On this day, I would like us to take a moment to remember the plight of deaf women.
In the past, deaf women have had to endure prejudice, violence and isolation just because they are deaf. They were not allowed to study, make decisions, or even have dreams.
I wish I can assure you that this has ended but unfortunately it hasn’t.
Today in, deaf women are still being abused, ignored, silenced, and excluded. These injustices varies widely but one thing in common is that decisions are often made for them because they lack the education and the ability to lead their own lives meaningfully. They are uneducated not because they want to but simply because they are forbidden to go to school and kept at home to serve others.
It is far more challenging for these women to get out of their vicious cycle because they don’t have a voice. Their voice is sign language and many simply do not have access to it since young because it has been decided for them that deaf people and sign languages are inferior.
We need to change this attitude.
We need to educate society that deaf people is a cultural and linguistic minority, not just a disability.
We need to change perception about sign language.
We need to urge decision makers to give deaf women back their rights to use and learn sign language – their rights to participate in the society.
This International Women’s Day, you can help change attitudes by making a donation https://wfdeaf.org/donate.
Together, we will ensure that everyone has the right to learn and use sign language and thus the right to participate in the society.
Happy International Women’s Day.
Colin Allen AM
World Federation of the Deaf