Now that the Fourth UN Conference on Women has finished, and attention flicks away from the radical feminists and their actions in Beijing, it is tempting to file away the clippings and forget about the radicals’ agenda. Tempting, indeed, but experience shows that the radicals do not go home and move on to other things, they use each international forum to build a foundation for the next.

Not only is there an urgent need to understand the battles fought in Beijing, but the actions of the Canadian delegation, in particular, show that it is time for public scrutiny of just how radical policies are shaped behind closed doors and presented as official government platforms.

Of prime importance for the radicals is a rearrangement of society’s understanding of female roles in the family, community and globally. The goal is to persuade people that there is no innate difference between men and women. The “gender” feminists argue that male and female roles in society are solely products of social conditioning, an artificial barrier to women’s equality.

Gender feminists are obsessed with rooting out and destroying any legislation, domestic and international, which recognizes sexual differences between men and women and attempts to give women protection against discrimination in their maternal roles. In addition, they are not content to start with a “level playing field,” they are pushing for quotas to ensure that women are represented in the same numbers as men in all areas outside the family, whether it be industry, the professions, or government.

At the start of the Beijing conference, the 121-page Draft Platform for Action contained 216 references to the word “gender,” without once providing a definition of the term. Words such as “motherhood,” “marriage” and “family” appeared seldom, and only in contexts where they could be shown in a negative light. The family, for example, was stated to be a source of violence against women.

Even before the conference began, confusion reigned at preparatory meetings where delegates working on the wording for the document to be debated in Beijing struggled to understand “gender.” Many though the term referred to male and female human beings, a polite way of saying “sex.” But “gender,” for its supporters, gives a flexibility not understood with sex, which is confined to male and female. The gender concept allows for five genders: heterosexual male, heterosexual female, homosexual, lesbian, and trans/bisexual.

Conference officials heightened the confusion when they attempted the following definition: “Gender refers to the relationships between women and men based on socially-defined roles that are assigned to one sex or the other.”

Former U.S. Congresswoman Bella Abzug, whose organization, the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), has become the prime mover of the gender feminist agenda at the UN, threw a temper tantrum at the preparatory meeting held in New York in April. She called it “insulting and demeaning” to women to return to the easier term “sex” as more appropriate and precise wording.

“We will not be forced back into the ‘biology is destiny’ concept that seeks to define, confine and reduce women to their physical sexual characteristics,” she told the delegates in an angry speech. “The meaning of the word ‘gender’ has evolved as differentiated from the word ‘sex’ to express the reality that women’s and men’s roles and status are socially constructed and subject to change.”

In the end, the document went to Beijing with “gender” undefined.

Reform MP Sharon Hayes attended the Beijing conference, and left in disgust before the end/ She sums up the gender platform as follows:

“Equality was the first theme of the conference. A majority of Canadians believe equality must include equality of access to health, education and opportunity. Barriers that impede that access must be removed. Equal opportunities should be promoted, while differences are recognized.

“However, ‘gender equality’ explains male and female roles as solely attributed to social conditioning, and it challenges women to achieve equal participation through legislated solutions. Social factors, such as family, religion, custom or men themselves, are considered perpetrators of inequality. ‘Stereotyped roles’ of any kind are questioned, including terms such as ‘mother’ or ‘marriage.’”

Like the Cairo conference on population last year, Beijing illustrates the power wielded by the rich nations against the developing nations. The gender feminist agenda has been swallowed whole and regurgitated as national policy by such countries as the United States, Canada, and the European Union. These delegations can force a radical agenda on the developing nations by threatening to withhold funds for such fundamental needs as clean water systems, immunization programs and basic literacy programs.

Dr. Margaret Ogola, a Kenyan delegate, asked the conference to condemn the “experimentation and dumping of untested and harmful drugs in Africa and other developing countries.” She requested the conference the ensure access to Natural Family Planning, and respect African culture and religious beliefs. None of her requests were granted.

A pro-life observer sat beside a Caribbean delegate who was prepared to speak out against female feticide. The delegate pulled back from the microphone after she checked her country’s briefing book, which instructed her not to speak out on the issue. When asked why she could not speak out, she would only say “because of aid.”

