MIUSA CEO Susan Sygall: "Disabled Women are Needed in Foreign Policy"

Close up of five women seated in wheelchairs before a crowd. All are smiling widely and some are holding up their arms enthusiastically
Susan Sygall (far right) with disabled women leaders from around the world
Women in Foreign Policy interviews Susan Sygall about her own global career and pathways for women with disabilities to enter this exciting field.

Recognizing that disabled women have historically had few role models when it comes to international careers, Susan Sygall hopes that sharing her own global experiences - from studying and hitch-hiking in her wheelchair to co-founding a non-profit advancing global disability leadership - will show what's possible. In an interview with the website Women in Foreign Policy, Ms. Sygall described her vision for how engaging in international dialogue can help further disabled women's leadership and agency:

"It's important to encourage girls and young women with disabilities to think about going into foreign policy. It's not until more disabled women are in those high-level leadership positions that we will actually see some real change."

Though encouraged by meeting disabled women joining the Peace Corps, working in the U.S. State Department and World Bank, and participating in international exchange programs, Ms. Sygall hopes the representation of disabled women in international fields will continue to increase. In the article, she says that non-disabled people who wish to be allies can play a role by engaging with disabled women leaders:

"When you work in a project, start a move to getting more disabled people at the table, who can then make sure that whatever policy you're working on includes the perspective of disabled women. If you don't have that perspective, you have to seek it out through finding disabled leaders."

Ms. Sygall reflected on some of Mobility International USA's signature programs as well as new initiatives that will bridge the international development and international exchange fields with the global disability community. However, it will take the support of other organizations and individuals to make a difference on a greater scale:

"I'm hoping that if all the people who read this, who are working in the field of foreign policy and international development, will contact us to see other avenues where we can really start opening this path up for more disabled women and girls."

Read the full article on the Women in Foreign Policy website.