Feminist Camps Clash Over Gender Ideology, Decriminalizing Prostitution

By | July 15, 2021

NEW YORK, July 16 (C-Fam) A monumental gathering of gender equality stakeholders garnered $40 billion in commitments.  Beneath the surface, however, wide disagreement persists among feminists on whether advancing the rights of women and girls should include biological males and the legitimization of prostitution.

UN Women, the UN agency tasked with promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment around the world, will soon have new leadership. In an apparent attempt to influence the agency’s work, a non-governmental organization that operates alongside the UN Commission on Women (NGO-CSW) released a feminist agenda drafted by eighteen pro-abortion, pro-prostitution and pro-LGBTIQ organizations.

Called “An Affirmation of Feminist Principles,” the statement includes eight tenets that would redirect funding for “sexual rights” initiatives from programs meant to empower women and girls. These include legalizing abortion, decriminalizing prostitution, “gender-transformative comprehensive sexuality education” for children, including for bodily autonomy and pleasure, opening women-only spaces to biological men who identify as women, and free, comprehensive life-long health care that assists persons identifying as  transgender to change their bodies with hormones and surgery.

Not all feminists were pleased with the statement.

“This lengthy and confused document appears to be an attempt to pressure states, the UN and NGOs into adopting the postmodern tenets of gender ideology and disregarding the material reality of women’s sex-based oppression,” the Women’s Human Rights Campaign responded.”

“They are not ‘feminist’ principles but anti-feminist principles,” the statement continued.  “The document consists of a naked attempt to steal the mantle of feminism to cover and promote the desires of groups of men with specialized interests, such as men who claim female ‘gender identities’ and men with an interest in children’s ‘sexual rights.’”

The Women’s Human Rights Campaign was founded in 2019 to counter the undermining of women’s rights through the incorporation of vague concepts like “gender identity” into international documents. They launched a declaration to lobby law and policy makers “to retain the sex-based biological definition of woman.”

Anti-trafficking groups and prostitution abolitionists also took issue with the feminist principles statement, launching a sign-on letter challenging the promotion of “prostitution as labor”.

“The notion that ‘sex work is work’ is one we believe to be fundamentally incompatible with the values laid out in a statement…which claims to oppose exploitation and discrimination in all its forms,” read the letter initiated by the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women. “We must recognize that male entitlement to the bodies of other people is a hallmark of slavery, colonialism, and other forms of racism, genocide, and domination. The system of prostitution is antithetical to equality.”

UN Women has maintained a neutral position on the decriminalization of prostitution after receiving a strong rebuke from prostitution abolitionists when it was reported in 2019 that their position was under review.

The feminist principles statement is representative of the infiltration of the traditional women’s rights movement by “sexual rights” advocates. The joining of forces of reproductive rights and LGBT groups, and the multi-million dollar funding that comes with it, has propelled abortion and LGBTIQ issues over priorities like education, work and healthcare.

The tenets expressed in the feminist principles also fails to recognize women as mothers despite approximately 90% of women around the world having children.

The organizations leading the initiative include International Planned Parenthood Federation, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Women Deliver, ILGA World, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, Outright Action International, and Transgender Europe.