Masthead CMC Magazine / March 1, 1996
 The Gendered Mystique, by Leslie Regan Shade

WITS Policy Guidelines for Gender Equity

In the United States, gender equity recommendations for the National Information Infrastructure (NII) have not been explicated. However, a platform for Gender Equity in Global Communication Networks was recently issued by WITS (Women, Information Technology and Scholarship), an interdisciplinary group of women scholars and academic professionals at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that was formed specifically to explore and address gender equity issues in information technology. Their policy guidelines for information equity include the following:

WITS Gender Equity in Global Communication Networks

1. That publicly funded information infrastructure projects a) be subject to systematic mandated assessment of the degree to which gender equity is reached; b) be conducted by gender-balanced committees of people involved in research, education and library communities, consumer and public interest groups, and technology and information industries;

2. That new standards based in equity be developed and applied to insure the creation, access to, and preservation of networked digital resources for, about, and by women;

3. That network environments be accessible and hospitable to women and girls regardless of race, ethnic background, religion, cultural background, economic status, and sexual orientation;

4. That affirmative action principles be incorporated and upheld by a) designing training and support programs for women and girls; b) applying and (where necessary) reformulating current laws to guarantee women's rights in the networked environment; c) fostering civic networks that offer affordable and equitable access; d) encouraging continued research on the gendered use of electronic networks.

WITS in encouraging individuals and organizations to submit their policy recommendations to the WITS Gender and Technology Policy Quilt on the World Wide Web, as well as promoting awareness of the policy recommendations to women and women's groups and organizations involved in policy implementation at the organizational, local, state, federal and international level. As well, WITS encourages "all individuals and groups... to fund activities that will result in policy implementation; for example, establish summer computer camps for girls or fund public service announcements about gender equity on the net. Do whatever you can, as an individual, to promote gender equity in information infrastructure; for example, teach girls in your neighborhood how to use computers and networks, speak to local women's organizations about networks and show them how to get access." --

In Canada, there's an even stronger agenda for gender equity.

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