March 3, 2005

March 3, 2005 | News Releases on Family and Marriage

U.N.'S "Beijing + 10" Agenda Should Address Real Needs of Women, Analysts Say

WASHINGTON, MARCH 2, 2005-What benefits women more: promoting healthy family life or asserting new privacy rights for teens?

It's clearly the former, experts Jennifer Marshall, Melissa Pardue and Grace Smith write in a new paper from The Heritage Foundation. Decades of social science research suggest that the family centered on marriage offers tremendous economic and social welfare advantages to women and children.


Yet many attendees at the annual meetings of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women-being held through March 11 in New York-don't seem to agree. They continue to advance the ideas of the U.N. conference on women held in Beijing in 1995. (Since this year marks the conference's 10th anniversary, the current gathering is dubbed "Beijing + 10.")

"Sadly, the delegates are missing a perfect opportunity to highlight some of the most pressing needs facing women worldwide," says Marshall, Heritage's director of domestic policy studies. "Women would be far better served if the delegates worked to protect marriage and the family as the fundamental building block of society. The commission's working documents place a commendable emphasis on eradicating poverty among women. Well, few things are better than healthy family life at preventing women from suffering the many ill effects of poverty."

The commission's documents give some nods to the concepts of marriage and family, noting "the social significance of maternity, motherhood and the role of parents," the Heritage experts note, but they fail to explain what can be done to strengthen this vital institution.

More attention, on the other hand, is shown toward securing "access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for adolescents" without their parents' consent and achieving "gender balance in governmental bodies." Says Marshall: "This shows that a radical feminist agenda has taken hold of the U.N. process-one that can only diminish the best interests of women and hamper true equality."

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