-----Original Message-----
From: Jeannie Ash de Pou [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2002 1:17 PM
Subject: FW: [wsis-gc] Final statement from gendercaucus at Bamako2002

-----Original Message-----
From: Tacko Ndiaye [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED]]
Sent: Monday, June 03, 2002 12:56 PM
To: Jeannie Ash de Pou
Subject: Re: [wsis-gc] Final statement from gendercaucus at Bamako2002

Mainstreaming Gender Into the WSIS
The Gender Caucus for the WSIS invites you to consider and implement the
recommendations contained in the attached statement as your organisation
makes preparations for the World Summit on the Information Society.
The gender caucus consists of representatives of organisations that
responded to an invitation by UNIFEM to contribute to ensuring that gender
dimensions are included in the process of defining and creating a Global
Information Society that contributes to sustainable development and human
security.  The following organisations took part in the work towards
defining an agenda for the African region:

1. Abantu for Development
3. African Connection Programme
6. AMARC Africa
7. APC Africa Women’s Programme
8. Association of YAM-Bukri
10. GEEP
12. MISA

14. Network of African Women Economists
15. UNDP/SURF West Africa
17. Unite d’appui au programme de la cooperation Canada-Malienne
18. WomensNet(SA)
21. Zimbabwe Ministry of Transport and Communications

We look forward to working with you in the preparations for the WSIS and in
the programme of action that arises out of our deliberations at the Summit.
For further information on partnership opportunities and the work of the
gender caucus please contact Laketch Dirasse, Chief Africa UNIFEM (email

Gender Caucus Statement
For Inclusion in Bamako2002 Declaration
The African Regional Preparatory Meeting For the World Summit on the
Information Society
May 25-30 2002

We the members of the Gender Caucus meeting in Bamako, Mali during the
African Regional Preparatory Meeting for the World Summit on the Information
Society (WSIS) express and confirm support for the WSIS.
We further bring to the urgent attention of the African and international
community engaged in the preparation for the WSIS the need to act now to
reduce the widening gender digital divide within the digital divide faced by
Considering the critical role that women play in all societies and their
potential contribution to developing an Information Society, we hereby urge:

