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Paying for "Gender Equality"

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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.

One has only to glance at the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the financial strategy for implementing major U.N. treaties, to see that abortion is essential for “gender equality” and is the “overarching framework” to bring together such disparate goals as economic empowerment, peace building, combating HIV/AIDS and reducing violence against women. Further, the document makes clear the goal of using the MDGs as a tool to evaluate each nation’s efforts to impose “gender equality” (again, embracing abortion as constituting “gender equality”) as the standard for determining that nation’s success in implementing its development agenda. Governments are told that the MDGs are “powerful tools” for enforcing “national and international commitments;” in other words, the United Nations treaties (which have never included abortion, but are often presented erroneously as demanding abortion) are to be forced on nations, overriding their own laws, customs and national sovereignty.

The irony is that the United Nations cannot force adherence to its provisions; it does not have lawmaking authority. But, it has the ability to “socially construct” culture through its international influence and power — especially among Third World countries and rogue nations. That power is substantial when the nations are poor and their leaders are beholden to the U.N. That power is significant when powerful NGOs use corporate largess to train community leaders, educators, legislators, law enforcement, military leaders and opinion leaders in nations around the world. That power is crucial and timely when it influences new constitutions, new leaders and new governments. Thus, the United Nations and powerful corporations that embrace socialist and Marxist ideology and radical social views and values are shaping the understanding of “gender equality” around the world.

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