Disabled Women on the Web

Disabled Women on the Web

Advocacy & Activism


Eleanor Smith

Eleanor Smith founded the Atlanta-based advocacy network, Concrete Change, in 1986. Concrete Change works to ensure a basic level of access in all new homes so the experience of persons with disabilities in their homes is one of connection and participation instead of isolation. The principle of "visitability" also aims to ensure that people who develop mobility impairments can live safely in their own homes rather than being forced by architecture into unsafe residences or undesirable displacement into institutions.

Smith has used a wheelchair since being diagnosed with polio at age three. After completing an MA in English in 1963, she worked for 25 years as a teacher and counselor, while also active in advocacy groups for disability liberation. In 1989, she became a full-time disability rights activist, participating with ADAPT and Not Dead Yet, and leading Concrete Change. In 1992, Smith wrote and helped pass an Atlanta ordinance, which was the first law in the nation requiring a basic level of access in certain private, single family homes intended for the general public rather than persons with disabilities. Since then, she has helped advocates in many locales press for Visitability initiatives, both legislative and voluntary. In 1996, she was a founding member of the national umbrella group, Disability Rights Action Coalition for Housing. Most recently, Smith helped craft the first national Visitability bill, introduced in Congress last fall. She received a Best Practices award for Visitability from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1999, and the Vital Service Award in 2002 from the Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities.
- More detailed information about the Visitability movement
- RESNA Plenary Address
- Interview with Eleanor Smith Eleanor Smith

Judy Brewer

When we think of access, we usually think of ramps, elevators and curbcuts.  But what about the Internet?  Judy Brewer is the Director of the Web Accessibility  Initiative of the Worldwide Web Consortium, the group that sets the standards for how the web operates.  She says that many web sites are still inaccessible to people with a variety of disabilities and that making web sites accessible also makes them usable by other under-represented groups.  Find out how you can make your web site accessible to everyone:
- Radio interview
- Print transcript

Lucy Gwin, Editor, Mouth Magazine

Freedom Clearing House - About Mouth Magazine

"Ask the next do-gooder you meet: Have you checked yourself into a nursing home lately? Tried to board an "accessible" bus in a wheelchair? Filed an ADA complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice? Asked a charity for actual help? The answer will be no. It's not in their job description to use the godforsaken things.

And so it is that do-gooders go on doing their good about us --- without us.

They were only trying to help!

And along comes the Mouth, roaring up from street level to take their system by the throat. This rude little magazine demands answers from the people in charge, laughs at the lying answers, and occasionally bites down, hard, somewhere near the jugular.

If you think you might enjoy the sport of commoners, come on and get a Mouth of your own."


"Blessed and Strategic Are the Weak: a Disability Civil Rights Perspective on

September 11th and its Aftermath" by Victoria Ann Lewis

This essay is based on remarks delivered at the Cornerstone Theater's Bridge

Awards honoring artists that serve community, October 1, 2001 .

Cheryl Green Keynote <from dwnet>

Institute on Independent Living Library - Women and Disabilities


Arts Panel. (2003). All-Girl Action: Crip Queer Women in Performance. Disabled Women's Alliance.

Axis Dance Troupe

Crip Commentary (Laura Hershey's wonderful website)

“Since 1986, the Non-Traditional Casting Project has worked to address and seek solutions to the problems of exclusion and racism in theatre, film and television. In 1987, we established Artist Files/Online, the largest files in the country of actors with disabilities and actors of color. We recognized that the exclusion of these actors was not only discriminatory, it denied audiences the talent of these performers and in instances in which non-disabled actors were cast in disability-specific roles, it denied audiences the experience of Deafness and disability accurately portrayed. We recognized that Deaf culture is an important part of our national heritage and cultural legacy that should be reflected accurately on our stages and screens and shared with a broad spectrum of the American public.”

The National Arts and Disability Center (NADC) is the national information dissemination, technical assistance and referral center specializing in the field of arts and disability. The NADC is dedicated to promoting the full inclusion of children and adults with disabilities into the visual-, performing-, media, and literary-arts communities. Its resource directories, annotated bibliographies, related links and conferences serve to advance artists with disabilities and accessibility to the arts.

Mouth Magazine

Includes database of EUROPEAN artists with disabilities - as well as some wonderful photographs of artists work (and artists at work).

“This program is dedicated to the empowerment of new voices in the American theatre through a variety of strategies including performance training, documentary plays and a professional playwriting program for writers with disabilities. In recent years, the project has drawn on the model of the tent-show Chautauqua to create community events that are popular, entertaining and educational. Past productions include the television specials Tell Them I'm a Mermaid and Who Parks in Those Spaces, the national tour of The Greatest Stories Never Told for the AFL-CIO, and Teenage Ninja Mothers for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Next spring Other Voices will host their third play reading series: May Days and Chautauqua Nights. For more information on Other Voices, please call Victoria Ann Lewis at (213) 972-0759.”

Ragged Edge Magazine Online
Ragged Edge magazine is successor to the award-winning periodical, The Disability Rag. In Ragged Edge, and on this website, you'll find the best in today's writing about society's "ragged edge" issues: medical rationing, genetic discrimination, assisted suicide, long-term care, attendant services. We cover the disability experience in America -- what it means to be a crip living at the start of the 21st century.

VSA arts is an international nonprofit organization founded in 1974 by Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith. VSA arts is creating a society where people with disabilities can learn through, participate in, and enjoy the arts. Designated by The United States Congress as the coordinating organization for arts programming for persons with disabilities, VSA arts offers arts-based programs in creative writing, dance, drama, music and the visual arts.


Gill, C. (2001, Winter 2001). What is the "Social Model of Disability" and Why Should You Care? IDHD Alert, 12, 8-9.


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Updated 3/26/2004