Another pro-lifer, who has over forty years’ experience of international meetings, reported that he had never seen such overt discrimination with session leaders refusing to recognize the requests of delegates to speak when they suspected an intervention which may have gone against the feminist agenda.

At Cairo, the radical feminist agenda had been promoted by the United States delegations, supported by other Western nations. The Vatican worked hard to bring together a strong alliance of Roman Catholic and Muslim countries which succeeded in blocking the most aggressive pro-abortion and anti-family proposals.

In Beijing the anti-family agenda was delivered most visibly by Canada and the 15-member European Union. The U.S. delegation was hampered by a resolution passed by the Republican-led Senate, which prevented it from promoting anti-family measures. Even Hillary Clinton failed to deliver a militant abortion speech at the opening plenary session. However, her speech was more deigned to placate voters at home, where her husband is seeking re-election next year, than to forward the Clinton administration’s pro-abortion and anti-population agenda.

Canada’s 42-member delegation, led by Sheila Finestone, Minister for the Status of Women, spearheaded the move to introduce “sexual orientation” language into the Beijing Platform for Action. Although the attempt failed, officials claimed a victory. “We move incrementally at the UN,” an anonymous Canadian delegate told The Toronto Star. “We made some real progress here.”

This statement leads to the question: on whose authority are such contentious issues supported by Canadian representatives? MP Sharon Hayes contends that any pretence that our delegation represents the public’s view is a sham.

Mrs. Hayes joined the delegation to have input into the Canadian position. Once in China, she discovered that only six negotiators represented our position, the other delegates acted as observers with no opportunity to shape our policy. Most of the delegation, she said, went shopping and sightseeing.

“Canada,” she observed, “introduced or supported terminology that is not yet in our own legislation. In the name of ‘diversity’ we supported ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘sexual rights’ without any definitions or having counterparts of these back home.”

She believes that “Canada should be accountable to Canadians for its activities in international forums such as this. Decisions made in Beijing could affect every department and every policy of our Canadian government.”

Back-bench Liberal MP, Dan McTeague says that the party caucus had no input either into the government’s Beijing platform. He told the Alberta Report that it smacked of social engineering, and suggested it may be a bone thrown to the feminists for their co-operation on the budget. “It’s amazing,” he remarks, “that we’re advocating a policy internationally that we could never sell at home.”

Although the Beijing Platform for Action is not legally binding on any country, it can be used internationally as a lobbying weapon to bring governments into line. In Canada, federal bureaucrats can use it to support any number of “gender equity” programmes.

While Canadian officials celebrate “progress,” Paul Watson of the Toronto Star’s Asian Bureau pointed out:

  • 92 million women living in cities don’t have access to safe drinking water.
  • More than 1 million babies die each year from malnutrition, neglect and abuse, simply because they are girls, according to UNICEF.
  • World-wide there are almost 50 million refuges from war; 75 per cent are women and children.
  • More than 70 per cent of the world’s 1.3 billion people living in absolute poverty are women.

Canadian Agenda

Shortly before the Beijing conference opened in early September, Status of Women Minister Sheila Finestone issued Setting the Stage for the Next Century: The Federal Plan for Gender Equality. This document outlines the government’s domestic gender plans.

Setting the Stage rejects “the same or identical treatment” as a measure of equality, insisting that “positive actions are required to arrive at equal outcomes.” It goes on to outline the following objectives:

  • Implementing gender-based analysis throughout the federal government.
  • Improving women’s economic autonomy, including recompense for their domestic labour.
  • Improving women’s physical and psychological well-being.
  • Reducing violence against women.
  • Promoting gender equality in all aspects of “cultural life.”
  • Incorporating women’s perspectives in governance.
  • Promoting global gender equality.
  • Advancing gender equality for federal employees.

Convention Costs

  • The UN spent $2.5 million U.S. on the Beijing conference.
  • Canada spent $1 million over the last two years helping women prepare reports for the conference.
  • Canada spent $400,000 to subsidize travel and hotel costs for low-income women travelling to the conference. (Pro-life and pro-family groups in Canada had to raise all expenses themselves.)
  • Travel and hotel costs for the official Canadian delegation are $500,000.
  • Grants of $800,000 went to send some 40 observer groups to the Non Governmental Organizations forum. Groups such as the Canadian Labour Congress, NAC, Women and the Law, Women for a Just and Healthy Planet were all funded by taxpayers.

