Reportage: Ms Wheelchair America Pageant
Founded in 1972 by a Ohio physician who wanted to create a national forum to highlight the achievements of women with disabilities, the Ms. Wheelchair America 2015 was held in Long Beach, CA, from August 4 - 10, 2014. The contest is open to women who rely on wheelchairs for 100 percent of their daily mobility, and are age 21 to 60. Thirty states and the District of Columbia have Ms. Wheelchair America titles. (Only 28 contestants attended the national event). The competition is based on advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation skills. The national titleholder's duties include advocacy for the rights of the disabled and educating the public about the accomplishments of people with disabilities. Of the estimated 1.6 million people in wheelchairs in the US, nearly 60 percent are women.