Life, Love, and Dirty Diapers

The Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education

Living in the US I have a unique opportunity to education that many other women and girls around the world do not. The UN and many others around the world have long recognized the importance of educating women and girls. Secretary Ban Ki Moon said, ““Education sends a message – a message of confidence and hope. It tells that child; you have a future; what you think matters.” Which is true. When you teach someone to think, it makes a huge difference. That’s why they started the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education. It is going to focus on literacy (a key skill for life) and secondary education. Like I have said before, not everything the UN does is good or perfect, but girls do need to be educated. They need to learn how to read and write, most importantly, because being literate can go a long way to improving your status in the world. While there are many people in general around the world who can’t read, women make up a disproportionate amount of those because they are often not allowed to go to school or have to stay home to help with things in the domestic sphere. Even when they do go to school, they usually stay fewer years than their male counterparts because their families don’t value educating them and they don’t see the need.

I have to be honest, there is one thing about this that bothers me. The fact that he talks about how education women and girls are reducing fertility as a good thing is what bothers me. First of all, because of the implication that when women are educated, they won’t want to have as many children (even though I, myself, want to have four children someday if God blesses us with them and I consider myself pretty educated and know others who are also educated who want large families). Second, because it’s paraded as a good thing, even though much of the world is in a fertility decline or very close to one. So there’s some good and some bad, like most things.

Source: Ban outlines social benefits of ensuring women have access to education

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The Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights Agenda

About a week ago this time, I was in New York City. It was my first time ever in the Big Apple. And what was I doing? Living my dream of being at the United Nations (UN). Not only being there, but participating as a youth representative for National Right to Life for the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on Youth. And while I loved being there and the experience was really great, at the same time, I came away feeling frustrated and discouraged. Why, you ask? Mainly because of organizations like International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and their extreme Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (hereafter referred to as SRHR as their own abbreviation) agenda.

If you had asked me, I’d have to be honest. I have probably always known that IPPF and other organizations don’t just allow abortion, they encourage it. But, I had no idea it was so bad, to tell you the truth. I almost titled this post – Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights: The Bad and the Ugly, but I changed my mind at the last minute. But to me, it was truly sad and disheartening to witness how taken in by this idea (and in my opinion, lie) that some people are.

These are some of the things that I heard and that some people said and my comments in parantheses.

  • “Abstinence leads to greater infections of HIV and AIDS.” (This is one I really don’t understand. Back in the day, people could get it from blood transfusions, but now that we can and do test for it, one of the main ways to get it is to have unprotected sex or to share needles for drugs. And I don’t think there’s any correlation like ‘People who abstain are more likely to do drugs.’ Abstinence is the best way to prevent HIV.)
  • After having stated that the purpose of Y-PEER (an arm of IPPF) is to “empower youth to make their own health choices” I asked “Isn’t it our responsibility to protect youth sometimes? I mean, we don’t let them smoke, we discourage them from doing drugs, we don’t let them drink alcohol. Isn’t it our responsibility to protect youth from certain health choices?” To which the answer was (one sentence) “As a progressive education organization, we don’t believe in telling youth what to do and what not to do.” (This to me is really scary – it sounds like they would let young people do anything as long as young people were educated to me. Say I had a ten year old and my ten year old wanted to do drugs and he had been educated about what they did and how they work. By their own reasoning, my ten year old should be allowed to do drugs. That kind of reasoning is such a slippery slope.)
  • “Abstinence is impossible!” (To which I say false. I know for a fact that I am not the only person who was abstinent until marriage. And if I did it, clearly it’s not impossible. I am far from superhuman, trust me.)
  • “When the sexual and reproductive health rights of youth are upheld, they have greater access to education.” (This seems all backwards to me. How does knowing how to have safe sex teach you how to read? Someone explain please.)
  • “There is a huge problem in my country that people think children are a blessing from God so they keep having more of them.”  (First of all, children ARE a blessing from God. Second of all, if you are all about choices, how can you tell people that they are having too many children?)
  • One speaker implied that women who marry young are uneducated. (This really upset me because I married at 20 and I am almost finished with my Bachelor’s degree – early at that – and considering getting my Master’s. Even if I don’t get my Master’s, it would be because I have never felt strongly about getting a Master’s degree and I have other goals and dreams, not because I got married.)
  • After hearing a man talk about how it was time to listen to the young people all evening long, afterwards I approached him and the following exchange took place (I think it speaks for itself).
    “You keep saying you want to listen to the young people, but the truth is, you don’t want to listen to the young people who disagree with you.”
    “Well when all the choices are available, if you disagree, you don’t have to make that choice.”
    “But we know some things are bad for people, that’s why we try not to let people make those choices, like we make some drugs illegal.”
    “It’s just that our society was founded on the basis of freedom.”
    “But we restrict some freedoms for the protection of other people, like if I wanted to murder you, I couldn’t do that, because there are laws limiting my freedom for your protection.”
    “That may be so.”

