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Opinion Pieces Address U.N. CSW Declaration

The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on Friday adopted a declaration urging an end to violence against women and girls, despite pushback from some conservative Muslim countries and the Vatican during negotiations. The following is a summary of two opinion pieces addressing the document.

  • Jill Filipovic, The Guardian’s “Comment Is Free”: “Under the cover of culture, religion and tradition, [a few nations and conservative organizations] have attempted to impede consensus on a simple agreement to solidify the rights of women to be free from abuse,” Filipovic, a regular columnist with The Guardian writes. “With violence against women endemic … appeals to culture or religion don’t just ring hollow; they’re reckless, cruel and expose how brutally misogynist our world remains,” she adds. “It’s not that misogynist governments and organizations support violence against women, exactly, although some of them do. It’s that they directly benefit from the sexist system that violence against women enables,” Filipovic continues, adding, “Thankfully, those men don’t have a monopoly on the truth or the future, and there are billions of men and women who have a very different, more egalitarian vision. … Hopefully, the signed CSW agreement is the first step to ending some of that pervasive violence” (3/18).
  • Evelyn Leopold, Huffington Post’s “World” blog: “With seven out of 10 women a target of sexual abuse, one would think it would be simple to adopt a program to combat violence,” Leopold, a journalist reporting from the U.N., writes. “In the end, a U.N. conference did that despite incendiary objections from the Muslim Brotherhood,” she continues, and details the objections made by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the Vatican, and Russia. “The final document, called Agreed Conclusions, calls for affordable health care, including sexual and reproductive health services such as emergency contraception and safe abortion, for victims of violence,” she writes, and notes, “Governments have recommitted to comprehensive sexuality education, the need to stop harmful practices of ‘negative’ culture and traditions, such as female circumcision … The document also calls for an end to child, early and forced marriage, which is an increasing problem in many countries” (3/18).