|NGO GSWG at the Commission on the Status of Women....|
Onsite report: 11 March 2003
by Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, Isis International-Manila
CSW delegates defer deliberation
on contentious points
New York, 11 March 2003 --The Bureau of the Commission on the Status of Women finished the second reading of the draft of the agreed conclusions on the theme media and information and communication technologies (ICT) today. The Commission recalled and reiterated the strategic objectives and actions of the Beijing Platform for Action, the outcome document of the Fourth World Conference on Women, on the potential of the media and of ICT to contribute to the advancement of empowerment of women. It also recalled the provision in the UN Millenium Declaration that there is a need to ensure that the benefits of new ICT are available to all.
One of the points that the Bureau agreed on in today's session is the need to focus on the gender dimensions of ICT to prevent and combat an adverse impact of the digital revolution on gender inequality and the perpetuation of existing inequalities and discrimination. On this point, the delegation of the European Union (EU) proposed the clause including the widespread abuse and sexual exploitation of women both through of the traditional media and through new technologies. However, the government delegates to this 47th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women deferred the discussion of the EU proposal pending other suggestions.
The other point that was agreed upon is the need to
integrate gender perspectives in the forthcoming World Summit on the Information
The government delegates likewise agreed on the provision of management, negotiation, and leadership training for women, as well as mentoring systems and other support strategies and programmes to enhance women's capabilities and potential for advancement in the media and ICT sectors. The other point of agreement was the need to compile and disaggregate by sex and age, statistics on ICT use to develop gender-specific indicators on ICT use and needs to collect gender-specific data on employment and education patterns in media and ICT professions. Similarly, the delegates agreed on the need to enable equal access for women to ICT-based economic activities such as small business and home-based employment.
The following action points which are regarded as the
more contentious ones, are expected to be discussed on 13 and 14 March,
the last two days of the
Ensure that policy and legislation empowers regulatory bodies to establish appropriate mechanisms to enhance full participation of women in ownership, control, and management of ICT and media;
Use and establish legal and regulatory means and provide financial and other support that enable public and community media to work in support of gender equality;
Encourage South-South cooperation to facilitate transfer and exchange of low-cost technologies and appropriate content between developing countries;
Strengthen and encourage the use of existing information and communication technologies such as radio, TV, as well as telecommunications and print, in parallel to enhancing the use of the new technologies for gender equality and the economic and political and social empowerment of women as leaders, participants and consumers; and
Enhance international cooperation to create an enabling environment to reduce the digital information divide between developed and developing countries and promote, develop and enhance access to ICT including the internet infrastructure, particularly for women.
In relation to the last point, the Canadian delegation proposed this formulation:
facilitate access to and transfer of knowledge
and technology on concessional, preferential, and favourable terms to
the developing countries, as mutually agreed, taking into account the
need to protect intellectual property rights and the special needs of
developing countries. Other than the proposal from Canada, the current
draft of the agreed conclusions does not discuss the issue of Intellectual
Property Rights, a hotly debated issue in the WSIS process. In addition,
there is no mention of open source and network security in the draft.