Human Rights and Global Health for Deaf Women

Autor/a: SCHLEHOFER, Deirdre
Año: 2015
Editorial: VII Deaf Academics Researchers Conference, 2015
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Vídeo digital


Comunidad y cultura sorda, Legislación


This paper reviews the health literature on Deaf women from developing and developed countries, asserting that these women’s experiences are different and under-studied. Minority communities with a special focus on women from developing and developed countries have been extensively studied, although research with Deaf communities, especially women, is scarce. Health problems linked to serious consequences are often a result of societal factors such as poverty and discrimination.

Web of Science, Psych Abstracts, and PubMed were searched for articles on Deaf women across the world. Example key words used were: deaf, women, health and inequality. Although the phrase ‘women with disabilities,’ does not fit the socially constructed meaning of Deaf communities that historically revolve around sign language as a linguistic right, this phrase was used to ensure a more comprehensive review. As well, the information is evidence-based and augmented by case studies, where appropriate.

In the review, key themes emerged such as perceived stigma, marginalization and victimization by sexual assault. Moreover, Deaf women from developed and developing countries share similarities in the experience of intimate partner violence regardless of legal rights and access to health care. Notwithstanding its major World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) project Deaf people and human rights (2009), few findings have been identified in terms of sign language and gender. Due to limited data on Deaf communities worldwide concerns about reliability are compounded by complexities across languages, infrastructure, societal barriers, and issues with research design. For example, the WFD Health Resources Initiative Survey (2011) was an important global survey focusing on Deaf people for the first time.

Today Deaf women across the world are gaining awareness of human rights through various avenues. Nevertheless, they continue to encounter limitations such as a lack of access to health services. More research is needed focusing on Deaf women across cultures and continents (e.g., cultural practices and globalization). It is important to acknowledge that these women’s stories should be given voice in justice and health arenas, leading to their empowerment and positive action. Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.