OPINION POLL: WSIS gains & losses

The WSIS process is over, what we have gained and lost in terms of integrating gender as a relevant dimension into the ‘information society’ after this 7 years? What do we have? And where should we go from here? What is the importance of having these explicit mentions of gender and women here and there? Wasn't all gender advocacy reduced to wrangling over text and installing or removing brackets? What is the most concrete thing you can think of that might have some catalytic impact on women participation and gender equality in the developing ‘information society’?

Share with us YOUR views, experiences, and concerns.

Responses to this post

At least for me, the text wrangling that I've witnessed worked positively in a couple of very interesting ways.<br />1 - The reactions to language were sometimes (often) surprising - I'm thinking - but this obvious - and realise that for someone from a different culture or pespective sees/reads it totally differently. Really opened my eyes (and mind)<br />2 - The issues that showed up during the text wrangling were eye-opening as well, in that issues were raised that in some cases were brand new to me.<br />3 - Seeing the interactions during the negotiations was interesting to see how countries, groups, etc interacted (and this usually tied into things like gas prices!)
Posted on 12/17/2005 - 13:00 | Reply
Ce sommet et son processus nous ont engagé-es dans une seule voie : la société de l’information est réduite à sa plus simple expression, les tuyaux. La connectivité. Une assertion qui correspond strictement à l’ordre du jour que s’est fixé le libéralisme. Produire, produire, produire, pour générer des bénéfices dans un secteur industriel très développé.<br />Côté société civile, le problème est que c’est la même chose. Même dans la critique, la contestation ou les revendications, on s’arrête aux frontières des technologies et de l’internet, ce qui inclut le respect des libertés individuelles, les droits à communiquer, le respect de la propriété intellectuelle, toutes références qui se limitent au domaine de l’information, stricto senso. Même les organisations de femmes ou féministes engagées dans le processus de ce sommet, ne le font que par la porte étroite du « genre et Tics ». Est-ce que le genre est pris en compte dans les textes, en particulier dans la gouvernance internet et le financement ? Indispensable… mais est-ce suffisant ?<br />On sait – des études commandées par l’Onu, la Banque mondiale, l’Ocde…- que la fracture numérique, tant mise en exergue, ne se règle pas à coups de marteaux piqueurs et de cybercentres. Les principaux vides tant juridiques que politiques sont le contrôle, les capacités et surtout les contenus.<br />Le contrôle, il semble que le secteur privé comme les gouvernants en font leur affaire en légiférant à tours de bras sur le cybercrime. Un exemple flagrant étant la justification de la répression mise en place par Ben Ali pour lutter contre les islamistes. La plus grande manifestation étant les circulaires nationales ou internationales permettant d’archiver et de concentrer des données personnelles pour lutter contre le terrorisme. Mais est-ce de ce contrôle dont nous parlons ? Non évidemment. Mais qui oppose une autre dialectique ? <br />Les capacités, et surtout celles des femmes, tout le monde s’en fout. L’accent a plus été mis sur les enfants, avec entre autre l’histoire du portable à 100$. Comme si les femmes ne jouaient pas un rôle dans l’éducation et la possibilité de survivre en général… Les contenus. Alors là, on atteint le grand vide. Même la société civile ne sort pas des rangs du tout technologique. Or, Internet comme toutes les Tics, sont des supports. De transactions financières par exemple. Du boursicotage. De surveillance militaro-industrielle. Mais aussi véhicules de pornographie, de trafic sexuel, de proxénétisme, venant contrarier de plein fouet la plateforme de Pékin ou le protocole Cedaw (contre les discriminations faites aux femmes) sans que personne ne conteste. Combien de sites sur la promotion de l’énergie nucléaire ou des Ogms ? combien sur les ventes d’armes ? quel discours est-il véhiculé ? Personne n’en parle. Personne ne fait de liens entre ces sujets de mobilisation et leur support de diffusion. Entre luttes pour les droits et le développement et société de l’information. Pas étonnant que la majorité des mouvements sociaux, des syndicats, en passant par les Ongs humanitaires ou de développement ou les organisations féministes, ne se sentent pas concernés par la société de l’information. Ils ont une fâcheuse tendance à assimiler la société de l’information à une « histoire d’informatique ». Pourtant, cette société est celle que les générations futures ont déjà digérée, dissoute qu’elle est dans leurs biberons de mobile, de mp3 et autres jouets technologiques. Alors comment jeter des ponts ?