John Leo
Once again the push is on for the Senate to ratify CEDAW, the U.N.'s women's rights treaty that has been hanging around since 1979. CEDAW is the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.

There's a good reason why the Senate has ignored it for a generation: It's an incredibly toxic document, the work of international bureaucrats determined to impose a worldwide makeover of family relations and "gender roles." CEDAW is a blueprint for foisting the West's radical feminism on every nation gullible enough to sign on. (Talk about cultural imperialism.) Some 167 nations have signed the treaty, many with no intention of observing it. But the CEDAW ferociously monitors every nation's compliance. It has a few enforcement mechanisms and plans more. The idea is that someday, nations may not be able to resist.

CEDAW is a more perverse version of American radical feminism, circa 1975: It bristles with contempt for family, motherhood, religion and tradition. Parents and the family don't count. The state will watch out for children's rights. The treaty extends access to contraception and abortion to very young girls, and imposes "gender studies" on the schools and feminist-approved textbooks on students.

The committee enforcing CEDAW criticized Belarus for reintroducing Mother's Day ("a sex-role stereotype") and strongly urged Armenia to combat the image of "the noble role of mother." It complained that voters in Ireland seem to reflect Catholic values and warned Libya that the Quran can only be followed within "permissible" limits set by CEDAW. Feminists will decide what religions may teach.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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