We also saw blatant attempts to censor us. In their earlier events, they took questions from the audience. After getting many, many pro-life questions that they fumbled through the answers on, in their last event, they only took written questions so they could pick and choose which ones to ask. There were many questions we submitted that were never asked or answered.

They are trying to put all of this in under Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 which is on improving maternal health. However, when you listen to them and see their publications, it’s pretty clear that they don’t want to improve maternal health, they just want guaranteed access to contraception and abortion for everyone.

But abortion and contraception are not the answer to solving maternal health. Contraception doesn’t fix maternal health because it allows people to have more sex, thus increasing their risk of becoming pregnant, since no contraception works 100 percent. The reasons for that are two fold. First because abortions  actually hurt maternal health and second because it doesn’t address some of the real causes of maternal mortality.

There is a LOT of evidence to support these two points (By the way, don’t feel like you need to read them all – just a sampling will give you an idea of what is out there. I include them in case you are like ” I can’t get enough of this” as I sometime am) .

There are other ways to end the problem of maternal mortality. More hospitals, that are sterile and clean. Educating women about proper prenatal care. Having more trained doctors and midwives. Having the supplies and drugs on hand that are needed. Basically, providing women with the adequate care. Because women are dying from things we know how to treat and prevent. So we should channel our energy and funds into treating and preventing, not into abortion.

It’s my hope that after reading this, you’ve learned a little bit about why increasing access to abortion does nothing to reduce maternal mortality. I think the agenda they’re pushing – sex for anyone, with anyone, any time you want and if an oops happens then you should get an abortion, is healthy, normal, or good for society.

Further more, here are some links to read by others who were there or who reported on it. I’ll star the ones that talk about one or more events that I witnessed or pamphlets that I have seen and in some cases have in my possession and will be going over with a fine tooth comb to blog about when I get a chance that I can back up and say, yes, that really did happen.

PS, sorry I know I’ve said this a lot lately, but if you like my blog, please like my fan page on Facebook. Thanks!

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Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

CEDAW is a groundbreaking document from the UN. It’s fairly comprehensive. Adopted in 1979, it defines discrimination against women, which is important because without a definition, how do we recognize it? Their definition is, “any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.” (Source)

Another important and interesting thing to note is that the United States has not ratified CEDAW. Check out this video.

I think the most interesting part is the countries we are included with in those who have not signed it. Iran? They stone women for adultery with or without proof. Also, it has such a broad support. Only seven countries have not signed on. That’s impressive.

The significance of this is that CEDAW has done great things for women and could do great things for women here in the US. Some successes include helping women in Kuwait gain the right to vote (Source), helping Bangladesh to forbid sexual harassment, help prevent forced sterilization in Hungary and more (Found and from this source where you can read more details as well as more success stories).

One downside, however, is that countries can enter in with reservations. This is basically saying – we will accept this treaty, but we don’t agree with these parts so we’re not going to follow them. But, recently, Egypt and Jordan withdrew some of their reservations so that is great news! (Source)

Check out these videos of CEDAW’s importance in other countries. Watch them all or watch the countries you are interested in.

Brazil (Part is in Spanish)

Fiji

Gambia (Talks about CEDAW and religion which I think is really important and interesting)

Nigeria (Talks about success stories)

Read the full text here.

See what countries have ratified it and when here.

Also, see country reports and find out how they are doing on CEDAW here.

You can also check out Amnesty International as they have a really good section on myths about CEDAW.

If you want to help get CEDAW ratified in the United States here are ways how.

Sources:
http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm
http://www.cedaw2010.org/

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Women and the United Nations

Women are an important part of the world, so it only make sense that the United Nations (UN), a group of states that deals with world cooperation and governance, would have to deal with their treatment and their needs.

Some of the issues they try to address are violence against women (especially sexual violence and domestic violence), the political rights that women have, the human rights that women have (like the age at which they can get married), human trafficking (which effects women greatly),  “honor” crimes, traditional, but harmful practices like Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and more.

The UN has tried to address women’s needs in many different ways – which I think is great! Some different ways are through the Convention on the Elimination of the Discrimination of Women (CEDAW); Convention on the Political Rights of Women; Convention on the Nationality of Married Women; Convention on consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage, and Registration of Marriages; UN Women; UNiTE to end violence against women (UNiTE); Commission on the Status of Women (CSW); Network of Men Leaders; Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women; and more and hopefully more to come.  Indeed, even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is supposed to apply to people, regardless of sex, so this means women too!

Stay tuned – I’ll break down some of these documents and initiatives in further posts.

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