United Nations Headquarters, New York City – At the close of each week of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Conference, the United States Delegation has held an NGO, or nongovernmental organization, briefing. Filled with feminists and anti-American sentiment, these meetings have given Ambassador Ellen Sauerbrey, head of the U.S. delegation, an opportunity to dispel rumors and present cold, hard facts about how much the United States is helping women worldwide.
At the second NGO briefing, held Thursday (3/13/03), Mrs. Sauerbrey asked two U.S. delegates, Dr. Janice Crouse, Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute, and Sherry Dew, to address the NGO representatives. This is a highly unusual request since delegates are seldom given a prominent role at the United Nations.
Discussions these past two weeks have focused on sex trafficking and providing access to media and information technology. But during all of the meetings, briefings, debates and late-night talks, radical feminism constantly reared its ugly head at CSW, demanding not only to be heard, but accepted.
It came from Angela King, special advisor on gender issues and advancement of women, who began the conference pushing for 50-50 quotas in gender representation at all levels of the United Nations. It came from the Bureau of CSW, who tried to cajole countries into ratifying and implementing the controversial Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW treaty, which supports universal abortion-on-demand, pushes for children’s autonomy from parental decision-making, and mandates sex education and gender mainstreaming.
It came from Switzerland delegates, who asserted that if men do not equally shoulder household responsibilities, they were guilty of committing violence against women. It came from European Union delegates, who refused to concede that women are vulnerable and open to attacks of violence and further demanded that “all women have a right to have control over and decide freely on their sexual and reproductive health.”
It came from Australia, Canada, Switzerland, Norway and New Zealand, delegations that refused to describe prostitution as inherently harmful to women. It came again from Swiss delegates, who declared that masculinity was among the root causes of domestic violence.
It came from Gloria Steinem, who used her position as co-moderator of a panel discussion to call President Bush “an illegitimate president” who used his position “to divide and endanger the whole world.” It came from far-left NGO representatives, who brazenly asked how the U.S. stance against violence directed toward women compared with our country’s march to war in Iraq.
And so when Dr. Crouse and Ms. Dew walked into the NGO briefing Thursday night, tensions were already high among the 75 to 100 attending.
“There were some pretty strong, militant women saying some very negative things about the United States,” said Joy Lundberg of the World Family Policy Center from the J. Reuben Bark Law School. “Sadly, many of these women were from the United States.”
A huge criticism of many was that President Bush had not given money for condoms to be used to fight the AIDS epidemic in Africa and was instead pushing abstinence, which did not work.
“That’s when Sherry Dew stood up,” Lundberg recalled, “and in the most dignified and articulate manner – and so respectful – said that this administration recognizes that condoms do not protect against AIDS. They make it a little safer but not safe.”
Dew continued to say that the ABC (Abstinence, Be faithful, Condoms) method used in Uganda is the method that will stop this disease-with the emphasis on abstinence since condoms do not work in most cases in the prevention of AIDS. Her remarks elicited great applause.
“It was like someone hushed the whole group and no militant said a word,” said Lundberg. “The opposition was suddenly aware it was not in the majority.”
The anti-American blather stirred again until, at one point, several women were speaking at once. Dr. Crouse gently said, “Ladies, let’s have just one person talk at a time so that we can hear all the comments.”
Several of the women were so incensed they had been referred to as ladies that they began muttering loudly.
“I’m NOT a lady,” one of them grumbled. She stood up and stormed out of the room.
Soon, Dr. Crouse stood to speak. She gave a brief but passionate speech about her love of America and all the good things the United States has done to help countries all over the world. NGO representatives again broke out in thunderous applause.
“Janice was magnificent,” said Lundberg. “She stood in defense of the U.S., and I was so proud of her when she said she was proud to be an American and to represent this administration and the moral principles this administration supports.”
A couple of representatives from Australia were also quick to praise President Bush, saying, “We can be so glad that President Bush is leading the country in doing so many good things for the world.”
One thing was abundantly clear. The U.S. delegation had left an indelible impression on the United Nations. “These two women represented us very well last night,” said Lundberg. “The opposition realized that we are a force to be reckoned with.”