<br />-----------------------<br />English translation:<br />This summit and its process have put us on a new track: the information society is reduced to its most simple expression, pipes. Connectivity. An assertion which corresponds exactly to the agenda put forth by liberalism’s rules. Produce, produce, produce in order to generate benefits in an already well-developed industrial sector.<br />The problem is that on the side of civil society, the same dynamics are at work. Even in critiques, acts of resistance and demands, we limit ourselves to the boundaries of technology and the internet. This includes the respect for individual liberties, the rights to communicate, the respect for intellectual property, which are all references that limit us to the field of information. Even the women’s and feminist organisations most actively involved in the process of this summit only present their ideas through the narrow door of “Gender and ICTs”. Is gender taken seriously in the texts, especially in the internet governance and financing ones? Indispensable… but is this enough?<br />We know –from the studies commissioned by the UN, the World Bank, OCDE…- that the digital divide, highlighted so boldly, cannot be dealt with by using press-hammers and cybercentres. The main legal and political gaps are at the level of control, capacity recognition and more importantly, the content.<br />It seems like the private sector and the governments are taking this head on by floating laws around cybercrime like mad. A flagrant example of this is the justification of the repression exercised by Ben Ali [Tunisian president] to counter the threat of Islamic fundamentalism. The most vocal demonstration of this are the national and international regulations giving governments a free hand in archiving and concentrating personal data under the banner of the fight against terrorism. But is it about this control we are talking about? No, evidently not. But who opposes an alternative dialectic to this vision?<br />Nobody cares about the capacities, which is especially true for women’s capacities. The accent has much more been placed on kids, with, among other things, a laptop for USD 100. As if women did not play a role in the education and the overarching capacity to survive…<br />The content. Well there, we get to the bottom of the barrel. Even civil society does not escape the ranks of ‘almighty technology’. But, internet, as any other ICT, is a tool. For financial transactions for example. Speculation. For military and industrial surveillance. But also a vehicle of pornography, sexual traffic and pimping, thereby hitting with full swing the Beijing Platform or the Cedaw Protocol (against violence perpetrated against women), without anybody objecting to it.<br />How many websites are out there promoting nuclear energy or GMOs? How many about trade in weapons? What discourse in channelled? Nobody talks about it. Nobody makes the link between these popular subjects and the tools that make their dissemination possible, between fights for rights and development and the information society. Not surprising that the majority of social movements, trade unions, humanitarian or development-oriented NGOs, or even feminist organisations, do not feel compelled by the information society. They have an inauspicious tendency to assimilate the information society to a “question of computing”. Yet, this society is the one that future generations have already digested, dissolved as it is in their mobile and mp3 baby bottle, as well as other technological toys.<br />So how do we build bridges? <br />[Translation provided by Frederic Dubois, APC]
Posted on 12/08/2005 - 15:45 | Reply
Several outcomes and agreements have been reached. From Phase I, there is the Geneva Declaration of Principles, which is supposed to underpin the shaping of an Information Society, whatever that means. There is also the Geneva Plan of Action, which are more concrete steps on how to shape an Information Society, with various specifc mechanisms related to women and girls. In Tunis, we have the Tunis Commitment and Tunis Agenda for the Information Society; the former generally being a reaffirmation of commitments and the latter covering aspects related to financial mechanisms, internet governance and implementation and follow-up issues. I have drawn out the different paragraphs that specifically mention gender in a separate blog posting, and ended with the question: “Have transformation of social relations become reduced to wrangling over text and installing or removing brackets?”
Posted on 12/08/2005 - 11:27 | Reply

Añadir nuevo comentario