The gender caucus has observed with disappointment that the only gender word in WSIS documents is “gender disaggregated data”.
Reflecting on the WSIS implementation in the past, present and post-Tunis period, Conchita Ponchina from the Congo Committee on the Status of Women went through the documents produced during WSIS. She said it was disappointing to see that that the only gender word in the document was gender disaggregated data.
“We will never have gender equality in the economy because by the World Trade Organisation women are considered as social expenditures. We are not social expenditure but producers. The unpaid work of women is not considered as an economic value,” continued Conchita.
“Over 50% of women in the world do not have telephones and some of them do not even have electricity. We have to look at it from the human rights approach. As it was highlighted in Vienna women‘s rights are human rights. Thereby women should be protected. But they have to be seen not only as victims, but also as the elements of social change,” concluded Conchita.
On the address of private sector, she pointed out that human resource management should consider the existence of both, direct and indirect, discrimination. For example the reproductive role of women is not taken into account. “If she is absent it is counted as her fault because she is taking care of children,” said Conchita.
She also observed that some women in decision making positions have forgotten where they come from and are following the male model.
According to her, women in WSIS are not organised, and she urged them to coordinate among themselves properly. She asked weather it has something to do with the space: “We are just coming here to listen. Although many of us are producers, we are not producing at the international level.”
Dr. Heike Jesen, the member of the steering committee of the WSIS gender caucus added, the negotiations during the WSIS process have been frustrating and gender language is not successfully captured in the documents.
Dr Jensen said the gender caucus has been using gender language as a bargaining tool in lobbying and advocacy: “We have supported old wording in the new concepts and remained on the UN level. These issues do not capture well what new information communication technology (ICTs) have to do for women.”
However Glory Bond, also the steering committee member of the WSIS gender caucus, outlined challenges in the engendering of information society, the inclusion of knowledge tools and the building of gender concepts.