A Muslim reaction

Over one hundred Muslim leaders in Britain, including leaders of Muslim women’s organizations, sent a joint declaration to leaders of Muslim nations worldwide, warning them of the dangers to the family at the UN Conference on Women in Beijing.

The [Beijing] proposals are a masterpiece of deception cunningly camouflaged in the language of a ‘progressive’ lifestyle for women. While using deceptively catchy phrases like ‘the empowerment of women,’ the reality is that the proposals will lead to greater suffering and destruction for women and families of this and future generations.

Muslims in Britain, in common with the world-wide Muslim community of 1,400 million people, including the Muslim member states of the United Nations, object strongly to all proposals which contradict Divine Islamic Guidance; for example:

  • The proposed wider use of abortion, killing unjustly unborn, sacred life, under the guise of ‘reproductive rights and health’ and, by implication, the acceptance of the growing practice of female foeticide.
  • The enforcement of population control, nationally and internationally, through the widespread provision of contraceptive devices, abortion, sterilisation, etc., as part of the so-called programme of ‘family planning’ organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
  • Universal sex education programmes which promote the acceptance and ‘normalisation’ of sex before and outside marriage, including the supply of contraceptive pills and condoms to young people, thus facilitating—even encouraging—adultery and fornication.
  • The acceptance as ‘normal’ of deviant sexual practices such as homosexuality and lesbianism in the name of sexual ‘rights and freedom.’
  • The clear demonstration of a lack of respect for femininity, womanhood and motherhood through abnormal efforts to create ‘equality’ of the sexes which, in reality, means making women like men (what sort of equality is that?), neglecting the natural biology, skills and roles of women and pushing them out onto the open labour (cattle) market.
  • The undermining of marriage as a Divinely-inspired and enjoined contract between men and women around which society can prosper and grow, by destroying the safe family unit and replacing it with new ‘families of various forms’—single parent families, female-headed households and cohabitating and homosexual ‘relationships.’
  • The so-called Gender Quota which depends on women adopting unnatural lifestyles, ignoring biological facts in the quest for social engineering. Both male and female characteristics have been fixed by the Creator of all, for all time; the innate nature of us all should be respected.
  • The removal of parental responsibilities towards their children in matters such as sex education, contraception and abortion, encouraging young people to be more open about these intensely personal topics with complete strangers than with their parents.

The above issues aside, we are unhappy at the use of ambiguous terms in the draft proposals, and disappointed in the lack of emphasis on God, morality, religion and respect for Muslim culture and beliefs. It is worrying to see so much money being poured into such destructive measures as those proposed, in apparent disregard for the negative effects they will have on societies across the globe. It is also worrying to see the UN completely missing the main point at stake and the priority of action when 1.3 billion people around the world—70 per cent of them women—are living in absolute poverty and lack basic needs such as clean water, food and medicine.

Women today are the prime victims of the world’s ills—rape, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual abuse and harassment, abortion, teenage pregnancies, illegitimate children, divorce, children in care, alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, suicide, psychological disturbances, psychosomatic diseases, hormonal disturbances, male diseases, etc.—and yet what the UN is proposing will simply serve to give women more of the same, but in bigger doses! The recipes for marital, social, economic, medical and spiritual disaster are all included in the UN plans.

It is unfortunate that a few wealthy, spiritually-lost, feminist women who are secular and permissive in their outlook (and are essentially anti-women as a result) are attempting to dictate proposals, drafts and plans of action for womankind as a whole, and in the Muslim world and Africa in particular, seeking to override local sensibilities and beliefs. Instead of learning from past mistakes in society and adopting good practices from non-Western lifestyles, these women seek to enforce and impose yet more disaster-laden policies.

We believe that the injustices women face in the world can be eradicated without denying and destroying their basic biological nature, banishing morality and family life, and murdering unborn children by an international programme of abortion.

It is reassuring that Muslims are not alone in the stand we are taking, and that there are many Christians who believe likewise.

If we are to overcome national and international problems of whatever nature, it is essential for human beings to follow the Divine Moral Code which is universal and for all time. Instead of trying to impose what is (sadly) acceptable practice in the West on the rest of the world.