- An intersectional approach. Gender mainstreaming
in the WSIS process needs a nuanced approach that takes into account
the diverse needs and perspectives of women emanating from differences
in geo-political, historical, class-based, racial, ethnic and other
contexts. For gender issues to be said to be effectively addressed in
the WSIS process, strategies and solutions for achieving gender equality
must strike at the root of unequal power relations - not just between
men and women, but more fundamentally between rich and poor, North and
South, urban and rural, empowered and marginalised.
- Building on Global Consensus.
The WSIS needs to place as its core mission to address the fundamental
socio-economic and political inequities globally, through a process
of consensus building. All negotiations and agreements made at the WSIS
need to be based on a reaffirmation to furthering commitments made at
previous United Nations conferences and summits, in particular the World
Conferences on Women in Nairobi and Beijing, as well as those focused
on the rights of the child, on environment and development, human rights,
population and social development.
- People-centred development. Only development that
embraces the principles of social justice and gender equality can be
said to centrally address women's needs and redress fundamental economic
and socio-cultural divides. Market-based development solutions often
fail to address more deep-rooted and persistent subordination that the
poorest and most marginalised women face.
- Respect for Diversity. The
sharp focus on digital technologies in the WSIS process has excluded
thus far the recognition of the importance of traditional and indigenous
forms of media and communications that more accurately reflect the communications
needs and preferences of the diversity of cultural, linguistic, ethics
and value systems in our societies. Respect for our vast diversity needs
to be reflected in the diversity of solutions and strategies, since
the focus on one solution, i.e. the digital solution is antithetical
to human opportunities and to the notion of democracy overall.
- Peace and Human Development. The current framework
and premises of the WSIS is bereft of peace and security questions and
the role of the information society in building an environment that
enhances the possibility of world peace, and the protection and promotion
of human rights and democracy. Peace is inextricably linked to the goals
of equality and development, and of crucial importance to women and
children, who suffer the most dire consequences of civil and military
strife. There is a dire need to commit to harnessing the use of information
and communication channels, including mainstream and alternative media,
in service of peace, and strong opposition to all wars.
- Human Rights Framework. A human
rights framework needs to be applied in the issues analyses, strategies
and solutions of the WSIS process. Women's human rights instruments,
and crucial communications rights such as freedom of expression, the
right to information, and the right to communicate need to be reiterated
in the final outcomes of the WSIS. Emerging concerns such as "information
security" on the Internet should not in anyway infringe on people's
privacy and right to communicate freely, using information and communications
technologies. Policies that seek to redress the growing use of the Internet
for trafficking, violent adult pornography, and pedophilia rings, must
not under any circumstances be used for centralist control of all other
content development on the Web.
- Supporting local solutions. The current framework
of infrastructure development of ICTS is heavily reliant on "creating
stimulating regulatory environments and fiscal incentives" to encourage
investments from multinational IT, media, and entertainment corporations
from the North in countries of the South. We need to encourage local,
low-cost and open source solutions, and South-South exchanges that prevent
the growth of monopolies in the ICT sector. There is also an urgent
need to encourage local content producers, through public funding support
to prevent "content dumping" from large entertainment corporations
in the United States to the rest of the world.