Women are empowered through the family structure

The family is a place where both women and children across all borders can be empowered, their security enhanced, and peace realized. The UN must advocate for families.
Mattea Merta Montreal, QC

The following is Mattea Merta's statement to the 64th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The 64th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Generation Equality, commenced this week with statements by Member Nations at the United Nations in New York City. This 64th Commission is unique because it revolves around the reviewing of a document first adopted at the Fourth Commission on Women in Beijing in 1995. This 1995 document was targeted by numerous radicalized “feminist” Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) to push for a distorted version of what it is to be a woman, to change the very definition of equality, and to deter women from what is foundational, scientific reality surrounding female biology.

Many in civil society believed women could be empowered through the removal of the male’s role within the natural family equation, or by recreating the important roles both the sexes possess within the family, home, and society in general. With a view toward sex equality, the family was redefined within society. These objectives charted a distorted path in which the beauty and uniqueness of biological females, real women, both independent and those in committed relationships, were challenged in the name of equality.

The primary objectives laid out at the 1995 Commission were the advancement of “equality, development, and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity.” If you have ever been to a UN Commission, you’ll start to notice a trend. Member Nations state that the advancement reached with regards to the objectives of any declaration or document, still isn’t good enough, that there is still much to do to achieve the goals, and that we, both Member Nations and civil society, must push for a more progressive approach in order to speed up the fundamental change in society as often alluded to in UN documents. All this is while challenging societal norms that hinder the so-called “progressive” agenda. In relation to the Beijing Declaration, two topics that are often discussed are the patriarchy and toxic masculinity.

One obsession of the United Nations and her Member Nations was clearly laid out in the Declaration—that of abortion. “Abortion rights” are often disguised by using the loose, made up, and quite frankly, undefinable term of “sexual and reproductive rights.” So called “rights” are not recognized as such in any UN documents. What is significant about this term being adopted into a UN document is that many nations use these documents as rationale to implement specific elements of radical agendas into their national legislation.

Abortion is not and nor should it be a “human right,” a “woman’s right,” or an “intersectional right.” Abortion, if accepted as a human right and defined as such, would denegrate all other human rights, as this supposed right pitts the strong against the most vulnerable. It creates a hierarchical structure that completely dismisses equality, one of the primary goals of the 1995 Beijing Declaration. For what is the value of a right, if that right ignores the individual and says some are of higher value based upon their location, size, ethnicity or sex?

One of the major shifts advocated for over the last decade has been to push for not only the acceptance of, but also the promotion of, an anti-biological woman agenda. This is where the redefinition of what a woman is comes into play. According to bodies within the UN, women are no longer solely defined by a scientific definition, based upon facts, that is in line with a biological female’s genetic make up, chromosomes and physical organs and features. “Women” has become a simple category of individuals that anyone can join, so long as they “self identify” as one. This includes biological males who undergo transition via hormonal injections or gender reassignment surgery. Both sexes, male and female, are unique, one cannot simply be the other. For one to try to take on the form of the other is to dismiss the power of it. To believe one sex can simply “identify,” and therefore become the other sex, corrupts the beauty of the other sex. The sexes are simple and yet profoundly complex in their characteristics and biology, both serve immense purposes that are immediately disposed of when one tries to be the other. The United Nation’s focus should be that of praising the uniqueness of each sex and not in corrupting the significance of either womanhood or manhood.

It is not well known that individual UN bodies are complicit, and actively participating in, erasing the very biological and scientific definitions of women. In a tweet sent out by UN Women a week before the opening of the 64th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Women stated: “Trans women are women at the end of the day. Every woman is a woman. Women are multifaceted, intergenerational, international. They are limitless, formless...women are the world.” To endorse and promote statements that completely debauch biological females and the roles we have within our workplaces, communities, homes and families, is to debauch all women regardless of the positions we hold. To call women “formless” is to reject the absolute intricacies of what it is to be a woman, and I would be remiss if I did not say the exact same about men.

There is one major element that the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action has yet to include in its mandate, even after 25 years after its adoption; the inclusion of the family. The reasons previously laid out are only a few as to why it is so important that the family is included in the Beijing25+ Platform for Action. The protection of the girl child, authentic equality, and the health and well being of all members of society depends upon the state of the family, and are all positions the Beijing25+ declaration should adopt, support and promote.

The Opening of the 64 Session on the Commission on the Status of Women saw the Holy See’s representative give a clear and concise statement in favor of implementing the family into the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action in conjunction with SDG 5, Gender Equality.

