Posted by: Chelsea Hampton | March 13, 2013

Salute to Women’s History Month!

olympian blog

It is that time of year again to celebrate and acknowledge women’s achievements, struggles and triumphs, and ever-enduring strength – March is Women’s History Month! Check out the Presidential Proclamation here. Throughout the month, amazing stories of women who triumphed in the face of adversity will be highlighted, with particular attention given to disability issues and the realm of agriculture. The stories of these women serve as inspiration for us all!

Ruth Sienkienwicz-Mercer (1950 – 1998)

Ruth was robbed of her ability to ever walk, converse, and care for herself, after encephalitis left her with cerebral palsy during infancy. Incredibly intelligent and determined, she used facial expressions to communicate with others and eventually collaborated on a book project detailing her life story. Growing up, Ruth faced immense challenges. She was institutionalized, deemed an “imbecile,” and subjected to poor treatment for several years. Ruth’s situation began to change when people took the time to look deeper and acknowledge her intelligence and unique ability to communicate. Ruth later married, published her autobiography in 1989, and was a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities. Ruth’s amazing story highlights the importance of respect, dignity, and supporting autonomy for all. Read more about Ruth here.         

Margaret Heffernan Borland (1824-1873)

Margaret, a renowned rancher, migrated from Ireland to Texas with her family. She endured much heartache throughout her life, but continued to persevere and build a successful cattle business on her own. In addition to leading a cattle drive, she accumulated a herd of over 10,000 cattle! Read more of Margaret’s biography here.     

Information obtained and adapted from the following sources:

-James C. McNutt, “BORLAND, MARGARET HEFFERNAN,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 13, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

– Smith, L. & Mathison, D. (1989, September 11). 32(11).,,20121153,00.html.

This information is provided courtesy of the Wyoming AgrAbility Project. For more information, visit our website or call toll-free at 866-395-4986.


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