• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • The Radical Feminists’ World Tour

    There’s a reason a large portion of the world’s poor are women. In underdeveloped nations, women lack the skills or opportunity to change their environments, leaving them in a losing cycle of economic helplessness.

    In Rwanda, more than one-third of households are run by women, and 80 percent of those are impoverished widows. In Kosovo, 62.8 percent of women are unemployed, which often leads to human trafficking. In Sudan, a large majority of women are illiterate, and one in six dies in childbirth, according to Women for Women International.

    The economic disparities are just the beginning. In places like Iran, women are stoned for just being accused of adultery. In Bahrain, they can’t drive or vote. The inability to hold jobs or become educated only adds to these inhumane circumstances.

    Education and economic empowerment are the primary ways women in these nations can overcome their oppressive environments. They don’t need the bra-burning liberal feminism of 1960s America; they need rights, opportunity, and strong international policy to support them in a quest for economic independence.

    Unfortunately, the liberal feminists of the U.S. have decided to move their radical agenda of sexual politics beyond the United States and into the United Nations. Their destructive feminist agenda is currently enveloped in the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as “UN Women.”

    In the U.S., feminist rhetoric can usually be boiled down to abortion. It’s not much different at the U.N., as new policy pushes to reduce “the diverse economic, political and social needs of women around the world to issues of sexuality and fertility,” writes Heritage’s Grace Melton.

    The leaders of this new movement are more concerned that women in oppressed countries like Saudi Arabia have access to multiple types of birth control before they have permission to drive a car or get a job.

    And while the “UN Women” website emphasizes the absence of female involvement in the international political and economic processes, that concern takes a back seat to sexuality, birth control, and fertility.

    Issues of sexuality and fertility are certainly concerning, but women suffering around the world would benefit more from tangible policies that empower them to vote, get an education, become entrepreneurs, fight disease, and effectively care for their families. The limited resources available shouldn’t be directed toward the issues that matter least on the scale of importance.

    As Melton writes:

    Too often, radical feminists and their allies within the U.N. bureaucracy dominate the social policy agenda, emphasizing sexual and reproductive rights when it comes to issues concerning women and even children. Given the significant—sometimes life-threatening—issues women face around the globe, the opportunity costs of misdirection of international attention and resources toward this agenda are tragic.

    “UN Women” has already squabbled over the technical definition of “gender,” fought for the legalization of prostitution, and refused to advocate marriage as the best option for families. Essentially, the organization seeks free-for-all access to abortion and worldwide acceptance for unmarried parenthood.

    But there are actual needs to be met and, as Melton writes, the U.S. “should work conscientiously to identify and address [those.]”

    “UN Women” has misidentified priorities in helping truly oppressed women in struggling countries. A woman isn’t going to climb out of poverty by being labeled a victim or told that having too many children is her vice. In many countries, women want lots of children—something American feminists simply can’t comprehend.

    “UN Women” needs to seriously re-evaluate its priorities. Resources should be directed toward activities that will empower women as providers, consumers, and creators.

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    18 Responses to The Radical Feminists’ World Tour

    1. Erin Shumaker, Lakew says:

      "“UN Women” needs to seriously re-evaluate its priorities. Resources should be directed toward activities that will empower women as providers, consumers, and creators."

      Understatement of the Year – 2011…by a long shot

      Seriously, how in the world do people think that giving people multiple options for birth control is giving them an opportunity to climb out of poverty?? This organization is a classic example of misplaced priorities. It is so sad that they are not focused on the right things – economic empowerment, the ability to drive, and the ability to vote. Targeting those things is how we can help other nations build themselves up…microloans, life skill education, and helping them fight for REAL rights.

    2. Marilyn Slentz, Texa says:

      They are like unions…..not needed. If they would stand up for conservative women I might change my mind. Hell would freeze before they stand up for a conservative woman.

    3. Bobbie says:


      To be an "Un-Woman" is like, "not woman." Organizations promoted by government influence are implemented for the benefit of government, not women. If it's okay with the oppressive leaders without opposition, something isn't right?

      Independent organizations run by free women, inspire strength and self confidence and the "natural role of women," without obligating the expense on those without choice ( or involvement.)

