In our Famous Dyslexics series, we’ve talked about actors and actresses as well as successful businessmen. We’ve talked about how they’ve used determination and creativity to turn what most would see as a negative into something that gave them the drive to achieve. And through their struggles, we’ve seen that, while dyslexia takes away the ease of reading, it gives other gifts.
Dyslexia may be one of the most common language-based learning disabilities. Dyslexia Help estimates that 5 – 10% of the population has dyslexia. And while it was once believed that dyslexia occurred more frequently in boys, it is now believed that dyslexia affects boys and girls equally.
So, let’s take a look at women, who have achieved despite (or because) of their dyslexia.
Erna Solberg – Prime Minister of Norway
“When you invest in a girl’s education, she feeds herself, her children, her community, and her nation.”
Erna Solberg was elected the Prime Minister of Norway in 2013 and had been serving as a leader of the Conservative Party since 2004. She was diagnosed with dyslexia at the age of 13 after struggling in school. She’s always been open about her dyslexia and recently shut down a critic on her Facebook page.
“You’ve got to take who you are and love who you are and do the best you can with what you’ve got.”
Born in Mexico, Hayek was diagnosed in her teens, although she did have great success in school. Rather than finishing college, Hayek moved to California to pursue acting, even though she didn’t speak English. Her first film, Mi Vida Loca, launched her success and Hayek is considered one of the most successful actresses in Hollywood.
Dame Agatha Christie
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
This best-selling author has been translated into over 100 languages. She created the iconic Hercule Poirot, one of the greatest detectives of all time. Christie dictated her books. She was always known as “the slow one” in her family, and accepted it, claiming to be “an extraordinarily bad speller.”
“You must do the very thing you think you cannot do.”
The longest-serving First Lady of the United States, Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was a fierce fighter for human rights. Outspoken for racial rights from the first, Eleanor grew to become widely respected, holding her own press conferences, writing a syndicated newspaper column, and speaking at national conventions.
“I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities.”
One of ten people who have received an Emmy, Grammy, Tony, and Oscar Award, Whoopi is the first woman to receive the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. She is an actress, singer-songwriter, comedienne, author, talk show host, and political activist. Self-diagnosed as “abnormally slow,” Whoopi still felt as if she could do anything due to the support of her mother.
Want to know what it’s like reading with dyslexia? In an effort to understand the difficulties of reading with dyslexia, a man created this webpage . It shows letters flipping and jumping and takes some pretty pointed concentration to make out the text. Try it out!
Do you know any other well-known, successful dyslexic women?