Feel Good

Embracing Disability Has Led Powerful Women To Success

The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities is higher than that of workers without disabilities. The percentage of disabled Americans employed in 2021 was 19.1 percent, compared to 63.7 percent for non-disabled Americans.

To celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month, MAKERS compiled a list of inspirational women with disabilities who overcame obstacles and changed the world.


Carson Pickett

Carson Pickett made history by becoming the first athlete with a limb difference to play for the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT). It has not stopped her from achieving her goals despite being born without a left hand and forearm.

Pickett wrote on her Instagram that she knows many people in the world aren’t comfortable showing their arms. She said, “I hope to inspire anyone who suffers from limb differences not to feel ashamed. Let’s all be kind and love ourselves no matter what we look like.”

Marlee Matlin

This year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards honored Marlee Matlin with an Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award for CODA, Apple TV+’s film she won 30 years ago. “Deaf actors have come a long way,” Matlin told the audience through an interpreter. We, deaf actors, can work just like anyone else. The deaf community awaits more opportunities.


Senator Tammy Duckworth

In 2016, U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth became Congress’s first woman with a disability. She told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show that disabled people are still stigmatized in the workplace. She said,There are all kinds of prejudices, like the idea that disabled people are more expensive to hire or that adaptations to your workplace will cost too much.

Susan Sygall

Founder of Mobility International USA, Susan Sygall, works to advance disability rights. While studying recreational therapy for disabled people, Sygall was involved in a fatal car accident. “When people refused me a job because of my disability, I was like, ‘Are you kidding?'” Sygall told MAKERS in 2014. “I look back now and realize that seeing opportunity is the tragedy.