If there’s one thing you can count on the United Nations to do, it is to endlessly expand. Thus has the UN, after the thrill of “intense eleventh hour negotiations,” cleared the last remaining “political hurdles” for the creation of what the Inter Press Service describes as a “New Gender Entity.”
Officially this new outfit will be known as “U.N. Women,” with the extended subtitle of UN Gravy Train for Yet More Bureaucrats and Politically Warped Agendas (excuse me–) “The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.”
Offhand, I can’t think of any initiative in human history in which something with “entity” anywhere in its official title has worked wonders for the emancipation of anyone — male, female, or transgendered. (Though UN characters like to tag Israel — freest state in the Middle East — with the unofficial label of “entity,” so perhaps the UN in some strange contortion of the subconscious is trying to confer a promising name on its new outfit).
Apparently there is some aim here of giving big donor countries (a.k.a. wealthy democracies) slightly more clout than usual — but not much. The new Gender Entity is to have a 41 member board, in which four seats are reserved for top donors to the UN core budget and two seats are reserved for developing countries. The rest – as in, most of them — are to be allocated on the UN’s usual basis of geographic group — which is how countries like Iran, Libya, Cuba and Saudi Arabia get so many seats on UN governing boards.
Though a cynical interpretation of reserving a couple of seats for big donor countries (that usually means YOU, America, Japan, plus 1) is that the new Gender Entity now must clear the hurdle of eliciting a flood of money. The new Entity is expected to absorb a couple of the UN’s current smaller gender entities, and then require double the amount of money these sub-entities had been receiving — for a total annual budget of $500 million. Though that’s just to start … already there are calls for an annual budget of $1 billion.
Will any of this take do much to encourage the real forces for gender equality? Those begin not with billions more in opaque and politically compromised UN programs, but with political systems that support and enhance liberty for all — male or female — otherwise known as free-market democracies. Don’t hold your breath. The real question here is, how long before the likes of Iran, Sudan, Libya and Saudi Arabia plunk themselves down in seats on the new Gender Entity board?