Two of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA’s) experts are attending the 50th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held February 27-March 10 at United Nations headquarters in New York. Wendy Wright, CWA’s President, will be directing efforts of the pro-life, pro-marriage, and pro-family citizen lobbyists during the session’s second week. Miss Wright has attended and reported on U.N. conferences on women, population and cloning since 1997.
Dr. Janice Crouse, who heads CWA’s think tank, The Beverly LaHaye Institute, will report on and analyze the current CSW sessions. Dr. Crouse has particular expertise on emphases at this year’s CSW: violence against women, sex trafficking, Convention to End All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), women’s empowerment, and women’s political participation. Her report follows.
U.N. Headquarters, New YorkThursday at the 50th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the United States delegation held a briefing for the non-government organizations (NGOs), including Concerned Women for America. Invariably, the leftist groups come to these periodic briefings prepared to dominate the question and answer (Q & A) session now that the delegation is politically and socially conservative.
Thursday’s meeting was no exception.
The Anglican women spread out throughout the room all seemingly prepared to ask questions that would pin the conservative delegation down and push the envelope on their left-wing priorities. At least half a dozen of the Anglican women dominated the questioning. Also, Linda Bales, a representative of the United Methodist Women’s Division, spoke, she claimed, “on behalf of our denomination” when she expressed “significant concern” about “tragic cuts” in family planning, which in U.N.-speak includes abortion on demand and contraceptives for anyone without question, including very young teens. Women of the church will, no doubt, be surprised at her brash assumption that she can speak for them and angry that she thinks her perspective reflects theirs.
It’s always amusing to see the left’s new rhetoric at each session of the CSW. The latest this session is “reserved seats” as a euphemism for quotas. The new lingo emphasizes the priority that leftist women give to establishing quotas as essential to gender equality. Everywhere you turn in the U.N. are posters, fliers, brochures, booklets and reports about “gender equality”: Budgeting for Gender Equality, Pathway to Gender Equality, Promoting Gender Equality, etc. One NGO woman blatantly asked, “If not quotas, what other ways can we use to get women in influential places?” Another wanted to know what could be done to get a woman as the next Secretary General of the United Nations.
Then, there is the continued campaign to get the U.S. to sign the radical treaty called Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The purpose of CEDAW, as stated in its preamble, is: “A change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women.” Five questions during the Q & A were about ratifying the CEDAW treaty. A new booklet from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) links CEDAW, Beijing and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the “pathway” to gender equality. The booklet makes it clear that the goals of CEDAW and the Platform for Action from the Beijing conference (Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing) are the lens through which women’s right to gender equality must be viewed, understood and implemented. Indeed, an explicit goal of the MDGs is to implement CEDAW and Beijing’s Platform for Action.
In fact, the latest draft sketching the future work of the CSW specifically includes its relationship with CEDAW and Beijing to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women. The draft emphasizes the responsibility of CSW to focus on two goals: (1) policy development and (2) review of progress. Every future CSW, then, would be structured around development of a specific policy and review of progress on past policy goals. The draft stresses the importance of statistics and data in reviewing and evaluating progress which feeds into the emphasis on quotas! Another new emphasis very apparent at this year’s CSW is the focus on budgeting, including numerous recommendations regarding the “financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women.”
Then, there are the ridiculous demands for “equal participation for men and women in decision-making at all levels” (emphasis mine) and “equal sharing of responsibilities between men and women, including care giving in the context of HIV/AIDS.” It would be fascinating to hear how the liberals plan to implement equality in care giving (Hire more male nurses? Provide someone at federal expense to care for the patient if the spouse is the “wrong” sex?)
There is a powerful undercurrent of support for the U.N. and its radical agenda. One woman asked the U.S. delegation to explain the American attitude of distrust toward the U.N. After all, she said, “We live in a global economy, so we must have global governance.” Another woman added that the U.S. had to understand the relationship between the world economic policy and the world trade policy and then reconcile both with their impact on women. Others, of course, believe that Information and Communications Technology is the driver of gender equality around the world that women won’t be able to compete on a level playing field until they have technical skills equal to men.
The most striking quality of the women of the left, though, is their intensity and their anger.
I overheard a very telling exchange. A woman challenged the U.S. delegate to make sure more women became candidates for elected office and added a question, “Why don’t you run for office?” The U.S. delegate said that she wasn’t interested in running around all over the country and leaving three small children at home. The leftist said she could understand that; she was glad her children were now in college. “Why don’t you run for office, then?” asked the delegate. “It wouldn’t do to have my life scrutinized there’s too much that would be a problem,” she said.
So, the woman who desperately wants women in decision-making has a past that can’t be made public, and she is pushing so-called women’s rights sexual freedom, abortion, lesbian rights as the path to gender equality! Go figure the logic in that!
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse is representing CWA, a Non-Government Organization at the U.N.’s 50th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.