally. She also champions action on women’s rights, domestic violence and climate change. Hannah’s work centres around improving representation of people with disability through her writing, public speaking, and media appearances.

In 2018, Hannah launched a global campaign for Disney to create a disabled Disney Princess, which gained widespread attention and support from people all over the world. To date, her change.org petition has over 65,000 signatures (if you haven’t signed, do it!) and has been shared by some of the world’s biggest stars, including Reese Witherspoon, Jameela Jamil and Blake Lively.

Hannah is also the editor and creative lead at Missing Perspectives. This media company is dedicated to addressing the underrepresentation of girls and young women in the news industry, showcasing the perspectives of diverse storytellers from across the globe.

In 2022 Hannah made her acting debut to critical and popular acclaim in the SBS series Latecomers and is has just done her first feature film, Audrey, set to be released next year… whatever comes next, I will not be surprised because Hannah doesn’t just dream big, she goes big. 

Follow Hannah for:

  • What’s happening in pop culture and why it matters (or doesn’t!)
  • Fresh, topical information on current affairs and news
  • A behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be a young woman with disability in Australia

You can find Hannah at:

 

Turia Pitt

She’s funny, relatable, and always has something valuable to say – Turia Pitt is definitely worth following!

You most likely know of Turia from her grit and determination – her story of survival after becoming trapped in a catastrophic grass fire while running an ultramarathon in 2011, leaving her with burns to 65% of her body and then defying all expectations through her recovery.

But did you know Turia Pitt is also the host of the podcast Turia Pitt is Hard Work, a best-selling author and coach? This all-around superwoman is passionate about using her platform to speak out about important issues like mental health, happiness, resilience and body positivity. While all of Turia’s books are great, I highly, highly recommend Happy (and other ridiculous aspirations), where Turia explores the question “Is it possible to be happier?” with a range of high-profile guests – add it to your list.

Turia is also a mum to two gorgeous kids, so if you’re looking for parenting inspiration or just someone who gets it, look no further! 

When Turia isn’t busy doing all of the above, she surfs, bushwalks, facilitates a program teaching people to run and travels to motivate and inspire audiences worldwide.

Follow Turia for:

  • Fitness tips and motivation
  • Important (and entertaining) conversations with some of the biggest personalities in Australia
  • Awesome resources for kids and teens on resilience and confidence

You can find Turia at:

 

so there you have it!

Now that you’ve been introduced to these extraordinary women, dive into their stories, follow them on social media, and join me in celebrating Disability Pride Month by acknowledging their achievements.

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