Tag Archives: disabled role models

International Women’s Day – “We need to be the role models we want to see”

This International Women’s Day we’re celebrating some of the amazing women we’ve worked with already in 2018. They’re bold, uncompromising and helping to make everyday equality a reality. 

Sam Renke

Profile picture of End the Awkward star Sam Renke

Actor Sam Renke, has supported our End the Awkward campaign as well as starring in Maltesers’ hugely successful disability focused adverts. Sam constantly challenges assumptions and negative attitudes towards disability through her own work and as a Scope Role Model.

“Curiosity is a good thing, and disabled people will always come across it. I want to deal with it in a positive way. Ignorance breeds ignorance – how are people going to learn if they don’t ask questions?

It’s all about bringing the barriers down. I try and encourage people to be more open-minded.”

Carly Jones

Carly Jones has worked with us this year talking Carly Jones - woman wearing t-shirt saying "autistic girl power"about autism and challenging perceptions about what she can and can’t do.  In January Carly was awarded an MBE for her work raising awareness about autism and girls. 

“Globally there needs to be more recognition of autism and girls. In the UK it’s a really exciting time because I’m looking around and seeing so much more awareness.

People finally believe we exist – yippee! That’s my first eight years done. Now my next eight years will be about making sure we have equality; making sure we have the same protection and opportunities as everyone else.”

Rosie Jones

Rosie Jones - Woman standing again blue background in a pick top

Rosie Jones is an actor and comedian. This year she spoke to us about the need to give more opportunities to disabled actors. Rosie also starred in a groundbreaking episode of the BBC One hit series, Silent Witness that focused on attitudes towards disability.

“Media has a pivotal role to play in changing attitudes towards disability. I want to turn on my TV and see a disabled person reading the news. Although, perhaps not me…that would take far too long!”

Hannah Barham-Brown

As Woman in a wheelchair, smilinga Junior Doctor, Hannah Barham-Brown constantly challenges pre-conceptions about disability in the work place. She’s currently working with us on our Work With Me campaign to help get more disabled people into employment.

“I think, to an extent, we need to be the role models we want to see” 

You can read more from Hannah on her blog.

Pippa Stacey

Woman holding a "spoonie survival kit" smiling

Pippa Stacey is a writer and social entrepreneur. This year she became an Olivier Awards Be Inspired Champion, for her campaigning on accessible theatre. She also founded the successful Spoonie Survival Kits, to support people with chronic illness.

“The most rewarding aspect of the project in my eyes, has been developing accessible and remote volunteering opportunities, inclusive of chronically ill people. Many of the items within our kits are handmade by talented crafters living with chronic illnesses.

My new year’s resolution was to continue ‘paying it forward’, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same!”

Shani Dhanda

Asian woman standing outside.Shani Dhanda is a disability rights advocate and social entrepeneur. This year Shani shared her experiences with us to highlight the Extra Costs that disabled people in England and Wales face.  Shani campaigns tirelessly for disability equality and is passionate about making sure BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) are represented in these conversations.

“Social attitudes are a significant barrier. Many struggle to see the person beyond the impairment or condition and act awkwardly. One in four people have admitted to avoiding conversations with disabled people because they worry about causing offence or don’t know what to say. This really astonished me.

I’ve also experienced loneliness as an adult, being excluded from social situations or activities due to my condition or people making assumptions about what I am able to do, or not. It’s really frustrating, especially as I’m a very independent person who will always find an alternative way of doing things.”

Which women do you think are doing amazing things this year? Let us know on Twitter with the hashtag #InternationalWomensDay.

Disabled models in the fashion industry – #100days100stories

This is a guest post from disabled model Hayley-Eszti.  She is sharing her story as part of our 100 days, 100 stories campaign

When I was struck down with a severe case of ME in my late teens, I never thought I’d be where I am today. To go from being paralysed, unable to move or talk, reliant on carers, to where I am now – able to campaign for awareness of ME and disability in general, as well as becoming a disabled model, it’s all quite overwhelming.Young woman sitting in a wheelchair on a beach

I remember when I first realised my illness was so severe that I needed to use a wheelchair and mobility aids, it was scary and it was hard to accept. You never expect it to happen to you, especially because I had always been so active growing up, but that’s the thing about the disabled population, it’s the world’s largest minority of which anyone can become part of at any time. The more I began to accept my situation the more I wanted to make a positive out of a negative.

I started to see how under represented we are as a community, particularly within the fashion industry and media. I’ve always had a big interest in fashion, and it angered and upset me that disabled people were rarely, often never considered within advertising and marketing. Online shops, catwalks, even editorials and faYoung disabled woman modelling a white dress, sitting in a wheelchair in a gardenshion photographers were missing out on this huge market. There are over 11 million people with a limiting long term illness, impairment or disability within the UK. All of them need to wear clothes, so the question I always found myself asking was, why was nobody considering such a large group of people?

We need people to look up to, people we can relate to, and we need to see REAL disabled people, no gimmicks or able bodied models posing with some crutches for a couple of hours.

I began campaigning for more disabled models to be used within the fashion industry, and I started creating my own photo shoots which I put on my blog. The response was amazing and I soon started to receive more and more comments from people saying I should look into modelling myself. I’d been campaigning for it, so I thought why not put myself out there and try and become one of the peoYoung woman standing on a beach next to a wheelchairple I so desperately wanted to see being represented and treated equally? We don’t want to be treated differently and we are not asking for special treatment, just to be respected and treated as equals. I’m doing this to show that we are not invisible and we do matter. I want to show that we can still have dreams and fulfill them even if we do have limitations.

Something worth pointing out is that disabled models do have a place and they do resonate with people. A perfect example of this is Scope’s recent Retail stock appeal featuring Jack Eyers, a disabled model. It was their most successful retail appeal, generating 1.2 million donations, whilst also raising the issue of the lack of disabled people in the media and fashion industry. You can’t argue with figures like that.

My hope for the future is for disabled models to be the norm, for new generations to grow up regularly seeing disabled models. It’s time to make a change.

Read more stories and find out how you can get involved in 100 days, 100 stories.