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About us

Irish Deaf Women's Group - Committee The Irish Deaf Women’s group (IDWG) is a voluntary and non-profit representative organisation. The Irish Deaf Women’s Group is registered with the Charity Organisations in Ireland. Our mission is to empower Deaf women and to bring about equality among Deaf Women. The IDWG was founded 20 years ago.

  • Committee Tab - Click here to find out who are on the committee.
  • How to get involved with the Irish Deaf Women's Group

What do we do?

We provided monthly information meeting covering important issues listed below through our first / preferred language, which in Irish Sign Language.

  • Mental Health
  • Women Empowerment
  • Breast Cancer
  • Hysterectomy
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Pregnancy
  • Nutrition
  • Health Heart
  • Osteoporosis

What is Irish Sign Language?

Irish Sign Language is a visual and natural language. Each country has its own sign language so it is not a universal language as frequently thought. Like any spoken language, ISL is a language with it own rules of grammar, syntax and structures. ISL is not just using the hands; it is also using the facial expressions, space and body language. The vast major-ity of the Irish Deaf Community use ISL as their first and/or preferred language.

Quotations from our members

“I live in the country and I always try to attend the IDWG monthly meetings about Women’s health. I find these meetings very beneficial”
Sinead Winters-Smith, Arklow 2011

“I was isolated for many years until I joined the IDWG in 2010/11. I feel like a new person thanks to my involvement in the IDWG monthly meetings and meeting other Deaf women who share similar experience as myself. After each monthly meeting, I always go home far more satisfied”.
Mary O’Neill, Dublin (2011)

“I would love to see women’s group liking in with each other and coming together all over the v=country, North and South to from a network under the Irish Deaf Women’s Group”
Geraldine McNamara, Limerick
(IDWG’s Conference 2007)

“The Irish Deaf Women’s Group have achieved lots, and I hope they keep going to achieve equality with Deaf men in the future.”
“Frances” (narrator) (Coogan, A. (2003) Irish Deaf Women: The Appropriateness of their Education? Unpublished M. Phil Dissertation. Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies: TCD Dublin)

What some of us have gone through?

It can be difficult to access GP’s. There are 4 qualified interpreters but they all have full time work – we need more interpreters, Sometimes I have to use my family or friends”
Mary O’Connor, Cork
(IDWG’s Conference 2007)

“Kilkenny has approximately 6-10 Deaf Women. A lot are isolated and don’t interact with the community. A lot from Kilkenny moved to Dublin…”
Maeve O’Neill, Kilkenny]
(IDWG’s Conference 2007)

“The report finds that dealing with medical professionals on health issues can be a disastrous and traumatic experience for the Deaf people”
Is there Poverty in the Deaf Community: John Bosco Conama/Carmel Grehan 2002

“Low self-confidence among Deaf women is also a documented result of their educational experience under the oralist system in Ireland”
(Leeson and Matthews, 2002 in ‘Deaf Mothers and Reproductive Healthcare: Experiences’ Emily Steinberg 2006)