      There's no such thing as "gender equality" since we are both physically different for different purposes, so quit with the ignorance ladies and gentlemen and government of wrong influence. Stop dummying down the world!

      Women of the world deserve the opposite of this anti-women, misleading organization that hide behind government and supported by obligated force of tax dollars. What is the un doing if oppression still exists anyway? DEFUND!

      Give women of the world, video of sarah palin, michelle bachmann, michelle malkin, laura ingram, barb white, etc. Those are the women that exemplify the qualities of the female gender. It won't use up man made energy!

    4. Eve Marie Barner Gle says:

      Very well said Ericka!

    5. Phillip Davis says:

      It is a sad affair that the American feminist movement is more concerned about birth control and sexuality. Rather than the common rights that would set oppressed women of the world from their bonds of slavery and less than human living conditions.

      The feminist movement of America is so out of touch with the rest of the world. Their ignorance is staggering or is it just plain stupidity!

    6. Tim Az says:

      It seems as though the the platform for the UN Women is to ensure that women can practice prostitution without the interruption of pregnancy. Why else would they refuse to pursue voting rights and the ability for women to be masters of their own destiny through education and becoming entrepreneurs? I guess if they were to achieve the above mentioned goals they would no longer have a purpose. So they must avoid a platform that would actually promote real policies that would truly empower women. Wolves in women's clothing it would appear.

    7. Pingback: The Morning Links (6/10) | From the Desk of Lady Liberty

    8. Jim Carlyle says:

      Good article. You avoided the impact of the Muslim religion on these issues although most of your examples were related to the practices of Islam regarding women. Why did you do this?

    9. Jim Carlyle says:

      Good article. You avoided the impact of the Muslim religion on these issues although most of your examples were related to the practices of Islam regarding women. Why did you do this?

    10. Eileen Jerome Dayton says:

      So, let me get this straight. I cannot drive a car. I cannot leave my home unless I am in the company of a close male relative. I cannot show my face, arms or legs outside my home. I cannot get an education. I need four male witnesses to prove I was raped. Yet in the eyes of the United Nations I am not a free woman because I do not have access to birth control? I'm at a loss for words on this one!

    11. Anne VT says:

      as a libertarian gynecologist, I can say you are wrong… birth control is one of the BEST ways a woman can empower herself.. she is no longer at risk of becoming pregnant after rape, she is no longer subjected to be homebound and impoverished while worrying how she will feed her children.. Education about birth control is squelched by many male dominated gov'ts and forums precisely because it is an IDEAL way to keep women DOWN.. how can a woman even consider going to school if she has no childcare? how can she even think about starting a business if she has children to worry about? There is ample evidence that by limiting family size in impoverished countries, women are enabled to educate themselves & earn wages which will lift up not only their families, but their whole village… the idea that religious idealism fits into an argument about gender equality is inappropriate. this is not a way to encourage young women to think for themselves and make their own choices about having a family. think about what you are saying.. in many many cases, the men leave, and the mother/woman is the one left trying to sustain an most impossible situation..

      what value would "knowing how to drive" have if she cannot afford a car?

    12. Rebecca (Montana) says:

      The feminist movement has done more to help destroy the family unit and what should be normal and healthy relationships between men and women. Free sex has not created gender equality – just single, poor mothers. And they have disparaged family and motherhood, once a respected calling held in high esteem by society – now frowned upon as something only a woman with the mentality of a "cow" would choose – unless, of course, she leaves her child in daycare six or more hours a day. Then she is thought of as truly "contributing" to society by using her "brains and talent", while her poor child languishes in daycare, calling for mommy. Oh, but there is "quality time" – a metaphor for the mother deciding when the child needs her, not the other way around, as it used to be. Feminism has helped create selfish, confused and sad women.

    13. Digger says:

      The feminist leaders – humorless, militant, pugnacious, and angry with their particular lot in life, launched programs that were anti-God, anti-capitalism, anti-family, anti-birth, anti-heterosexual and fostered a virulent hatred of anything having to do with males. They no longer wanted to equalize the status of women, but instead wanted to irreversibly alienate women from men and vice versa.

