Is the Commission on the Status of Women Passé?
There is almost no media coverage of the 51st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in any of the various media outlets either here in the U.S. or anywhere in the world. Only 10 media representatives are at the United Nations headquarters (U.N.) to cover this supposedly major world event. Those facts alone would seem to indicate that, perhaps, indeed the CSW is passé.
It is estimated that 4,000 women and 200 girls are in attendance at this final week of the CSW. In addition, there are hundreds of Non-Governmental Representatives (NGOs) and delegates from 45 countries. Those numbers ought to indicate a significant conference of world-wide interest. Compare, for instance, the media attention given this week to the U.S. Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. which had roughly the same attendance. Actually, there is no comparison -- CPAC generated media excitement and produced coverage in television, radio, print and blogs.
That was true of the CSW in times past.
When I came to New York for the Beijing +5 CSW, there was a separate trailer parked outside the U.N. headquarters to handle media credentialing. Lines stretched down the length of the sidewalk for NGOs to get into two other trailers for their credentialing. Now, registration for the CSW, along with registration for other concurrent conferences, is easily handled in the lobby of the U.N.
The lack of media interest is just one more sign that the influence of feminism has peaked and is beginning to wane. It is one more sign that the world is not interested in hearing women drone on and on about so-called "women's issues." Even this year, when the theme, "Violence Against Women and Girls," ought to resonate with all, there is a yawning realization that the CSW, regardless of the topic, will merely talk about the "same-old, same-old" --- they will argue that the solution to any problem is "gender equality" and they will quote figures and tell anecdotes that falsely conflate serious legitimate concerns with frivolous issues of dubious significance. There is nothing fresh or new on the agenda. One year's side events are just like the next year's roster of seminars and workshops.
There is increasing awareness, too, of the left's manipulation of issues to serve their radical agenda. The public is genuinely interested in addressing female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and other real forms of violence against women, legitimate issues that must be eradicated. They are tired, though, of having the CSW and other leftists manipulate those issues to push their grab-bag agenda of quotas, governmentally-mandated housework by husbands, universal abortion-on-demand, mainstreaming approval of lesbianism and pushing so-called "sexual freedom" while telling teens that they can be "safe" if they'll only use a condom. The public is also tired of skewed statistics and outrageous attacks against the U.S. -- claiming that the U.S. is responsible for any and all of the world's problems and that we aren't doing our share in tackling those problems.
While the left is complaining about the outside world's lack of interest in the goings-on at the CSW, the conservative groups are there armed with TRUTH. Isabel Hilton, on her blog, "Comment is Free," said, "There is one group, though, that is not ignoring the CSW: one of the bigger presences in New York is of the Christian women's groups of the right." Of course, neither Hilton nor any of her friends are happy about conservative participation, particularly religious conservatives. But our success is further indication that liberal domination of the CSW has lost its punch.
The left is convinced that the women’s agenda would be moving forward splendidly except for us pesky religious conservatives. Hilton complained, “Access to propaganda-free sexual education worldwide is systematically undermined by religious conservative groups.” (Her statement illustrates the exaggerated rhetoric of the CSW.) In truth, the CSW has long been an exclusive club for leftists who enjoy getting together to promote the latest utopian schemes and radical approach to problem solving. Having dissenters among them exposes their nonsense. Worse, presentations by the religious conservatives of the facts regarding liberals’ usurpation and abuse of the U.N.’s machinery point out the ineffectiveness of their programs and the underlying fallacies of their ideology.
But, make no mistake, the left is wily. Though they have been partially rebuffed in their efforts to add to the specificity of their demands, now they are turning their attention to “implementation and enforcement” of some of their vaguely worded resolutions. They tell nations to be “flexible” in their interpretations to suit the cultural circumstances. Their new strong-arm approaches can be accomplished “under the radar” of international awareness.
Further, enforcement through “interpretation” by these U.N. councils is, supposedly, beyond the reach of the religious conservatives. In other words, they are working to increase the power of the accountability councils for the various treaties so that those U.N. treaties will have precedence over national customs and cultures, as well as over national sovereignty in legal matters. By intimidating developing countries into believing that they have no choice but to abide by the left’s radical interpretations of U.N. treaties, the accountability councils are able to accomplish what the left was unable to achieve through reasoned discourse and negotiated agreements. This is their way around the objections of nations and the official reservations attached to treaties.
While the CSW meetings are becoming more and more passé, the left’s promotion of their radical agenda to displace traditional Judeo-Christian moral standards for family life continues unabated. The enforcement efforts are a new form of colonialism where these privileged women of the West are exporting the worst of their ideology – a pathetic mixture of neo-pagan values and failed Marxist nostrums – to vulnerable girls and women of developing nations. We will continue to reveal the truth and we’ll continue to support those whose efforts are transforming hopeless situations through the liberating power of the truth that human dignity and freedom are God’s intention for women as well as men; how can we do otherwise?
We have seen the results of the failed approach of social engineering by Fascists and Communist dictators in countries all around the world; instead of the Utopian goals they promised to fulfill, the track record of totalitarian government control is one of famines, secret police, concentration camps and gulags. It is high time that the liberals at the U.N.’s CSW stop their ridiculous attempts to resurrect the senseless notion that massive government control is the way to bring heaven on earth. What is the simple truth that Conservatives must defend against this massive lie? Democracy and freedom – grounded in Judeo-Christian morality – are the proven means to provide the hope and opportunity that is God’s intention for all mankind.
Janice Shaw Crouse, Director and Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, will be in New York at the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women for the next two weeks. She will be writing a nightly commentary on each day's proceedings.
Sarah Rode, an intern with Concerned Women for America's Ronald Reagan Memorial Internship Program, assisted with the research for this article.
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