International Women’s Day: Meet 5 brilliant blind women

Mercedes, jumping in the air with the text 'Happy International Women's

Happy International Women’s Day (IWD)! Today is all about celebrating the social, cultural, political and economic achievements of women around the world.

From musicians and writers to star chefs and astounding athletes, join us to celebrate the achievements of five amazing blind women who have defied the odds and made it to the top of their fields.

Helen Keller

Helen Keller was an author, political activist and lecturer. She became the first deaf blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree. Throughout her life she campaigned passionately for disability rights. she also played a major part in US teachers adopting Braille as the official reading and writing system for blind people in 1918.

In 1925 she attended a Lions Clubs International Convention and challenged their members to become “knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness.” The Lions accepted her challenge, and their work on eye health and eye care projects has helped hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

Watch the rare footage below showing Helen’s teacher and life-time friend Anne Sullivan (who was partially sighted herself) explaining how she taught Helen Keller to speak. Helen also says a few words at the end.

Libby Clegg

Libby Clegg is one of Britain’s most successful Paralympic sprinters. She won silver at the Beijing and London 2012 Paralympics and has also won European and World Championship golds.
She has the eye condition Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy, leaving her with slight peripheral vision in her left eye. Her first major win was at the age of 16 when she scooped the 200m silver at the 2006 IPC Athletics World Championships.

Christine Ha

Christine made headlines in 2012 by becoming the first blind person to win the coveted Master Chef title in the US. She was diagnosed with neuromyelitis optica in 2002, and was left with severe low vision by 2007.

As winner of the competition Kristine won $250,000, the Master Chef title and trophy, as well as a cook book deal. Watch the moment Kristine was crowned 2012 Master Chef:

Dianne Schuur

Dianne learned piano by ear as a child and then was inspired by her parents to sing. She has gone on to become one of the leading contemporary jazz vocalists of our time. Her recording career has spanned 3 decades, and she has even bagged two Grammy awards!
Watch her in concert here:

Sinead Kane

Sinead was the first legally blind Irish woman to become a solicitor in 2009. She’s now made history once again on a global scale. Sinead has just run into the record books as the first blind woman to run seven marathons in seven days across seven continents.

“I am trying to take in what I have just achieved over the past week.” Kane said. “The last seven days have been a character building experience for me. It’s been a huge adventure,”

Want to know how to kick start your career?

If these 5 women have made it to the top why can’t you? At RSBC we believe in your potential, and believe with the right support you can dream big and achieve your goals.

Get practical CV writing tips, interview practice and the chance of doing a work placement on our employability programme to help kick start your career.  If you’re 18-25 and vision impaired sign up to our programme below and we’ll be in touch to book in your induction.

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