Some United Nations’ programs dedicated to advancing gender equality are becoming “increasingly ideologically driven” and a hindrance to women’s genuine advancement, says Archbishop Celestino Migliore, the apostolic nuncio leading the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations.
In a Monday speech at the U.N. in New York City, the archbishop lamented that in recent official U.N. documents there have been interpretations of gender that “dissolve every specificity and complementarity between men and women.”
“These theories will not change the nature of things but certainly are already blurring and hindering any serious and timely advancement on the recognition of the inherent dignity and rights of women,” he warned.
Archbishop Migliore lamented that almost no document or resolution of international conferences and committees “fails to attempt to link the achievement of personal, social, economic and political rights to a notion of sexual and reproductive health and rights which is violent to unborn human life and is detrimental to the integral needs of women and men within society.”
Reporting that his delegation wishes for a productive review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration, the archbishop decried violence in the form of female feticide, infanticide and abandonment.
He went on to detail some of the numerous threats against women around the world.
He first noted that discrimination in health and nutrition affects girls “much more” than boys, and girls are the majority of children out of school and have much higher rates of illiteracy.
Additionally, three quarters of those infected with HIV/AIDS are women between 15 and 24 years old, he added. In sub-Saharan Africa, three of four young people with the virus are women.
Among human trafficking victims, 70 percent are women and girls. Physical, sexual and psychological violence also affects women, especially where rape is used as a weapon of war.
The “motivations, values, guidelines and methodologies” at the United Nations may be hindering these efforts, he said.
“The Holy See reaffirms its commitments for improving the condition of women,” Archbishop Migliore’s comments concluded. “Its call to Catholic institutions, on the occasion of the Beijing Conference, for a concerted and prioritized strategy directed to girls and young women, especially the poorest, has yielded over the past years many significant results, and remains a strong commitment to implementing and promoting this task for the future.”