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Feminist Scheme for U.N. Reform
July 19, 2006
by Carey Roberts

You know things are getting desperate at the United Nations when its leaders begin to listen to feminist proposals to revitalize this talk-much, do-little, scandal-ridden bureaucracy.

Following months of deliberation, in April the UN jettisoned its Human Rights Commission in favor of its new Human Rights Council. That's a good cost-cutting move, since the new signs will only have to cover up the last 8 letters of the old name and replace them with "uncil." And perfectly fine to use up the old HRC stationery, as well.

And thank goodness the new membership of the new Human Rights Council includes such upholders of individual freedoms and civil liberties as Cuba, China, and Russia.

Of course we're all supposed to stand up, applaud, and send in our check. Just for the record, U.S. taxpayers pony up $420 million a year to the United Nations for "assessed" dues, plus billions more in "voluntary" contributions to the overall U.N. system.

In a recent article in the Financial Times, Kofi Annan espoused the Alice-in-Wonderland view that everything would be just fine if only the United States would stop bruising the sensitivities of all the developing countries by wielding its "power of the purse."

Maybe we should all chip in and buy Mr. Annan a little sign to put on his desk to remind him, "The Buck Stops Here."

Are you ready for the next round of this Funny Farm routine?

In April a coalition of U.S. women's groups sent a letter to Mr. Annan complaining the world body did not "more powerfully represent women's empowerment and gender issues," and demanding a new agency be established to advance the feminist cause.

And like a white knight in shining armor, Stephen Lewis has come to the rescue of the beleaguered belles. "For 20 years I've felt that the rights and needs of women in the UN system are largely unattended," Mr. Lewis emotes. "They make up more than half of the world's population but efforts to address their problems have been a travesty."


That's right, all those agencies, programs, and campfire circles devoted to women's issues simply aren't doing enough.

After all, nobody pays attention to the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women, the UN Population Fund, the Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues, or the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).

What does it matter that the World Health Organization has more women's health programs than it can keep track of? UNICEF has a high-profile Go Girls! Program, but everyone knows its budget is a mere pittance.

And then those treaties designed to lift the ladies out of their bondage, like the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children -- they're as worthless as the paper they are printed on!

To make his case, Lewis peddles grievances that are so far-fetched as to be farcical. Here's one: "Women are more insecure in the working world, unemployed longer and more frequently than men."

Yes, being forced to take care of the kids and having to accept money from a male breadwinner must be a tremendous burden.

Other claims are rendered meaningless with telltale qualifiers like "up to" and "as many as." Here's an example: "Up to 3 million women a year lose their lives to gender-based violence or neglect."

Of course the U.N.'s World Report on Violence and Health found that men are twice as likely to die from violence-related causes as women. But the excess number of male deaths does not appear to trouble Mr. Lewis much.

Last week was not a good one for Mr. Lewis' crusade for a feminist Camelot.

First the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute denounced the idea as "another UN absurdity....the UN is almost totally about radical feminism and such an agency would be a remarkable redundancy."

Then the Concerned Women for America, one of the largest women's groups in the country, gave the proposal an even stronger tongue-lashing. "Lewis' proposal would dramatically strengthen the already-incredibly-strong radical feminist influence at the U.N.," the CWA noted. "There's no need to create another wasteful U.N. agency just to give feminist activists a secure paycheck and platform."

The feminist infiltration of the United Nations is one of the biggest reasons why this once-respected organization has lost its social relevance and moral compass. Ambassador Bolton, let's put this proposal out of its misery before it inflicts any more damage.

Carey Roberts has been published frequently in the Washington Times, Townhall.com, LewRockwell.com, ifeminists.net, Intellectual Conservative, and elsewhere. He is a staff reporter for the New Media Alliance.

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