INTERNATIONAL WOMENS DAY 2015 is themed around ‘making it happen’ and encouraging effective action for advancing and recognising women the world over. Celebrating the incredible achievements of women, whilst also calling for greater equality.
Jessica Cox in USA represents this years’ theme perfectly and has been on her path to #MakeItHappen since day one.
She is recognized internationally as an inspirational keynote speaker. Born without arms, Jessica now flies airplanes, drives cars, and otherwise lives a normal life using her feet as others use their hands.
She holds the title of the first person without arms to earn a black belt in ATA Martial Arts and she holds the world record for being the first armless person in aviation history to earn a pilot’s certificate.
Convinced that the way we think has a greater impact on our lives than our physical constraints, she chose to pursue a degree in psychology at the University of Arizona. Since then she has also traveled to 20 countries on 6 continents sharing her inspirational message everywhere she goes.
Just this weekend, she traveled to the Pacific Aviation Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii speaking to and inspiring youngsters to pursue their dreams, in particularly in the area of aviation interests.
When talking about the significance of days such as International Womens Day Jessica told us:
“International Women’s Day is a wonderful celebration of women excelling and proving there are no limits. Over the years, women’s roles in society have changed dramatically and without a doubt girls need role models who are women with diversified skills, careers, and lifestyles. When girls are able to see what women can accomplish, they are empowered to fulfill the dreams they have for themselves.”
Born in 1983 in Sierra Vista, Arizona, Jessica has learned to live her life with her feet. There were many questions at the time about whether Jessica would be able to live a “normal” life. However, Jessica’s father has said he never shed a tear about her birth condition. He had full confidence in her potential. With the support of her parents and family, Jessica became confident in herself as an adult and continued to explore the world with her feet.
Jessica’s parents eventually met a Taekwondo instructor named Jim Cunningham. His response when told of Jessica’s birth condition was that she would be more than physically able to participate and that only her attitude could hold her back. At the age of 14, Jessica earned her first black belt in the International Taekwondo Federation.
After graduating from high school, Jessica attended the University of Arizona, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. When talking about her degree, she frequently explains that psychology credits the way people think with having a greater impact on their lives than a physical limitation.
Jessica’s most famous accomplishment has been learning how to fly. It took three states, four airplanes, three flight instructors, and three years to find the right aircraft: a 1946 415C Ercoupe Airplane. In 2008 Jessica earned her Light Sport Pilot Certificate and she is the first person in the world to be allowed a license to fly with her feet.
In May, 2012, Jessica got married in the beautiful city of South Pasadena, CA. In the fall of that same year, Jessica became a Goodwill Ambassador for Handicap International, a Nobel Peace prize-winning NGO and advocated for disability rights in Ethiopia, Philippines and the US Senate.
We asked Jessica what advice she would give to others around the world, in particularly to young girls and women:
“My advice to everyone is never to give up or be taken over by any doubts about your ability or inability even. Allow any naysayers to give you the motivation you need when things are most difficult. Have the confidence to embrace who you are and carry yourself with high self-esteem always!”
Be it for International Women’s Day, or for every other day of the year, what Jessica has achieved is an inspiration for everyone, and she proves the fact that it is simply our own perception of our limitations, or the limitations imposed on us by others that determine how much we allow ourselves to achieve daily.
After achieving so many accolades already, we asked what she is planning next:
“My dream and ambition for this year is to reach as many people as I possibly can with the self help book I just wrote called, Disarm Your Limits. And there is also a documentary being made about some of the incredible experiences I have had and my achievements to date, also conveying what I wish to provide for others with what I do.”
And as for Jessica’s advice on the universal theme of happiness:
“My own secret to happiness is to simply love life and live with full gusto!” she states.
Stay updated on Jessica’s work via: www.jessicacox.com
And here is the trailer version of Jessica’s upcoming documentary project, with more info via: www.rightfootedmovie.com