Published on: 7th March 2023
This International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023 Deaf Connect are embracing our Deaf leaders and change makers who are redefining innovation, talking technology and progress.
Wednesday 8 March 2023 is International Womens Day.
The theme this year for International Womens Day touches on technology.
To celebrate, we asked some women from the Deaf community about some stories and the women in their life who inspire them, challenges women face and how technology has helped women overcome barriers.
We caught up with Sue Frank, Erin Davies, Janette Jones, Marnie Kerridge, Asphyxia and Callie Rigby. You can see their full responses below.
Sue is a Service Access Facilitator for Deaf Connect. Two women that inspire her are Evelyn Scott, an indigenous advocate and also Leonie Jackson. She also touches on the need for indigenous translation as well as Auslan translation services.
Erin loves supporting Deaf youth and spending time doing various activities. She also talks about the challenges of mental health and how there needs to be more access to mental health support services for women from a young age.
Janette, an early education Auslan support teacher is a proud mother of a family of 4 and talks about how her mother inspires her.
Marnie, a teacher of the Deaf at VCD, discusses the many levels that women have to navigate in life. She also touches on the effects that power and control have on the younger generation.
Asphyxia a Deaf artist, activist, public speaker, and author. She loves running her own arts business because she can build access into every part of her work.
My name is Asphyxia. I am a Deaf artist, activist, public speaker, and author. Since the year 2000, I have run my own arts business – I like running my own business as I can build access into every part of my work. I wrote the book Future Girl. I am currently working as co-producer with Orange Entertainment Co to make a big budget television series based on the book. I also compose music and am currently making a music app. I used to enjoy music but when I became more deaf, it began to sound bad, like it stops and restarts. Accessing music has been a big challenge for me. I hired musicians Sarah Ward and Bec Matthews to make songs that would match what I can hear. They didn’t know how to do this so we had to make up the techniques together. Who has empowered me? Those two. They suggested I begin writing my own songs. I thought that because I’m Deaf I couldn’t write music, but they supported me to learn. Once I understood the basics, I could really focus on working out how to make the songs accessible. Technology has been a vital part of accessing music as it has allowed me to experiment with it and manipulate the sounds, without needing live musicians, and without needing any actual skill in playing an instrument. I have used technology to design fantastic vibrational experiences to go with songs that make them feel magical. This access to music has been so life-changing for me that now I am making an app called Amplio with a library of accessible songs – it will be like our version of Spotify. I’ll be releasing a prototype in May. So soon hopefully we’ll all have access to music and we won’t have to learn how to write music in order to access it.
Callie chose to respond to the questions in English.
I work as a Community Services Officer at Deaf connect in Cairns. I also enjoy photography and graphic design. I identify as an Australian Deaf woman who is fluent in Auslan.
My grandmother was my guide – she taught me how to be independent, to stand up for myself and always encouraged me to do my best. Her love and compassion is what got me through life after the death of my parents at an early age. I would not be who I am without her.
A challenge that I see is some hard of hearing women feel like they must hide their identity. I want them to know that there is an amazing and supportive Deaf and hard of hearing community that they can embrace. It is ok to be a part of 2 worlds.
Technology has been a massive asset to our community in Cairns as we can now access Auslan interpreters via VRI as we experience a lack of face-to-face interpreters in Cairns. It has helped our community have access to our language, Auslan.
To celebrate, we approached many women in the Deaf community to ask if they’d like to be involved. We acknowledge that there are many more diverse women in the community who we are proud to work for.