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When the Sisterhood Rules the World: The Sad Tale of UNICEF
December 22, 2004
by Carey Roberts

Women often swap jokes that start with the line, "What if women ruled the world?" Here's one of my favorites: "If women ruled the world, men would learn phrases like, 'You're beautiful,' 'I'm sorry,' and 'Of course you don't look fat in that outfit.'"

So let's ask the more serious question, What if the Gender Warriors ruled the world?

I could take numerous cases where that scenario has already happened, where the Sisterhood has swept into power and recast entire organizations. Examples that spring to mind are the New York Times, National Public Radio, the American Psychological Association, Amnesty International, the National Institutes of Health, and others.

But let's take one example where feminists have been around long enough to really leave their mark: UNICEF.

When I was a kid, people knew there was inefficiency and waste at the United Nations. But everyone would still look to UNICEF as the one agency that was really making a difference, helping children to stay healthy and get a grade-school education.

That was true until the day Jim Grant, visionary UNICEF leader, died.

So in 1995, President Bill Clinton - no doubt at the urging of Hillary -- nominated Carol Bellamy as Grant's replacement. Bellamy is as doctrinaire a feminist as you will find. While serving as a state senator in New York, Bellamy had voted against a bill that would have granted legal rights to an infant who managed to survive a botched abortion.

Once she settled into her tony digs on New York's Upper East Side, Bellamy quickly became bored with UNICEF's mundane programs that doled out measles vaccines and oral rehydration tablets. She wanted to launch UNICEF into the uncharted realm of gender ideology and social engineering.

Feminist dogma teaches that correct ideology should prevail over good science. Take the breastfeeding issue, for instance.

Breastfeeding is known to be healthier and safer than bottle feeding, especially in low-income areas of the world where sanitation is poor. But the feminists charged the UNICEF breastfeeding program portrayed women "as the human equivalent of milking cows." So no more of "breast is best."

Bellamy advocated favoring girls over boys, a practice the United Nations euphemistically refers to as "positive discrimination." She pushed through her pet Go Girls! program, which ignored the fact that in some parts of the world, the schooling of boys lags behind girls.

At an April 3, 2003 press conference, a hyper-inflated Carol Bellamy issued this chauvinistic claim: "Women are the lifeline of these southern African communities. They put food on the table, and they're the ones that keep families going during such crises."

But four months later, Bellamy had her comeuppance.

In August 2003 the Catholic Family and Human Rights Group (C-FAM) issued its explosive report, "Women or Children First?" The exposé documented how UNICEF had become involved in back-door support for abortion programs around the world. The account concluded that under Carol Bellamy, "Radical feminism has come to define the current UNICEF, even to the possible detriment of UNICEF's original mandate to help children".

The Americans weren't the only ones disturbed with UNICEF's new direction.

Earlier this month the leading British medical journal Lancet landed another direct hit. The editorial highlighted UNICEF's failure to develop a coherent strategy for child survival, and how this shortcoming was contributing to the 10 million child deaths each year.

Taking aim at UNICEF's new-found obsession with promoting girls' and women's rights, Lancet leveled this blistering critique: "The most fundamental right of all is the right to survive. Child survival must sit at the core of UNICEF's advocacy and country work. Currently, and shamefully, it does not."

Thankfully, Carol Bellamy's term of office will expire in 2005.

The fact of the matter is, we will never know how many children around the world became the collateral damage of radical feminism. And there is no doubt it will take many years to restore the luster to UNICEF's once-lofty reputation.

Radical feminists argue that men have run the show for too long, and now it's their turn to rule the roost.

But they would be well-advised to not showcase Carol Bellamy's UNICEF, where the feminist dream turned into a children's nightmare.

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