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Gender and the World Summit on the Information Society
February 27, 2008, 4:42 pm
Filed under: 2008


During the various deliberations surrounding the development of the WSIS Draft Principles, many women’s groups were adamant that Paragraph 11A, which dealt with gender equity, be included. In September 2003 a t-shirt campaign was initiated by the NGO Gender Srategies Working Group. As you can see by the photo above, the t-shirts contained the message “WSIS has a missing paragraph” (on the front) and the text of paragraph 11A (on the back). They were worn by several NGO delegates.

Add: New Para 11A
A focus on the gender dimensions of ICT is essential not only for preventing an adverse impact of the digital revolution on gender equality or the perpetuation of existing inequalities and discrimination, but also for enhancing women’s equitable access to the benefits of ICT and to ensure that they can become a central tool for the empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality. We therefore resolve to establish policies, programmes and projects that consider, identify and analyse the gender differences and inequalities in the access to and use of ICT and that these are fully addressed
(Language proposed by Canada during the WSIS Intersessional Meeting in Paris from 15-18 July 2003)

For an overview of WSIS and Canada’s involvement, see the paper I co-wrote with Marita Moll called Vision Impossible which is published in Seeking Convergence in Policy and Practice: Communications in the Public Interest, Vol. 2. M. Moll and L.R. Shade (Eds.) Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. (Scroll down here: to find chapters).The WSIS Gender Caucus focused on advocacy and lobbying on six key recommendations for action, based on the fundamental areas where gender integration and the empowerment of girls and women in the Information Society are most important. These recommendations included:1. Gender must be a fundamental principle for action
2. Equitable participation in decisions shaping the information society
3. New and old ICTs in a multimodal approacj
4. Designing ICTs to serve people
5. Empowerment for full participation
6. Research analysis and evaluation to guide action
Why is gender important to include in WSIS? An interview by Daphne Plou of Chat Garcia Ramilo, 2003.

On WSIS Gender Caucus at Tunis in November 2005:
(some links may be defunct)

There’s been a bit of academic writing on gender and WSIS, see

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