1. The UN system and agencies, including the ITU, UNIFEM, UNDP, ECA, UNESCO
- To develop training and capacity development programmes that can raise
awareness of the gendered nature of the Information Society and identify
strategies for ensuring fair and equitable participation by African men and
- To apply gender analysis frameworks in the development of national,
regional and global policies and strategies;
- To develop gender-disaggregated data on women’s participation in the
Information Society and to carry out research to identify impacts of
exclusion and opportunities for increased participation;
- To strengthen co-operation among UN agencies working on gender and ICT
issues including support for the working relationships established between
UNDP, UNIFEM and the ITU; and
- To continue to work towards ratifying treaties and protocols that
recognise women’s human rights including the right to communication and
include provisions for supporting implementation of these in all of the
action plans including those arising out of the WSIS process.
2. African regional and sub-regional organisations including the UN-ECA,
- To ensure participation of the gender advocacy constituencies in Africa in
the conceptualisation, development and implementation of ICT policies,
regulatory framework and plans at national, sub-regional, regional and
global levels;
- To work with the regional economic communities (RECs) to ensure that the
gender dimension is considered and integrated into all policy, regulatory,
work programmes and strategies that deal with ICT and development and the
ICT industry;
- To ensure that the development and implementation of the NEPAD initiative
acknowledges and addresses the gender digital divide and other gender
imbalances in Africa; and
- To ensure greater efficiency and synergy among African institutions and
their partners by increasing effective co-ordination, co-operation and
collaboration n all the activities relating to ICT and development.
3. National governments and public –sector bodies particularly including
policy making and national regulatory authorities involved in ICT sector and
in sustainable development
- To make full commitment to support democratisation of policy processes
within the ICT sector, including use of ICT tools to support this process,
and to formulate and implement ICT policy using principles of openness and
with full, legitimate participation of all stakeholders including civil
- To implement ICT policies through transparent processes with due
consideration of the need for accountability;
- To ensure that women’s fair participation in all levels of the ICT
industry is assured and increased, through use of regulatory rules and
provisions that influence shareholder structures and composition of
governance mechanisms, especially as market structures change and become
increasingly privatised;
- To increase access to ICT facilities through making arrangements that
support achievement of universal access targets and defining specific
targets for women’s access to ICT;
- To develop  measurable indicators that can contribute to the assessment of
ICT policies to women’s empowerment;
- To promote cultural diversity in the implementation of national ICT
strategies including through active use of local languages and provision of
information on strategies in various media including community radio and
non-electronic media;
- To ensure that there is gender equity in education, specifically by
providing opportunities to increase girls’ literacy, and by providing access
to fair and equitable participation in science and technology education and
training at all levels;
- To support use of ICT for women’s empowerment including through
application of ICTs in health, education, trade, employment and other women’
s development arenas;
- To implement the CEDAW and all other conventions that recognise women’s
human rights and right to communication and economic rights and to implement
ICT policies and programmes that take account of these commitments; and
- To recognise, ratify, promote and implement the African charter on
4. African private sector and African entrepreneurs in the diaspora
- To support and encourage fair and equitable employment practices including
gender equality in remuneration and access to promotion and increased
- To take account of corporate social responsibility in carrying out their
operations and business development activities;
- To provide increased access to financing for deployment of ICT projects,
including through active partnerships with UNIFEM, and women’s organisations
particularly in rural areas;
- To participate in mentoring, information exchange and other programmes to
support development of private sector initiatives in the African Information
Society; and
- To provide infrastructure, services and applications that meet women’s
needs particularly in rural areas.
5. African civil society
- To ensure that gender equity is a cross-cutting principle and to commit
themselves to take a gendered approach in all activities, including
planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and in the structure of
civil society organisations themselves;
- To commit to active continuous participation in global, sub-regional and
national policy processes in the ICT sector;
- To investigate mechanisms for improving the effectiveness of civil society
participation in policy conceptualisation and implementation, including
capacity building and formation of co-ordinating and information sharing
- To commit to formation of horizontal coalitions on issues relating to the
Information Society that permits sharing of ideas and development of joint
strategies across various groupings; and
- To use ICTs as an additional strategic tool for action, recognising that
these facilities and applications have advantages for facilitating wide
communication processes.
6. African research and academic community
- To contribute to the development of a common vision and shared
understanding of a Global Information Society that contributes to achieving
the goals of sustainable human development in Africa and globally;
- To apply interdisciplinary approaches to examining the emerging
Information and Communication Society and culture and its influence on
development of Africa;
- To allocate adequate resources to research and teaching on gender
dimensions of Information Society issues;
- To increase the use of gender analysis in producing gender disaggregated
data and research findings on the impacts of ICTs on men and women ;
- To encourage and support increased participation of women academics in ICT
research and analysis through proactive approaches to support women’s
involvement and mobility in these fields;
- To integrate information literacy and ICT awareness into curricula at all
levels of formal and informal training and education programmes; and
- To share and widely disseminate results of academic research.
7.  Public, private and community media
- To take account that the convergence of technologies – in radio, internet,
email, video and telephone fax etc, has the potential to facilitate
communication and access to information, and to take the necessary steps
work with a wide range of media and to adopt a multi-media approach ;
- To promote the role that the media can play in transforming society,
encouraging debate and to inform. In particular, noting the potential to
address unequal gender power relationships in society, and within the media
itself ;
- To promote and support the particularly pivotal role of community media in
the democratisation of communication and gender justice ;
- To carry out the specific responsibility to provide equal access to media
regardless of gender and other points of exclusion. This includes
accountability to its constituencies with regard to its progress in
addressing gender inequality ;
- To promote national languages and  local content to ensure the widespread
participation and inclusion of women; and
- To ensure that local knowledge, including local gender knowledge is given
importance in media content, and steps are taken to establish standards of
reporting which include gender dimensions.
8.  African women movements and organisations
- To commit to mainstream ICT advocacy issues within their women’s human
rights programmes, projects and activities;
- To participate in ICT policy processes at all levels including sharing
information, reflect women’s concerns and integrating gender analysis
expertise into policy formulation and research; and
- To use ICTs as a tool in information dissemination and campaigning,
including around national, sub-regional, global policy processes.
9. International partners and investors
- To recognise that providing increased access to ICTs should be integrated
into programmes that assist with poverty alleviation and empowerment of
- To introduce mandatory requirement that all ICT and development projects
include a gender dimension and specific activities to increase women’s
access to ICT facilities and applications and participation in ICT sector;
- To define measurable performance indicators to identify the impact of
funded projects on the lives of girls and women; and
- To ensure that there is consideration and integration of the gender
dimension in global ICT governance.
10. All stakeholders
- To commit to work in partnership, to ensure co-ordination, co-operation
and collaboration in the development of a shared vision and common
understanding of a World Information Society that contributes to human
development based on agreed principles including recognition of women’s
human rights and right to communicate;
- To commit to reducing the disparities that currently exist in access to
and participation in the Information Society, particularly with respect to
the widening gender digital divide;
- To actively encourage, facilitate and support women’s active participation
in the Global Information Society;
- To commit to ensuring that ICTs be used as an effective tool in reaching
collective goals of
§ Gender equality and women’s empowerment
§ Eradication of extreme poverty and hunger
§ Achieving universal education
§ Reducing child and maternal mortality
§ Reducing gender based violence and child abuse
§ Improving access to health care and particular reproductive health and
reduction of child mortality rates
§ Combating malaria, HIV/AIDS and other endemic diseases
§ Ensuring peace, human security and stability
§ Encouraging pursuit of freedom and good governance and increased
democratic participation with protection of national, regional and global
legitimate interests;
- To ensure that all the proposed training and capacity development
programmes to support developing countries effective participation in the
WSIS including the UNITAR programme integrates appropriate consideration of
the gender dimension and includes full participation of women;
- To integrate programme development at the World Summits on the Information
Society with the regional and global preparation for World Conference on
Women (Beijing+10) and other sustainable development initiatives
particularly WSSD;
- To use a broad information dissemination programme, that integrates radio
traditional media and other  ‘low-technology’ applications to widely
distribute the results of the discussions and to invite broader
participation in the development of a shared understanding and common
- To take forward the recommendations made in this document beyond Bamako
2002 particularly in all of the preparatory processes for the WSIS 2003 and
- To provide specific opportunities for the discussion and further
elaboration of the issues raised and the recommendations made to be included
in the programme of activities planned for Geneva 2003 and Tunis 2005; and
- To actively engage in mobilising human and financial resources that are
required to integrate efforts for reducing the gender digital divide into
the work programme arising from the World Summit on the Information Society.

