Modern and Empowered Women

February 18, 2014


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By: Pat Hunt, along with Mark Hunt, owners of DisabilityImages and Huntstock

Everywhere I turn in the last few days, I have encountered a new focus on the modern woman, brought to our attention by Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” organization (, concerning the empowerment of women, in collaboration with Getty Images’ effort to create a new body of work dedicated to the modern woman.  I have seen multiple articles in magazines, radio’s NPR interview with Getty Images, plus my own daughter’s Facebook page, touting the existence of this new image collection, while soliciting responses from her friends as to which images they like best.  All of this is very exciting to me, as a woman in business for a lifetime, having experienced many changes and massive growth along with modernization to the women’s movement.

There is one notable area of this subject matter that is being overlooked.  That is the independence, empowerment and trendiness of the woman with a disability.  Disability issues have come to the forefront in the last few years, as the nation took the lead with The American with Disabilities Act.  Now corporations of all sizes are mobilizing to accommodate and hire people with various disabilities, bringing the rate of hire equal to that of the rest of the population.

Within this group of people, which by the way is 1 in 4 in the US, is the empowered modern woman with a disability.  Whether they have Spina Bifida, or Multiple Sclerosis, a Spinal Cord Injury or a prosthetic leg, women are having children, playing active sports and acting as proud leaders of their communities.  Women with disabilities wear trendy clothes, decorate their wheelchairs, party with friends, water ski and jump out of airplanes.  Women with disabilities multitask, drive cars, invent things, use technology and run companies.

The empowerment and independence of those women is what I am trying to demonstrate in my Huntstock collection called  Stock photography, in its traditional manner, has represented people with disabilities by putting an able bodied person in a wheelchair and calling that “disabled.”  You can see why that has engendered a questionable reputation among the disability community.  DisabilityImages works only with real people who have real disabilities.  We partner with organizations that foster this effort and help to make the world aware of this latest source of human energy.  We demonstrate positive and engaged lifestyle, and, within that, show women who are strong in mind, body and soul.

This grandmother, with a prosthetic leg, cares for her grandchildren when she’s not waterskiing.

This woman communicates to her deaf family about day care issues in American Sign Language

This woman with Cerebral Palsy works a job and enjoys her home life.

This grandmother, with a prosthetic leg, cares for her grandchildren when she’s not waterskiing.

These girls with spinal cord injuries love to perform yoga exercises, formerly unheard of as an activity for them.

This woman with a spinal cord injury was Miss Wheelchair and teaches school and drives a car.

This woman with Spina Bifida goes to college to become an electronics engineer.

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