Written by France 24
Critics of the United Nations have always maintained that the body strips sovereignty from states in favor of an overarching, prescriptive “world government.” The sponsors of draft resolution “HEADS (Healthcare, Education, Accountability, Data, Suffrage, and Social Media)” in the Commission on the Status of Women are posed to prove the critics right. The draft resolution, sponsored by eight very different countries, aims to strengthen women’s participation in decision-making processes by bureaucratizing as far as the eye can see.
However, creating new boards, commissions, and taskforces will merely exacerbate the problem by creating bureaucratic bloat, and women’s voices will be lost in the process.
Draft resolution “HEADS” recommends the creation of 16 new bodies or organizations to address all aspects of the crisis, a recommendation that is impractical and inefficient. “Bureaucracy is the enemy of democracy,” the delegation of Ireland declared during a question-and-answer period for the draft, asking how exactly these bodies will help with implementation. The answer provided by Turkmenistan was unsatisfying: “The bodies we create will incorporate volunteers or will be incorporated into other existing bodies,” she said in response, without explaining exactly how these new taskforces will avoid redundancy.
By creating so many new organizations, the sponsors of “HEADS” are merely sidestepping the problem, creating the illusion that women are being helped while the reality of oppression remains.
This push for bureaucratization will also have devastating consequences on state sovereignty, as the draft resolution makes bold calls for solutions that may be incompatible with specific cultural and religious contexts. In Clause 1, subsection C, the sponsors call for total access to abortion in all countries, without regard to the fact that abortion remains illegal and inaccessible to many.
When called out on this incompatibility, the sponsors pointed to the creation of regional bodies that would take tailor culture-specific strategies for each country to increase women’s participation in decision-making… and said that another body would be created to create those regional organizations. “We will create another body in the UN to oversee the creation of these regional bodies,” Turkmenistan said, seemingly unaware of the irony of her statement.
The sponsors of this draft resolution cannot have it both ways. You cannot universally prescribe abortion access or other solutions while also preaching that regional boards will take culture-specific contexts into account, and the idea that bureaucratization will solve all is laughable.
By bureaucratizing every aspect of women’s participation in decision-making, the sponsors of “HEADS” will be reinforcing the very problem that they are aiming to solve. Women’s voices will be lost in the process, and states will scramble to regain a semblance of sovereignty as the Commission on the Status of Women dictates their every move. Instead of voting in favor of directive “HEADS,” delegates in the UNCSW should look to other directives as solutions to the issue.