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Worldwide Participation in the World Wide Web Consortium

Status: This document is no longer maintained. It is left her for historical reasons.

The World Wide Web Consortium is committed to the goal of developing a "Web for Everyone":

"The social value of the Web is that it enables human communication, commerce, and opportunities to share knowledge. One of W3C's primary goals is to make these benefits available to all people, whatever their hardware, software, network infrastructure, native language, culture, geographical location, or physical or mental ability."

W3C is actively translating this goal into concrete actions. This document summarizes the real investments that W3C is making in initiatives that directly support the continued extension of Web technologies and their benefits to the whole world, and especially the developing world. In addition, this document outlines plans for a significant expansion of W3C's efforts over the next year.

Current Activity

The combination of these characteristics is unique among standards consortia, and places W3C is a strong position to increase participation from and benefits to an expanding segment of the world.

Next Steps

In addition to the above described record of commitment and action in the area of global outreach and participation, W3C has more to do. The majority of W3C's current Members are based in North America, Europe or Japan. Most of the Working and Interest Group participants and participants on W3C's Member and public mailing lists are from these same regions. However, a significant fraction of our Members are multinational organizations, and thus are often represented by individuals from outside of these three regions. Nevertheless, the regions of the world hosting the large majority of the world's population are underrepresented in W3C at this time.

What are some of the barriers to building a more global level of participation? In attending international conferences, engineers and managers who are not familiar with W3C sometimes have the impression that the Consortium is a western commercial alliance. Conversations with people from developing countries indicated that W3C's Membership fees were a significant barrier to Membership, and are also sometimes taken as a sign that W3C is not interested in participation from organizations in these countries.

W3C convened a task force of Advisory Board and Team representatives to document the reasons for building a more inclusive global community and a plan for doing so. The task force determined that greater participation of experts from underrepresented regions was critical in order to achieve the goal of a Web that is universal ... a "Web for Everyone." The most salient benefits for all participants of a broader range of participation include:

The task force outlined elements of a program to expand participation in the pursuit of W3C's mission:

The W3C Team, Advisory Board, Advisory Committee, Offices, and interested parties from countries around the world will continue to discuss, expand and implement the above plan.

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Created by Steve Bratt in 2005.