Here is the Holy See’s statement: “Mr. Chair, the Holy See welcomes the adoption of the political agenda and would like to thank you personally, the co-facilitators, as well as all delegations on the work undertaken during the negotiations. The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action presents 12 areas which remain a clear road map that should not be overlooked. My delegation is pleased to know that these 12 areas are in the Declaration. From the outset of the negotiations, the Holy See underscored the need for it to be adopted by consensus, it being highly detrimental to the advancement of equality between men and women and the promotion of women and girls, if the international community could not come together around a way forward to reach common goals.”

“It is, therefore, extremely meaningful, and a great achievement, for the political declaration has been adopted by consensus. The Holy See, while welcoming the political Declaration, regrets that it does not include references to the family, and or, the policies, for its support. Women are critical agents of change within society but so too are they within the family, as wives, mothers and primary care givers. In this regard, the recognition and support require adequate policies for a balanced approach between work and family life in other family orientated policies.”

“Such recognition cannot be considered controversial. We will leave many women behind if we do so. Mr. Chair, we must not forget that human rights are universal, interdependent and indivisible, and, therefore, need to be acknowledged and respected as such. This understanding is key to the advancement of women and girls. Finally, the Holy See understands the term gender as grounded in biological sexual identity, male and female, in line with its statement of interpretation of the term gender included in the 4th World Conference on Women. Thank you, Mr. Chair, and congratulations.”

The importance of including the natural family unit into the Beijing Declaration is that it remains one of the most unifying means of supporting, preserving and promoting peace and safety for women and the girl child. National governments as well as international agencies, showing support for the natural family, is a solid way to uplift and empower women and girls everywhere because it reaches beyond ideological lines and national boundaries. This falls perfectly in line with the purposes of the United Nations in its entirety as stated in the UN Charter:

“1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of peace, and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.”

“2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.”

“3. To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human right and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”

“4. To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends.”

The United Nations Resolution on the Protection of the Family clearly states that the Sustainable Development Goals “would be difficult to attain unless the strategies to achieve them focus on the family, which can positively contribute to, inter alia, eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving mental health, and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.”

This Resolution provides strong and substantive reasoning as to why Beijing25+ should include references to the natural family. You may be asking, “How is the natural family unit a sure place for all women and girls to not only be empowered but to thrive?” Here are three means to female empowerment and protection within the family for women and girls everywhere:

First, adolescent girls with a father in the home are less likely to be abused or sexually active, and are two times less likely to get pregnant because of their father’s expressed affection and guidance towards them and their needs.

Second, higher levels of economic development are experienced when there are more married couples in countries across the world. Countries with more married couples directly impact children, as their educational opportunities improve as do their learning capabilities as a result of the emotional, physical and monetary resources available to them through a two parent household. A study sponsored by the Social Trends Institute shows one of the best predictors of growth is the family factor. Thus, strong, intact families create healthier and wealthier nations. This links us back to the Beijing Declaration’s goal of development. One reason there may be higher levels of growth in countries where there are committed, natural families, is because children do better in such environments.

Third, both the girl and the boy child’s health and education are positively affected when the attention, resources and stability of a committed two parent household are in place. One example of this can be found in a study done by Child Trends that included Asia, Latin America, and Africa, showing children were one-fifth less likely to die in intact homes than those in households where mothers were divorced or remarried. Equality between the sexes is learned at home and is on display between a mother and father. Thus, the state of the family should be of utmost importance to governments, inter-government agencies, international bodies, as well as civil society.

The family is the natural and fundamental unit in our societies. Not only should governments the world over be investing into the wealth, health and stability of families, but so should the United Nations, both in word and deed. Why should the UN, an unelected, representational, international body, be invested in the family equal to that of elected governing bodies? Because many countries base their national legislation and foreign policy off documents produced at the United Nations. To neglect the acknowledgement of the family in Beijing25+, and the significance that women have within the family, is to dismiss the remarkable roles of women in our past, as well as those within our present societies; all this, while discrediting the contributions to our collective future by downplaying the roles women will have in their future families, thus, our future world.

In conclusion, the woman’s role within her family is crucial as her family lends to the bedrock of what will, or will not be, a strong society. Women’s and men’s roles in the family unit should not only be protected, but promoted and praised as they lend to the three main objectives outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The family is a place where both women and the girl child across all borders can be empowered, their security enhanced, and peace realized.

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Mattea Merta
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