WSIS Gender Caucus (2002)

The contribution takes as a starting point the importance of aligning the preparatory process and outcomes of WSIS with the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The importance of this alignment has been highlighted by the United Nations ICT Task Force.

The WSIS Gender Caucus acknowledges the contribution of the United Nations System in promoting ICT for Development. The Caucus also notes that in parallel there have been efforts to integrate gender equality perspectives into the ICT for development agenda. In particular, the Caucus recognizes the contribution of the ITU Working Group on Gender Issues (WGGI), the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women, INSTRAW, ILO, UNIFEM, UNCTAD, UN-ECE and the World Bank. Academic and research organisations and other civil society organisations - in particular women’s organisations - have been at the forefront of advocacy efforts that have led to some moderate successes in integrating gender equality issues into ICT for development visions and strategies. We note also that Korea, Canada, Guinea and South Africa have made progress in integrating gender equality considerations into their national ICT policies. Despite these efforts, there have only been modest gains; gender equality issues should not be ignored in preparations for WSIS since there is still considerable room for improvement.

We urge organizers to include sessions that dealt explicitly with gender issues in the official programme and to ensure that women are not underrepresented among panelists and presenters in official plenary and workshop sessions. We have also made specific suggestions on how the principles and themes of the action programme of the Summit should take account of gender equality issues. This contribution also includes recommendations on preparatory activities.

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