Updated: Mar 26
Today is International Women’s Day and although I wanted to research some amazing women for my post for this day. There are very few who are recognised with cerebral palsy.
These are my top 5 who have the condition and show that no matter what life throws at them especially with the condition.
Francesca Martinez is an English comedian, writer and actress, born in London. She was born with cerebral palsy, but prefers to describe herself as "wobbly". Which is what I personally prefer.
She has appeared at the Edinburgh Festival and internationally, including the Melbourne Comedy Festival, the Adelaide Fringe Festival, the Perth Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal. In 2000, she became the first female comic to win the prestigious Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award at the Edinburgh Festival. In 2003 she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.
Martinez has performed in many countries including Australia, Canada, Ireland, just to name a few. In 2016, she supported Frankie Boyle on his sell-out UK tour.
In April 2008 Francesca made global headlines when she became the first Olympic torch bearer to pull out of the London relay in protest over China's treatment of Tibet.
In October 2012 she made her debut appearance on BBC Radio 4's topical panel show The News Quiz, alongside regulars Jeremy Hardy and Sandi Toksvig. She appeared on The News Quiz again in January and July 2013.
Francesca Martinez has become a regular face on television and also written scripts for the BBC and Channel 4. In 2018, her debut radio play, “How We're Loved” aired on BBC Radio Four.
She is an avid campaigner. On 8 December 2012, Francesca Martinez launched a campaign War on Welfare which pledged to get 100,000 supporters to sign a petition calling for an end to government cuts for disability benefits and an independent impact assessment of the government's welfare changes. The petition attracted 5,000 signatures in the first 48 hours and achieved its target of 100,000 supporters on 30 November 2013.
As an outspoken opponent of welfare reform by the government, she uses her public profile to raise issues about disability and fight for what she believes would be a fairer system. She has said: "As a disabled person in the media, I want to help give this issue a voice. It's morally wrong for the government to target those in need instead of saving money by targeting the real causes of this crisis – and close tax loopholes and regulate the financial sector. To me, it's a human rights issue.
She is a patron of a number of charities.
In 2015 she helped organise This Changes Everything, a one-day event on climate and social justice, with Naomi Klein, Russell Brand, and many other speakers. The event was streamed globally and aimed to kick-start a movement to unify the left against climate change.
In 2013 she was nominated for a Women in Public Life Award and won the Public Affairs Achiever of the Year Award. In April 2014 Francesca Martinez was named as one of Britain's most influential women in the BBC Woman's Hour power list 2014. She was nominated for Red Magazine's Woman of the Year Award 2014 and for a European Diversity Hero of the Year Award 2014.
She has received honorary doctorates from the Open University and Bradford University.
Hannah Cockcroft is a wheelchair racer and has taken home two gold medals and breaking four paralympic records in the T34 100m and 200m, in the Paralympics of 2012 in London. The wheelchair racer firmly secured her place in paralympic history.
Born in Halifax Hannah Cockcroft suffered heart failure twice within a few days of being born. Which caused her to have difficulties with her legs due to the damage caused to her nervous system. It was thought she wouldn't live past her teenage years let alone walk. Although she took tentative steps at 3 years old with a frame. So with walking long distance and long term being an absolute no. She became a wheelchair user at a young age. At which point started her passion for wheelchair racing. In the beginning, she was playing wheelchair basketball and discus as a teenager. It was after winning silver at senior school when she was invited to an athletic id talent day at Loughborough. It was here where she was introduced to wheelchair racing. Hannah Cockcroft was given an MBE in 2013 for her services to athletes. At the end of 2017, she became the first-ever disabled athlete to be named the Sports Journalists’ Association Sportswoman of the Year.
I watched her in the Paralympics and she came across as extremely focused and determined. Through this, she showed that as a disabled person anything is possible.
Rosie Jones is a comedian, actress and writer who has appeared in several UK TV shows, such as "the last leg" "8 out of 10 cats" as well as doing "Countdown".
Rosie was born with cerebral palsy and is gay. While growing up she found it challenging to acknowledge either because there was no one really like her except Francesca Martinez. But now is a well-known comedian who uses her cp as part of her comedy.
Rosie is one of the people I relate to most of the women of my choice.
Geri Jewell is an American actress, motivational speaker and comedian born with cerebral palsy in 1956. She has been well known in America from the 80s as was in the prime time tv show "Facts of life". She has acted in "Deadwood".
When she is not acting she is a motivational speaker for the GLBTQ and disabled communities.
Sophia Warner is a Paralympian track and field athlete from England competing mainly in T35 sprint events. In 2012, she qualified for the 2012 Summer Paralympics, selected for the T35 100m and 200m sprint and is also part of the T35-38 women's relay team. In 2012, she became the commercial director of UK Athletics.
She began to take her running seriously while she was studying for her degree in Biomedical Science and Business Studies at Leicester University
In June 2011 she competed in the IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand, winning the silver in the 200m and bronze in 100m sprints. She qualified for the 2012 Summer Paralympics running in the T35 100m and 200m sprint and the T35-38 women's relay team for Great Britain. She finished 4th in the T35 200m final, with a personal best time of 35.25 seconds.
Unfortunately, Sophia was unable to qualify for the earlier Paralympic Games, London 2012 was the first games to include the events in her classification.
In November 2016, She launched the Para Triathlon Superhero Series for disabled and non-disabled people to take part in triathlons together. Proving that we should and can work together
Sophia Warner is an Ambassador of The Children's Trust, the UK's leading charity for children with brain injury and neurodisability.
These are the women who I believe should be recognised as amazing people who are not all the time because of their disability.
What you can do to acknowledge these amazing women