Thousands of women from around the world are gathered in New York at the United Nations Headquarters for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in order to spend two weeks figuring out how to pay for so-called “gender equality.” As always, the cause of “gender equality” is phrased in economic and legal terms laden with serious overtones about such efforts being “central to human development” and the “deleterious consequences” if we fail to “construct a world” that is “fit for women and children.” Beyond the other heavy rhetoric, is a new and even more portentous argument: these efforts are not just necessary, they are “morally right.”
There is a palpable sense that this year’s CSW is skirting controversy during this election season in the United States. It is tacitly understood that if either Senator Barak Obama or Senator Hillary Clinton becomes President of the United States, the pathway to gender equality around the world will become a super highway, so the priority now at CSW is to set policies that will make money available to do what “is necessary and morally right.” Then, when the political will is nailed down, the agenda can move forward unhindered.
Let’s review the highlights of the “gender equality” agenda because it is much broader than one would suppose. It is based solidly on quotas, not opportunities. Various countries are evaluated on the numbers and percentages of women in various endeavors — equality in households, equality in employment, and equality in politics and government. The CEDAW committee has already scolded countries because its men were not helping enough with the housework. The phrase “gender equality,” as defined by the radicals, is meaningless without a commitment to meet the genuine needs of people who are concerned with getting pure water and basic medicines like aspirin and penicillin to their villages, rather than in establishing quotas for political gamesmanship or furthering Western imperialism.
And that is the crux of the problem. The agenda includes heaping blame on the U.S. for its supposed neglect of women’s issues. Recently, however, fair journalists recognized that the United States has not received credit for the effective help over the past eight years in Africa. We provided $55 million to African nations to improve legal rights for women, and we work to end violence against women in the form of honor crimes and abuse against displaced women. The U.S. has committed $15 billion in AIDS relief in more than 120 countries (especially Africa) and $500 million to combat the transmission of HIV/AIDS from mother to child. The United States has led 110 other nations in sponsoring efforts to facilitate women’s participation in political processes. We have given $400 million for educational opportunities in Africa to benefit 80 million children. In Afghanistan and Iraq, various initiatives at a cost of over $10 million have helped women gain the skills they need to participate in civic activities that build democracy and effectively empower women. In the fight against human trafficking, the U.S. has spent $280 million in 120 countries. These are just a few of the ways that our nation is helping women achieve their potential in realistic and effective ways. In contrast, the United Nations’ agenda for women hinges on universal access to abortion-on-demand.