Traditional countries delay Western gender agenda in UN meeting


European Union


Western nations, including many EU member states, are known for their progressive gender agenda. Photo AFP, Genya Salvilov

China and other countries that adhere to traditional family values have made it much more difficult for Europe and the United States to push gender policies through the UN General Assembly.

The traditional countries successfully adopted an amendment to a motion on "gender mainstreaming", C-fam reports. The motion wanted to confine any resolutions on gender to one Committee in the General Assembly that deals with economic development. This would make it easier to push these motions through, as fewer people would have a say in it. However, China and Egypt, among other countries, were able to block this course of events by filing an amendment.

Egypt introduced an amendment to Mexico's proposal that forced the General Assembly to forward any reports or discussions on gender mainstreaming to the Third Committee of the General Assembly, which deals with social and humanitarian questions.

The amendment was adopted with a majority of 86 votes in favour, 70 against and 16 abstentions. Traditional countries showed their joy about this by clapping and cheering, C-fam writes.

Wrong signal

However, Western countries showed their annoyance. Australia's representative argued that gender equality is strongly linked to economic development. She called the amendment that seeks to move the mandate on these topics from the Committee on Economic Development to the Third Committee "a terrible precedent" and a "wrong signal that gender equality is not relevant to considerations of economic development."

Also, the delegate of the United Kingdom showed his irritation. "Do not be fooled by claims that the equality of women and girls is a priority for these delegations because their actions throughout this process – including laughing and clapping after the amendment passed, indeed, by a number of male colleagues, I should add – has proved the exact opposite", he said.

According to C-fam, this rhetoric shows that Western countries get frustrated if they cannot control the agenda of the Second Committee, which is dominated by traditional countries. This allows the latter to have a significant say on issues like abortion and transgender rights.



Subscribe for an update, and receive a documentary and e-book for free.

Choose your subscriptions*

You may subscribe to multiple lists.