Hillary Clinton Says the United States Embarrasses Her

By Rebecca Oas, Ph.D. | September 17, 2014

NEW YORK, September 19 (C-Fam)  “It is embarrassing, I mean, really, it’s embarrassing.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a conference room of international feminists and abortion advocates that the US is a long way from ratifying the UN treaty on discrimination against women, “not for lack of trying, but for absence of support.”

Clinton was the final speaker last Friday at a two-day feminist conference called “Women and Girls Rising” at the Ford Foundation in New York., which began with remarks by Gloria Steinem and was organized by the author of a glowing biography of Margaret Sanger. Former Clinton administration chief of staff John Podesta also expressed embarrassment over the non-ratification of CEDAW, adding that many “think that the United States can’t ratify anything these days.”

Throughout the conference’s panel discussions, participants spoke extensively about the international conferences in Cairo and Beijing in the mid-1990s – many of them sharing personal anecdotes. Hunter College professor Rosalind Petchesky fondly reminisced about “those old times, and especially when we dressed in drag in Cocoyoc [Mexico].”

United Nations Population Fund head Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin said he was rejected from his native Nigeria’s delegation to the Cairo conference, and only went because Planned Parenthood’s Carmen Barroso got him a spot on the US non-governmental organization delegation.

Françoise Girard of the International Women’s Health Coalition recalled that at the Cairo+5 meeting in 1999, several pro-abortion activists from majority-Catholic countries grew tired of hearing from the Holy See delegate speaking about the social services the Church delivers to developing countries. In response they took an impromptu collection. At the end of the day, they handed the basket to the “shocked” delegate, saying, “we don’t want your money and your social services, here you go.” “And of course we took a photo of that and used that in our activism,” said Girard, citing it as an example of the “creativity and the humor that is often necessary to prevail in these circumstances.”

According to Girard, in addition to questionably tasteful theatrics activism “requires a lot of money.” In the past year her organization “made more than 400 travel grants…to activists to come to New York for the different sessions for the post-2015,” referring to the negotiations for the forthcoming development agenda.

UN Women’s Anne-Marie Goetz referenced the recent London summit on violence against women in wartime as having been influenced by the “backlash” that has stalled feminist progress since Cairo. Goetz said that the activism has been “separated away a little bit from the empowerment agenda and the notion that…the solution has to involve attacking patriarchy.”

Liberals were not spared the feminist’s criticism. Petchesky accused the US State Department under Hillary Clinton of “’pinkwashing’ or ‘homonationalism’ – uses of LGBT rights and sexual rights as a mantle or badge of human rights purity.” She argued that the US, along with the UK and Israel, are using the recent pro-LGBT push to deflect attention away from “horrible human rights violations…drone attacks, sequestering away of prisoners, and so on.”