Flashes of bold UN talk on feminism, masculinity, patriarchy

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Few in power have delved deeply into gender equality on the main UN forum this month, but those who went there boldly: by selling “positive masculinity” while claiming feminist credibility, and trying to end patriarchy. demanded.

On the first day of the General Assembly meeting of world leaders, Bolivian President Luis Arce described 2022 as the “year of the cultural revolution for heredity” for his country, and urged the United Nations to embrace a decade-long effort to do so. ,

Ars said that his country seeks to “promote policies to replace the regrettable reality of the most ancient system of oppression by patriarchy, and also linked to colonialism and capitalism.”

Gender equality, as one of the primary goals of the United Nations, has long been a safe haven for world leaders, and there were many brief and humble mentions of progress toward women’s empowerment, including women in key roles. promotion, ensuring equal educational opportunities. for girls, and supporting women’s autonomy over their bodies.

There were some leaders who didn’t say the word “women” or “girls” at all during their time on stage – the King of Jordan, the President of Cyprus, the Prime Minister of Japan.

At other times, “feminism”—which had been considered an F-word for many generations—was used proudly.

Liberian President George V declared himself “feminist-in-chief”. Andorran’s Prime Minister Javier Espot Zamora acknowledged that “feminism is one of the biggest challenges of the present moment.” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez trumpeted the “feminist agenda and the struggle for gender equality”.

“We live in a time in which demanding basic rights is still a revolutionary act,” Sanchez said in his UN address. “The global threats to women’s sexual and reproductive freedom are yet another example of how slowly the world is moving toward a guarantee of full equality. What’s worse is the fragility of our past social benefits, which some Advanced democracies have fallen victim to a retreat – something that is very unforgivable at this stage of the 21st century.”

It was an emotional jab, apparently directed at the event’s host country, where a recent Supreme Court ruling overturned the constitutional right to abortion. In contrast, US President Joe Biden offered only a passing mention of abortion rights – even as the court ruling continues across the country.

“The future will be won by countries that unleash the full potential of their populations, where women and girls can exercise equal rights, including basic reproductive rights,” Biden said in his speech.

The contrast was a clear reminder that words matter, said Sylvia Meier, a global gender studies professor at New York University, who said the use of progressive language by some world leaders at this major forum was new, unusual and surprising. The largest gathering of world leaders remains a forum dominated by men.

“It’s about time we stop using euphemisms and beating around the bush,” Maier said. “It is about time we start talking about what we are facing in no uncertain terms. … We cannot solve these issues – which are all interconnected – without really explaining what it is.”

Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi said in his speech that he was a “champion for positive masculinity”, highlighting an African Union of men convention to tackle the rise in violence against women, claiming the need for “radical change”. Used to do “Because equality is not a gift given to women,” Tshisekedi said.

The United Nations defines positive masculinity as “an innovative approach to engaging and involving men, and making them allies in efforts to build gender equality and peace in conflict and post-conflict settings.”

Meier said it is important to model the so-called idea of ​​”what a good and respectable man should do” – by opposing violence and speaking as a bystander, understanding consent, trusting survivors of gender violence and To build services to help those in distress. ,

“It’s hard work to change societal norms, which are really gender stereotypes,” Meier said. “Positive masculinity really means reinforcement of positive character traits, but of all these character traits, they don’t even have to be gender.”

The matter is particularly serious…

Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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