One would think that the just-released 148-page United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, “The State of the World’s Children 2007” –– with its exclusive focus on gender equality –– was produced by leftists and feminists. Instead, it is the product of Ann M. Veneman, the Executive Director of UNICEF and a Bush appointee who promised to bring back a sane perspective on children’s issues. It is obvious at the outset, however, that the report merely re-packages the feminist agenda without even changing the tired old rhetoric.
The first page of the report focuses on “the discrimination and disempowerment women face throughout their lives” –– and outlines what must be done to “eliminate gender discrimination and empower women and girls.” It is not until the very bottom of the first page that the thesis for the report reveals some connection with children: “The rights of women and children are mutually reinforcing.” The whole second page of the report builds the case that gender equality is essential for “child survival and development” and that the Millennium Declaration is essential for constructing a world “fit for both women and children.” In fact, the report bluntly states that the Millennium agenda recognizes the “centrality of gender equality to human development.”
Thereafter, the report argues for “full implementation of CEDAW and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.” Implementation of these “sister treaties,” according to the report, is not just a “method for accelerating human development: It is also morally right.” Later, the report scolds opponents: “Failure to secure equality for all has deleterious consequences for the moral, legal and economic fabric of nations.”
So there it is on the second page of the report –– God is on the side of the U.N.’s agenda. I’m glad that the U.N. approves of morality somewhere; it’s just an interesting connection. The report laments, “CEDAW contains among the highest number of reservations of any United Nations treaty.” The fault, according to the report of course, is not the treaty itself; instead, the report adds an editorial comment that the reservations indicate “world-wide resistance to women’s rights.” Unbelievably, a whole section of the report is devoted to “equality in the household.” I was reminded of the fact that the CEDAW committee has already scolded one nation because its men were not helping with the housework enough. Does the U.N. really have a role in making sure that men share housecleaning responsibilities? And exactly how does such help benefit children?