May 2002

Position of African Women in relation to ICTs
1. For many women in Africa, the challenge is to overcome a double burden of
marginalisation. The marginalisation of Africa is characterised by increased
poverty, lack of infrastructure, conflicts, deepening rural/urban
disparities and high illiteracy. Women’s burden is heavier in all these
aspects because women represent the majority of the poor and illiterate.
The relative high cost of access to ICT facilities and equipment as well as
the unavailability of access to funding and credit also contribute to this
burden.  Further, the unavailability of appropriate technologies designed
for an African context exacerbates the problems of women’s access and
participation in ICT and in the Information Society.  Gender discrimination
excludes the majority of women from benefiting from the opportunities that
ICTs offer as a tool and catalyst for development and al human enterprise.
2. The ICT sector is dominated by values which favour profit over human well
being. This lack of concern for human development objectives does not augur
well for women in Africa. Within the firms, markets and institutional
contexts through which ICTs are diffused, power relations do not advance
women’s empowerment and the agenda of the few groups representing the
interests of gender equality and human development in policy processes are
marginalised. These groups occupy low status and are seen to have little
relevance. In addition, women are underrepresented in all aspects of
decision-making in operations, policy and regulation.  Unless this dominant
culture and its related practices are changed, rapid diffusion of ICTs will
contribute little to gender equality and human development for the world’s
3. The failure to achieve greater equity in access to the Information
Society poses greater risks that the African region and women in that region
will fall further behind, becoming more marginalised and excluded. The
Information Society as it is presently constituted does not reflect
different women’s concerns, needs and interests and fails to recognise and
protect women’s human rights and dignity. This failure is leading to the
imposition of external models and perspectives that will aggravate present
conditions of poverty and exclusion. The concept on the Information Society
as it stands now, leads to an absence of an African, and an African women’s
4. Women are seen as passive receivers of information rather than actors
able to shape and contribute to decision making and policy formulation in
general and in the ICT sector in particular. African women are able to
contribute to the formulation and implementation of creative solutions to
the digital divide and are legitimate partners and actors in building an
Information Society in Africa.
5. ICTs and the upgrading of human capacity are increasingly considered to
be agents for development.  It is, therefore, critical to ensure equal
access and gender equity in the Information Society. Increased access to
ICTs can uplift African women’s livelihood through:
§ Greater access to and control of local and international markets for
African women producers and traders
§ Employment and other profit-related opportunities which do not require a
physical presence thereby allowing women to combine the care economy with
their professional roles
§ Promotion of health, nutrition, education and other human development
§ The capacity to mobilise for women’s empowerment and societal well being.

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