      Betty Friedan, founder of NOW, referred to traditional family life as a "comfortable concentration camp" from which women needed liberation. Sheila Cronan, one of the feminist movements most respected leaders and spokeswomen said, "Since marriage constitutes slavery for women, it is clear that the women's movement must concentrate on attacking marriage."

      To accomplish their goals, terrorist organizations such as the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, the National Education Association, and the People for the American Way, the Gay-Lesbian Caucus, and their ilk have arisen to champion unrestrained sex, homosexual rights, abortion on demand, while they attacked Christian beliefs, conservative organizations, and all the traditional family structures of America.

      The number of displaced homemakers rose twenty-eight percent between 1975 and 1983 to more than three million women. Another twenty percent increase from 1983 to 1988 brought that number to more than four million. An astonishing sixty-one percent of those women suddenly left alone had children under the age of ten at home. Often without job skills and stranded without alimony or child support, as many as seventy percent of these women make less than ten thousand dollars a year, and fifty percent are employed at minimum wage or less. It is, thus, readily apparent why a full seventy-five percent of all Americans living below the poverty line in the United States are women and their children.

    14. Bill, Houston says:

      I do not wish to take on the challenge of arguing for the relevance of the UN. Just for the sake of debate, though, isn't it true that in many of the countries you mentioned, women are regarded primarily as baby-making vessels and from that basic fact, the rest of the oppression follows? Wouldn't attempts to relieve the other forms of oppression ultimately fail if you don't address the more fundamental problem that those women usually do not have much say in how and when they have children?

    15. Dan Downing, Reading says:

      Okay, you think the activists talked about here could better direct their energies elsewhere. That argument can be used for almost any group pushing any agenda. Animal rights activists are ignoring Rwanda and Sudan, etc. to care about and for stray cats. Make sense? You are talking about women and dropping a phrase such as "80% of whom are widows". I ask—who made them widows and what are you doing about it?

      Giving women the chance to pursue political and civil freedoms without the distraction of children seems a reasonable approach. A just approach, according to some schools of thought, would be to run Red Mao type re-education camps for most of the worlds power structure, or else simply purge them in a Stalinist way. Those things won't happen and no one is gong to organize support for them. But birth control is reasonable and achievable. If others

      want to work other paths, that is all to the good. Neither a single bullet nor a million bullets will solve these problems; neither a single minded protester nor a million diverse minded protesters will, either. It does not take a village, it takes hordes of dedicated and fair minded people. Let 'em run.

    16. Cheryl, CO says:

      UN-women, like just about everything else out of the UN, is about the New World Order and UN-freedom, no matter what lovely words it's couched in.

    17. Bobbie says:

      Anne VT Writes: birth control is one of the BEST ways a woman can empower herself.. she is no longer at risk of becoming pregnant after rape, she is no longer subjected to be homebound and impoverished while worrying how she will feed her children.

      first off- birth control is already available and by choice, so why this is such a recognition to call "empowerment" through the government, undermines women severely.

      Anne gives clear implication of shariah law being filtered in. Women should take birth control so she's no longer at risk of becoming pregnant after rape??????? sounds like something to be expected, bound to happen to each and every female whether woman or child!! Like in the despicable book of shariah man made laws of his intolerances and weaknesses. Where Muslim men fear women so much, Muslim men use their physical advantage to brutally harm women to make men feel better? Superior? hide their fact of no self control? not sure what but they sure are pathetic by their own choosing.

      No woman should feel homebound or impoverished without the other half of the act that created human life who's also accountable and is the role of man to provide no matter what ethnic or religious background!!!

      What empowers women is freedom! The expectation to fulfill our ability to be free with backing of the people in our lives! Especially our men that respect us, our inner strength and female qualities. Government does not empower women! Government manipulates like Anne, to make it look so "empowering" when it's nothing but government dependency.

    18. Laylah, California says:

      Early on this article seemed to adopt a zero-sum attitude as if the sum total of the world's women might only have just so many rights and just so much respect, and that thus to ask for enough and more anywhere is to take from somewhere else… it probably got sillier from there forward.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.