More than numbers

20 October 2005

Sorry, I have not written a word yet, not from lack of interest, but too many priorities. I hope to be more active from now.

I enjoyed reading the many contributions specifically on Resolution 1325, but also on the broader issue of women and democracy which is a really our focus at One World Action.  We believe strongly that sustainable development and the elimination of discrimination and poverty can only come about through the strengthening of democracy.  Democracy as promoted by the west, meaning elections every few years, is not what we mean.  Important though elections are, we are talking about democracy at every level from family, to workplace, to international bodies, with the right to information, transparency and accountability at the core.  We describe this as sustainable democracy. 

Resolution 1325 urges Member States to ensure `increased representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions’, which is excellent, but representation is not enough, without the transformation of the decision-making bodies.  We need a critical mass of women who will work to transform the political and decision-making structures themselves, their ways and hours of working, their secrecy, sexist attitudes, corrupt practices, and male-domination.  But at the same time we need to work to transform the agenda and priorities of our political structures.  Peggy Antrobus and others talk about transformational leadership, which is not only transformational in style, but has economic, political and social transformation as its goal.

Helen O’Connell
One World Action

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals

To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.

By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

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