The Irony of Socially Constructing Gender

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Ironically, on International Women’s Day at the United Nations, so-called “experts” from around the world were arguing that any differences between men and women were “socially constructed.” While celebrating the idea of “woman,” those same ideologues were saying there were really no differences between men and women except for those imposed by their culture and upbringing.

Gary Lundberg from the World Family Policy Center at Brigham Young University begs to differ. “From the beginning of time, there have always been differences between males and females. These differences need to be recognized and worked with instead of denied. There is no excuse for abuse, domination or violence from one sex to the other. We must

make sure that there is equal protection and equal opportunity for both. At the same time, we must take care that in raising up one sex we not devalue the other.”

Lundberg’s remarks point up another irony. While lamenting the way women have been devalued over the years, these ideologues are expressing a virulent hatred for men. The pendulum has swung so far, in fact, that Joy Lundberg from the World Family Policy Center at Brigham Young University cautioned, “We need to value and preserve men’s masculinity.”

Even more ironic, these are the same folks who are saying that homosexuality is innate and thus a human right. There was also, ironically, considerable discussion about the gender differences in HIV/AIDS susceptibility and transmission.

Douglas Sylva, Ph.D., vice president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, a full-time pro-family non-governmental organization (NGO) presence at the United Nations, said, “The themes of this Commission highlight the problems of instituting a social construct theory of gender. This Commission should not be attempting to impose on the world the view that men and women are identical and that the family should be redesigned to reflect this.”

Standing nearby, Peter Smith, though head of an international NGO headquartered in England thought it was more important to identify himself as both a husband and father, shook his head and added, “This is nonsense; this is lunacy. They can’t just impose these ideas on everybody around the world! Many women don’t even want 50-50. My wife is a professional woman and she chooses to work part time. Like lots of other women, she wants to be able to do what she wants to do. She would have no interest in doing what I do. This is nothing but dictatorship.”

Of course, another irony is that the United Nations cannot force anything; it does not have lawmaking authority. What it has is the ability to “socially construct” culture through their international influence and power – especially among rogue nations and Third World countries.

That power is substantial when poor nations are dependent upon the U.N. and their leaders are beholden to the U.N.

That power is significant when powerful NGOs from the United States use corporate and foundation largess to train law enforcement, military, educators, legislators and opinion leaders.

That power is crucial and timely when it comes just after a war when a nation is rebuilding and, as most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, when it is writing new constitutions and choosing new leaders and establishing new governments.

The power that is flowing into those vacuums right now – in innumerable countries — is largely underwritten by the United Nations and its powerful and wealthy – and ideologically FAR, FAR LEFT – NGOs.

A few examples from remarks made at the United Nations podium will illustrate how widespread is the ideology.

  • Njoki Wainaina, a panelist from Kenya, spoke about how “running through the evaluations from hundreds of gender sensitization workshops” revealed how eye-opening it was to understand “the concept of gender socialization.”
  • R.W. Connell from the University of Sydney, Australia, discussed the consequences of “rigid gender divisions.” Jorge Lyra from Papai Institute in Brazil railed against “hegemonic masculinity: white, heterosexual and dominant.”
  • A representative from Japan, Dr. Yoriko Meguro, sketched out Japan’s “Next Generation” plan (already passed into law), which mandates percentages of child-care leave, and talked about the “peaceful place” of a “gender-equal society” and declared, in an astounding statement, that Japan was reforming its entire education system “in order to promote gender equality in every sphere of society, in schools, home and in the community.”

Clearly, the hundreds of such workshops sponsored by the U.N. have tremendous influence worldwide on people’s understanding of so-called gender identity and socialization.

The U.N. debates, while sometimes seemingly endless, have long-range implications for the future and for many nations. CWA’s commitment to send a team, to participate, to lobby, to report, to analyze and provide commentary is an essential counterbalance to the activities of the well-funded, well-entrenched NGOs, and is a vital alternative voice to the huge, high-priced staffs that provide volumes of research and glossy public relations publications and campaigns.

The Scripture is filled with God’s taking small things and limited resources – and then using them far beyond what those involved ever could have imagined. From Gideon faithfully reducing his army at God’s command to Daniel trusting God in the lion’s den to David’s five small stones to Paul’s influential missionary journeys, we have example after example of God’s using simple people who “just show up” and trust Him for the resources in powerful, unexpected ways. That’s what happens when CWA and our friends go to the U.N. and raise our voices for eternal principles. And, that’s why your support of CWA and your prayers for our team on-site at the U.N. are so powerful, lasting and influential.

Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse and Wendy Wright are non-government organization (NGO) representatives to the United Nations from Concerned Women for America. Dr. Crouse is Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute. Miss Wright is Senior Policy Director responsible for international and life issues. They are in New York attending the 2004 sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women.

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