May 22, 2002
Rumblings are leaking out of Washington that Senate Foreign
Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden (D-DE) and the Clinton
holdovers in the State Department are conspiring to resuscitate the
long-moribund United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A hearing was scheduled for
May 15 and then postponed, but the State Department has placed it on a
list of acceptable treaties.
CEDAW is not acceptable, and George W. Bush's entire constituency
is up in arms against it. It was signed by President Jimmy Carter in
1980 and Bill Clinton made an attempt to get it ratified in 1996, but
no one rallied to support it except the Clintonista feminists.
The notion is downright ridiculous that American women (the most
fortunate class of people who ever lived) should submit to a treaty
that dictates uniform rules for 130 other nations (all of which treat
women worse than the United States). But the whining feminists induce
some men to do foolish things, and endorsing this terrible treaty is
one of the most foolish.
Ratification of CEDAW would be craven kowtowing to the radical
feminists, exceeded only by the treaty's unlimited capacity for legal
mischief. It would be a massive interference with U.S. laws as well as
with our federal-state balance of powers.
Even Edmund S. Muskie, when he was Secretary of State, admitted
that this treaty applies "to private organizations and areas of
personal conduct not covered by U.S. law." His memo said that the
treaty completely fails to take into account "the division of authority
between the state and federal governments in the United States."
Article 1 purports to abolish discrimination against women "in the
political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field."
"Other fields"? Private relationships should be none of our
government's business, much less the business of the United Nations.
Article 2 reiterates that the treaty would "eliminate
discrimination against women by any person, organization or
enterprise," including "customs and practices" as well as all "public
institutions." This would include mandating the longtime feminist goal
of a gender-neutral military.
Article 3 would require us to pass new federal laws not only in
political but also in "social, economic and cultural fields." Article
5 would require us "to modify the social and cultural patterns of
conduct of men and women" and to give assurances that we are following
United Nations dictates about "family education."
Article 10 would make it a federal responsibility to ensure "the
elimination of any stereotyped concept of the roles of men and women at
all levels and in all forms of education . . . by the revision of
textbooks and . . . teaching methods." The UN would be authorized to
revise our textbooks to conform to feminist ideology and semantics.
Article 11 would chain us to the feminist goal that wages should
be paid on subjective notions of "equal value" (i.e., the discredited
notion of "comparable worth") rather than on objective standards of
equal work. It would also require another long-time feminist goal, a
federal "network of child-care facilities."
Article 16 would require us to allow women "to decide freely and
responsibly on the number and spacing of their children." This is
feminist jargon to lock the United States into a perpetual treaty
obligation to allow abortions at any time for any reason.
On the other hand, this language would not protect Chinese women
victimized by their government's policy of forced abortions. China
takes the position that it is not "responsible" for a woman to bear
more than one child.
Article 16 also levels a broadside attack on states' rights. It
would obligate the federal government to take over all family law,
including marriage, divorce, child custody, and property.
To monitor U.S. "progress" (i.e., compliance) under this treaty,
Article 17 sets up a committee of "23 experts." No doubt that means
"experts" in feminist ideology, such as Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer
and Patricia Schroeder.
CEDAW's international "experts" have already issued negative
reports about the practices of countries that were rash enough to
ratify the treaty. They criticized Ireland for "promoting a
stereotypical view of the role of women in the home and as mothers,"
Belarus for "such symbols as a Mother's Day," Slovenia because "less
than 30 percent of children under three years of age were in formal day
care," and recommended "the decrimininalization of prostitution in
CEDAW would clearly diminish the rights and benefits American
women now enjoy, as well as give extraordinary powers over U.S. laws to
busybody global bureaucrats. We hope President Bush will unsign it
just as he unsigned the International Criminal Court Treaty.