Inspirational Women

There are already many amazing women who are helping to shape Wales and the UK in a number of ways; as Public Appointees, Trustees of charities, Board members of public and private organisations and alongside volunteering there are also some inspirational role models working to further the equality of opportunity in public life.

We wanted to highlight the journey these women have made towards success to show that barriers can be overcome and inspire more women to take steps to achieving a public appointment themselves.

If you are or know of a woman who is an inspiration to others get in touch so that we can share your story.

Sara Pickard

Sara Pickard is the Participation Officer for Mencap Cymru's Inspire Me Project and a SaraPickard
Trustee of the Down's Syndrome Association.  Sara has Down's Syndrome and is a former trustee of Learning Disability Wales. She is also a Community Councillor.

Sara attended Radyr Comprehensive School and Pontypridd College before joining Mencap Cymru in 2006 where she has the opportunity to prove that people with learning disabilities can have valued, skilled and, importantly, paid roles within organisations. She is very passionate about connecting with young people who have learning disabilities through her work and drives the importance of their representation in public life

In 2008 she was elected as an independent councillor for Pentyrch Communtiy Council and was re-elected in May 2012. Sara also worked for four years on the Partners in Politics Project which aimed to increase participation of people with a learning disability in the political process. Sara is no stranger to the barriers that people with learning disabilities face as she had to challenge the way council meetings were held to make them more accessible. She thinks the best way to approach these issues is to not be too challenging or direct when addressing barriers or the people who put them there, but to work with people to show them how you can overcome them together.

Sara also loves the theatre and is a talented performer. She has been on two professional tours with Hijinx Theatre in 2009 and 2010. Her inspiration to get involved with acting came from her parents Mike and Shan and her sister Bethan, who have been a great help in building her confidence. Sara says that

"the first barrier you will encounter is your own confidence and making that first big leap. Once you've done that it becomes easier."

Sara loves challenging attitudes. She often challenges her fellow councillors to do things in a different way to make agendas, meetings and opportunities more accessible to disabled people.  She positively challenges young disabled people to stand up for their rights. She believes that if you are involved in public life you are representing everybody, regardless of gender, conditions, backgrounds or beliefs. At the beginning people remembered her for what made her different, but she used that to make a stand, to say something different and before long people realised that she was there to help and represent everyone.

Sara inspires people every day to stand up for themselves and to not be afraid of what others may think.

"I have seen how the public perceive those with disabilities and wanted to be more involved in public life to show the public what we are able to achieve. People sometimes make a mistake and say I 'suffer' from Down's Syndrome. The only thing I suffer from is mistaken beliefs and bad attitudes."
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