United Nations Headquarters, New York City – After week-long discussions and debates at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), delegates and nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives are celebrating today. No, they have not reached consensus on how best to assist women worldwide. Instead, they are celebrating International Women’s Day (officially observed on March 8). A webcast event will highlight the empowerment of women as talks continue on how to eliminate violence against women and girls and how to provide women with access to media and information technology.
As is the case at any U.N. conference, anti-American sentiment has taken its proverbial seat at the discussion table. And with Secretary of State Colin Powell’s visit to the Security Council today and the prospect of a war with Iraq, criticism from the Far Left seems to have intensified.
For example, one liberal NGO representative asked how America’s stance against violence directed toward women squares with the President’s march to war against Iraq. The presenter’s response did not please her; the woman defiantly left the room with four other like-minded women.
“The last NGO briefing I attended was during the Clinton administration, when the Far Left ideologies dominated the introductory remarks and the Q and A session,” said U.S. delegate Dr. Janice Crouse. “I must note, however, that we did not stomp out of the briefing when our questions didn’t get the response we wanted!”
Since the Clinton administration shelled out millions in family planning services, radical feminists erroneously believe that women fared better under President Clinton than under President Bush. They see abortion on demand and other so-called reproductive rights as the hallmarks of women’s issues worldwide. But the Bush administration is not as narrow-minded to think that this one controversial hot button defines all of women’s issues. Instead, Bush has done much to help women:
This week the Department of Labor and the Small Business Administration launched www.women-21.gov, a new Web site to serve women business owners. President Bush said, “When it comes to entrepreneurship and job creation, ours is an increasingly woman’s world.”The United States has invested more than $130 million in small loan and technical assistance programs; three quarters of this assistance was awarded to women.The Bush administration has pledged $500 million specifically to curb mother to child transmission of HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean.In his State of the Union address, President Bush announced a five-year $15 billion initiative to combat the global HIV/AIDS pandemic which has affected millions of women.The Bush administration has made a global commitment to education with the new Middle Eastern Partnership Initiative, which will include efforts to improve the lives of women and girls through literacy training and scholarships to help girls stay in school.Last week, President Bush signed a Presidential Directive that committed the United States to work toward raising awareness and reducing incidences of sex trafficking in persons through programs of prevention, protection and prosecution.The Bush administration is encouraging states to promote equal access to education and employment for women and girls to reduce their vulnerability to sex traffickers.The Bush administration has funded exchange programs for West Africans that train women nongovernmental organization (NGO) leaders.The U.S. Afghan Women’s Council brings U.S. women from government, business and other sectors together with Afghan women to help them obtain education and leadership skills denied to them by the Taliban.The Bush administration supports initiatives that expand women’s political skills and increase women’s ability to run for a public office, and serve as elected and appointed officials.President Bush was the first president ever to appoint a woman to serve as his national security advisor, Condoleezza Rice.The Bush administration brought a delegation of 55 Arab women political leaders to observe mid-term elections last November.
“President Bush, in several major addresses over the past two years, has said that respect for women is both a non-negotiable demand of human dignity and a foreign policy imperative of the United States,” said Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, addressing U.N. delegates and NGO representatives this week.
Whether or not they listen is up to them.