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.
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.