CSW65 Days 5 and 6 Recap!
Issues around gender, justice, and so-called abortion “rights” continued to dominate the 65th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65) stratosphere. Faith groups and churches were also targeted as hindrances that needed to shift in their attitudes around gender and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).
During the side event, “Reclaiming Gender Justice: Countering National, Regional and Global Backlashes,” organized by Sweden, Argentina, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), ACT Alliance, Act Church of Sweden, and Side by Side: Faith Movement for Gender Justice, panelists expressed that churches and faith groups are being used to counteract advances in radical “gender” agendas. Halima Abba Ali Zaid, the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Lead from the African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), for instance, said that religious leaders perpetuate patriarchal institutions.
One of our CLC CSW65 delegates pointed out how UNFPA draws individuals in by seeking common ground in areas like “gender-based violence” and “violence against women,” but then ends up “focusing on abortion, contraceptives, and denying the important role and authority of men and fathers.”
On the topic of the notorious Cairo, Beijing, and Nairobi Conferences, Ib Peterson, UNFPA’s Deputy Executive Director for Management, said we are “closer than ever… but not there yet” in achieving SRHR for all. SRHR advances are “under attack” by, among other evils, “populism,” “nationalism,” and COVID-19. SRHR was stated to be necessary “for [women and girls] to live up to their full potential.” Again, one of our delegates wondered, “How can this [UNFPA] speaker mention contraceptive access and maternal health care in the same sentence, as if these are equally as essential to the health of women? I am feeling a bit offended by the suggestion that I need contraceptives in order to ‘live up to my full potential.’”
Canada’s Minister of International Development Karina Gould appeared at a “Generation Equality” forum where she stated part of Canada’s “feminist foreign aid” agenda was to “shift gender norms” and described how Canada is co-leading a (pro-SRHR) coalition with Malawi and the Netherlands, plus civil society and philanthropic organizations. "It is through social movements that we can bring about true social change... Feminism has become part of the cultural conversation.” She claimed access to abortion is essential to the health of women, men, boys, girls…and that when “safe” abortion isn’t accessible, women and girls pay the price. She argued that the “disproportionate” impact of COVID-19 on women and girls reveals the need for “comprehensive” SRHR, and mentioned how when the pandemic began, abortion was identified as an “essential” service in Canada.
Several of CLC’s delegates, along with pro-lifers from around the world, took over the chat groups, where we presented a unified voice for the unborn, most especially when Minister Gould had the stage. Many questions were presented, and yet again, completely ignored by the panelists.
In a UNICEF USA event titled, “Girls’ Education: Access, Obstacles and Impact to Achieving Gender Equity,” two of our delegates asked the following questions which were never answered by the panelists, but did engage the attendees of the event:
CLC's Global Policy & Advocacy Advisor Mattea Merta: “Does UNICEF take into account the unique social demographics of the world's populations when pushing for curriculums such as comprehensive sexuality education [CSE] in nations where much of CSE's subject matter essentially attacks the values and beliefs of nations?”
Joanna: “A question for Andrea [Clemons, an Education Specialist at UNICEF]: you return to the idea that the curriculum is not relevant to girls, and that boys and girls are equally important in the equation for achieving equality. Would it be more effective to change the curriculum to be equally relevant to girls and boys, OR should there be a different curriculum for each?”
As we enter into the final week of CSW65, our team is ready to dominate the conversation, dismantle the lies that comprehensive sexuality education empowers children and present the facts that abortion kills a human being, hurts women, and greatly affects the social fabric of nations. Here’s to week two!