In the heart of Comunidad de Madrid, a determined spirit is challenging preconceived notions and defying societal expectations. Clara Sánchez-Rebato Valiente, despite facing the challenges of cerebral palsy, is on the cusp of achieving a remarkable milestone – a Ph.D. in Communication. Her journey is a testament to resilience, passion, and an unyielding commitment to breaking down barriers.
Unleashing the Power of Curiosity
Clara’s story unfolds with a powerful declaration: “Nunca he sentido que me coartase el ir en silla de ruedas o tener parálisis cerebral” (“I’ve never felt that being in a wheelchair or having cerebral palsy limited me”). Instead of letting her physical condition define her, Clara has harnessed the insatiable desire for knowledge as a propelling force in her academic pursuits.
No Room for Discrimination
One remarkable aspect of Clara’s journey is her assertion that she has not experienced discrimination as a woman with a disability. Her story shatters stereotypes and highlights the importance of fostering an inclusive society where everyone is judged on their abilities and merits, rather than their physical condition.
While Clara has not felt discrimination as a woman with a disability, she acknowledges the societal perceptions that can limit opportunities. At job fairs for people with disabilities, she encountered responses such as, “Con tu perfil tan elevado no tenemos nada” (“With your elevated profile, we have nothing to offer”). Clara challenges the assumption that women with disabilities are confined to limited and low-paying roles, emphasizing her overqualification due to the lack of initial employment opportunities.
Clara’s academic journey is nothing short of extraordinary. With a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the prestigious Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM), she pursued a master’s in International Journalism at the University of Sussex (UK) and another in Creative Writing at UCM. Clara’s upcoming Ph.D. thesis, ‘Booktube: hablemos de literatura. Estudio de la dinámica entre creadores y usuarios de Youtube a través de los libros,’ explores the dynamic interaction between YouTube content creators and users in the realm of literature.
A Multifaceted Scholar
Beyond her academic pursuits, Clara has worked as an editor in national publishing houses like SM and in media outlets such as Radio Nacional de España. Her diverse interests converge in her Ph.D. thesis, blending communication, literature, and the world of publishing.
Advocacy and Contribution
Clara’s impact extends beyond academia. She is an active participant in the European project MILIEU, focusing on ‘Mujer Discapacidad e Inclusión – Excelencia científica’ (Women Disability and Inclusion – Scientific Excellence) in Bulgaria. Since late 2022, she collaborates with the European project ‘Igualdad, Diversidad e Inclusión para la Mejora de la Investigación’ (EDIRE) in Bosnia. Clara is also the creator and producer of the bilingual YouTube channel ‘The Inked Path,’ dedicated to literature.
As Clara prepares to defend her Ph.D. thesis, her journey doesn’t end here. She envisions delving deeper into the digital communities and exploring how women with disabilities utilize these spaces across various domains. Clara’s story is not just a celebration of personal triumph; it’s a call to reevaluate societal norms and recognize the immense potential that lies within individuals who refuse to be defined by their circumstances.
Clara Sánchez-Rebato Valiente’s journey serves as a beacon of inspiration, reminding us that true strength lies in the ability to overcome adversity with resilience and an unwavering commitment to one’s passions. As she embarks on the next chapter of her academic and professional endeavors, Clara paves the way for a more inclusive and understanding society, where individuals of all abilities are recognized for their unique contributions. Her story challenges us to break down barriers, redefine expectations, and embrace the boundless potential within each of us.