The First Women in Standardization Expert Group Event in Partnership with ITU

30 October 2016, Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia – On 30 October 2016, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the Women’s Leadership Programme of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) hosted the first Women in Standardization Expert Group (WISE) Event entitled: “Setting the Standard for Equality” during ITU’s World Telecommunication Standardization Assembly 2016.

The event took place in Yasmine Hammamet, Tunisia and gathered more than 70 Delegates and representatives of international telecommunication companies from all around the world, including men and women, with the aim to equip them with practical skills to capitalize on their unique strengths for successful negotiations. The event has also served as the official launch of WISE as an active ITU group to promote gender equality within the standardization sector.

The event started with opening remarks from the Director of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Dr. Chaesub Lee, who talked about the importance of gender equality and equal opportunities for men and women, and mentioned that the event stands in line with the objectives of the Telecommunication Standardization Bureau to make the world of standardization and telecommunication/ICTs development attractive to women through WISE

His Excellency, The Secretary of State for Digital Economy at Government of Tunisia, Mr. Habib Dababi, added that gender equality is an essential cause; highlighting Tunisia’s achievements in terms of women’s rights, when for example in 1956, the President of Tunisia promoted the status of women in the country and when to this day, there are 60% of women in their top school.

The event continued with a workshop on “gender differences in negotiations” and was concluded by a lively panel discussion highlighting the experiences of leading women from the information and communication technology (ICT) and standardization fields. These women shared the obstacles they faced during their lives related to their gender and how they could overcome them.

The presence of men and women from different backgrounds and opinions fostered constructive group discussions, enabling each person to understand how to overcome unconscious gender bias. Participants were very pleased with the event, stating that the difference between men and women: “is important and gets too little real attention”, and that “it helps to have a continuous discussion on gender issues because this builds a broader awareness on the fact that more needs to be done”.

ITU and UNITAR were pleased with the outcome of the workshop and look forward to reaching out to more delegates.

For more information about the Women’s Leadership Programme, please contact Ms. Melanie Cremona at

Photos: © ITU/ J. Marchand