Observations from the Chairman of the Radio Regulations Board (by Julie N. Zoller, Chairman, RRB)

The Radio Regulations Board (RRB) elects a chairman and vice-chairman from among its members each year, and the Vice-Chairman succeeds the Chairman the following year. Having been elected Vice-Chairman for 2007, it was clear that I would be Chairman for 2008 in accordance with normal procedures. Despite the fact that it was the natural course of events, we were also aware that it was an extraordinary occasion because I would be the first woman to chair the RRB. There are two women on the Board today, and we are the first; pioneers in the implementation of gender perspective in the work of the ITU.

However, it was not gender that was foremost in my mind as I opened the 46th meeting of the RRB on 4 February 2008, but rather the specific agenda for the meeting and guiding the Board in performing its duties in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, Convention, and Radio Regulations. We had much to accomplish: considering reports of unresolved harmful interference and appeals against decisions made by the Radiocommunication Bureau regarding frequency assignments; evaluating the impact of the decisions of WRC-07 on the current Rules of Procedure and developing a schedule for contemplating changes to them; revising our working methods to enhance clarity and address provisions such as RR Nos. 13.0.1 and 13.0.2; and evaluating the potential impact of the implementation of Resolution 80 (Rev.WRC-07) in the context of our overall workload and good stewardship of the resources of the Union. Debating these issues and arriving at consensual, just decisions was the focus.

The telecommunication field has advanced in ways we could only imagine when I started working as an engineer. At that time, there were no personal computers, mobile phones, or PDAs. We wrote everything by hand and used calculators; secretaries typed reports on typewriters with carbon paper between copies.

Telephone calls were made via land line, and the cost of a national long-distance call varied according to duration and destination. I was the first female engineer in the office where I held my first job. Today, many women work in the information and communication technology field and in many other professions. We take our mobile phones and laptop computers everywhere, and can't conceive of life without E-mail. Diverse technologies are serving a diverse work force and consumer base. Technology has evolved and the workplace environment along with it.

When I was asked to be a candidate for election to the Radio Regulations Board, I recalled the words and example of Veena Rawat, a pioneer in the field of communications technology and WRC-03 Chairman. She successfully led the conference with great skill and wisdom. At the woman's breakfast that was held during the conference, she challenged us to say “yes” to opportunities for leadership. I am honored to have been elected to the Board, and am honored to be its chairman this year. I will execute my duties to the best of my abilities, in the company of highly qualified and motivated Board members whom I greatly respect. The evolution of radiocommunication technologies continues at an astounding pace. As the ITU-R considers enhancing the regulatory framework to meet the demands of both current and emerging radio applications such as software-defined radio and cognitive radio systems, it will benefit from equal participation by women and men in its activities and leadership.



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