Name Surname: Marta Muñoz Sigüenza
Background: University Degree
Sector: Third Sector
Position: Legal advisor and coordinator of the strategic planning area
I am a deaf woman of 28 years old. Some people can think that if I start saying that I am deaf person I am trying to begin with highlighting a defect, but for me the meaning is completely different. My family is deaf… my parents, my sister, my nieces; so at home we speak in sign language and live deafness with the same naturalness than a hearing family lives its life.
From the beginning it was very clear for me that I wanted to be a lawyer, so in 2014 I finished my Law Degree in Burgos city. I was full of enthusiasm to continue learning and working for deaf people so I moved to Madrid to do an internship in the State Confederation of Deaf People (CNSE). This entity was working since 1936 to support deaf people for the fight of their rights. Currently I coordinate the Strategic Planning Area of the Associative Movement. This area has legal advice, support for the employment, immigration, youth and gender equality, among others. In this area of the Association, we develop innovative projects in order to cover some of the needs of deaf people at state level. No one else deals with these needs, so it is a job very gratifying.
On the other hand, I am an activist person and I have collaborated in several areas, both in the sports and sociopolitical field, in the associative movement of deaf people.
So far, the most important lesson that I learned, as a deaf woman who fights for the rights of people like me, is that the important thing is not what a person lacks, in my case the hearing, but everything she/he has: family and friends (wonderful people in my life), and the sign language, our language, that we use for thinking, learning, communicating and dreaming. The World is not a welcoming place for all people, but I am proud to be a deaf woman because it makes me who I am.
I believe that the problems are unresolved difficulties. It is possible that I had, have and will have difficulties, but I believe that depends on my resolution to prevent that difficulties become problems.
Today there is a great ignorance towards deaf people and sign language and about what deaf people can become. I have suffered almost surrealist situations such as having to change school because they did not want to provide the necessary resources to receive an inclusive education; to throw the sign language interpreter out of the room during a medical consultation or to question my ability to advance only for being a deaf woman. Far from discouraging me, these experiences served me to decide my future, to progress and grow as person. If society wanted that I became a submissive, stupid and resigned person; they have achieved the opposite.
I like to face the daily difficulties with energy and optimism. I don’t think I can do in a different way. I never tire of saying that I am very proud of being as I am, of being deaf and of my language. People like to label everything and categorize the reality in a simplistic way and sometimes they forget that we cannot live without the difference; the difference is what enriches our lives.
Acceptance is the first step to discover the abilities and talents that a person has; to know where to walk to achieve our goals. People who accept themselves and feel lucky to be as they are, I think I am one of them, can achieve the goals they want to achieve. I’m not telling anything new, but it is a good mental reminder.
In my life I had personal experiences that inspired me to move forward in my own way. Living in an environment where most people are deaf makes me able to apply my own knowledge.
I have always believed in the importance of working as a team, as well as asking for advice when necessary. In the same way I am able to use my own experience to give advice to other people when they ask me for it. I also listen and pay attention to the problems of other people and when necessary, I like to mediate between people so that everyone is satisfied. I am able to facilitate and transmit information easily to third parties.
Among the qualities that characterize me, I am an open-minded, creative and forward-thinking person. I always like to be practical and I consider myself optimistic by nature. When I think about something, I am a persistent person. I think it is important to be able to innovate every day, as well as being a flexible person who adapts to change.
I do not have experience in mentoring or coaching but I would like to work in this field with other women to share similar experiences. I guess that when you share knowledge all people around you win something.
If there is an idea paramount for me it is that we should never let fears take us back if it is not to take off. Deaf people have qualities that other people do not have, for example, sign language is full of advantages and benefits. We need to be aware of our own talents, empower ourselves, get out of our comfort zone and face new challenges. But perseverance is also important, obstacles will stop being obstacles when we realize that, in reality, they are opportunities to learn and empower us.
Regarding inclusive entrepreneurship, I think there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of awareness and training. It is necessary more knowledge in society about deaf people besides, of course, giving more prominence to deaf women. Among the weaknesses to be solve, one of the main ones is that we have to talk more about the fear and the damages that still exist in society if we want to overcome them.