REPORT: by John BarichNews Weekly
More of the same at UN women's conference
, May 22, 2004
The latest international talkfest on family-related issues was the 48th Meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women: 1-12 March, 2004. It turned out as expected - a lengthy, over-represented, expensive United Nations forum.
Australia was represented by one ambassador, one senior public servant, Prue Goward (Sex Discrimination Commissioner), four other public servants and two representatives of Australian Women's organisations.
Even if all countries represented at the UN had delegations averaging half that of Australia, say four people, there were about three thousand persons in attendance. The cost of airfares and accommodation for such a large group staying for twelve days would amount to over $15 million.
As this was the 48th Meeting the total cost of these meetings would be around $500 million.Jargon
The topic for this meeting was "The role of men and boys in achieving gender equality". Most of the presentations used a standard form and jargon. I found it most demeaning for highly-educated, professional women to subject themselves to such mindless incantations as the spread of AIDS is mainly due "to male domination" - without any mention of male-to-male sex - and that "armed forces use prostitutes" without appearing to object to the legalisation of prostitution.
The Australian delegation was able to mention the importance of fathers, the US referred to sexual abstinence and the Holy See repeated its position on the importance of the traditional family. My comments on the Australian delegation discussion paper were:
(a) There are 40 per cent more degreed women than men in the 25-29 age group (Bob Birrell's report on the decline of Partnering in Australia).
(b) An overwhelming majority of primary school teachers are women.
(c) Women are given custody of children in a majority of cases.
(d) Men are more highly paid because they work longer hours in away-from-home places.
(e) The role of mothers and fertility (addressed by Bob Birrell's report).
(f) Whether "Family Planning" is sex education or spacing of births. The former requires values education, not just mechanical knowledge.
(g) How can total equality in childcare be achieved? Will boys/fathers be asked to feed babies with expressed milk?
(h) How boys will get to know their fathers when IVF for single women is tolerated?
(i) The devastating effect on boys of being deprived of their fathers through divorce.
(j) The deep resentment of children, especially boys, when their mother separates from their father and takes a live-in lover.
The Australian delegation sponsored the attendance of the well-known Australian left-wing activist, Dr Bob Connell. On the other hand, Endeavour Forum held a workshop on the link between abortion and breast cancer addressed by Joel Brind and Dr Lanfranchi.
Focus on the Family made an extensive submission stressing the diversity of roles of men and women, the benefits of marriage for both sexes, the importance of intact marriages for children, the importance of father love and mother love for children and the unique contribution of fathers to the healthy development of boys and girls.Self-esteem
They concluded that, "the best way men can contribute to the well-being of women and girls is to love, respect, be faithful to, build the self-esteem of and be involved in the lives of their wives and daughters, and to teach their sons to do the same."
The Worldwide Organisation of Women, which has a couple attending full-time at the UN, organised a workshop stressing the 23 or so biological differences between men and women which make sameness rather difficult.
Feminists at the UN continue to use the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to threaten the sovereignty of individual nations, destroy the role of wife and mother and attempt to reform all aspects of our lives including acceptable cultural traditions and religions.
The US has not ratified this Convention or the one on the Rights of Children or the International Criminal Court.