Big Ocean at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women – March 13-18, 2016
Big Ocean took a delegation of 16 women and one man to New York City to the annual meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
CSW meets annually for two weeks, and representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations, and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York. Member States agree on further actions to accelerate progress and promote women’s enjoyment of their rights in political, economic and social fields.
At CSW they discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and Beijing +5, as well as emerging issues that affect gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the amended document Beijing +5 are the standing documents of the women’s rights agenda today. They call for equal rights for women in education, employment, healthcare, and gender equality.
The Beijing Declaration was drafted and accepted during the Fourth World Congress on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. Hillary Clinton was First Lady at the time and gave an influential speech, “Women’s Rights are Human Rights,” which helped to get the document accepted and adopted.
THE OBJECTIVES OF OUR BIG OCEAN DELEGATION AT THE UNITED NATIONS WERE
- To Stand
- To Inspire
- To Oppose
- To Network
1. To STAND.
At Big Ocean, we stand for the family and the maternal gifts of girls and women and to share our Big Ocean tenets with others. As maternal feminists we represent women who see their feminine and maternal gifts as a source of power and strength and the ability to make a difference in the world.
2. To INSPIRE.
We sought to inspire others through our two-hour presentation about how one woman, using her maternal gifts and networking with other women can help achieve the goals of the UN.
We rented a room at the nearby Church of the Covenant for our presentation. In order to draw a crowd, we passed out flyers and spoke to as many people as possible. We were grateful to have the room filled by the time we started our presentation, “Empowering Women to Achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.” We highlighted several women in our presentation who have used their feminine and maternal gifts and have networked with other like-minded women to make a difference in the world and even solve the goals of the UN.
Our first speaker was Carolina Allen, founder and president of Big Ocean who has gathered and inspired hundreds of women to unite and stand for the family.
The second presenter was Sarah Hinze, author and blogger with an unusual collection of stories about and from preborn individuals. Her witness of the premortal identity of each individual is a powerful argument against abortion.
We invited the founder of Days for Girls, Celeste Mergens, and her colleague, Debbie Young, to share how their project of providing reusable feminine hygiene kits to women in 106 counties on on six continents is changing the future of girls and women by allowing them to stay in school during their menstruation cycle. When each kit is given, the recipient also receives education about her reproductive biology. For the first time, many understand that they have been blessed from birth with the biology to produce life. They are taught that they have a choice to be virtuous and save this gift to be used within the bonds of marriage. If a woman embraces this maternal identity, she realizes that this is one way in which she is powerful and blessed. Days for Girls generously donated a kit for each attendee.
Kristine Troger and Alisa Cozzens, sisters from the Washington, D.C. area, shared about the humanitarian work they do throughout the world. One of the major things they do is support one of the few medical clinics in the Kibera slum of Kenya. More than a million people live in this slum and 70% are HIV positive.
Laurie Mefford, Anne Worden, and David Mefford came with us to represent the Launfal Foundation. Rose Ann Gunther started this organization in 1995 and has led hundreds every week since that time to offer humanitarian service throughout the world. Laurie and Anne presented the many projects of this amazing organization. The Launfal Foundation also very generously donated a bag full of items that they make to be given to each attendee of our UN presentation. David Mefford, gave a moving testimonial of how he honors his wife and other women for using their maternal gifts to serve others.
Laurie Mefford, Anne Worden, and David Mefford
3. To OPPOSE.
We seek to oppose liberal policies and ideology which weaken the family and marginalize the feminine and maternal gifts of women.
At the UN, we attended several presentations supporting ideologies which devalue the maternal gifts of women and were able to ask questions and give comments.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and the other panelists who were identified as leaders in the global strategy for women’s health spoke at a high level event called “Every Woman Every Child.” Their message was that every woman and every child should not only survive, but thrive. Of course, we completely agree. We disagree with their philosophy, which was repeatedly stated, that for this goal to be achieved legal and safe abortions must be available everywhere. They also celebrated the successes of the women’s rights agenda adopted in 1995 as the Beijing Declaration. We were concerned at the successes they celebrated that weaken the family and draw women away from recognizing the power of their maternal gifts. Government subsidized programs such as childcare for babies as young as six months and continuing until the child is able to attend public school, before and after school care, birth control and abortions, on the surface look like liberation and power for women, but they encourage women to deny their feminine and maternal gifts and lead them away from enjoying the role of motherhood.
We were able to get into a meeting of women discussing The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Again, this treaty on the surface appears to liberate women, but in reality the agenda is to deny the gender specific traits of the female. The following comes from a report by Ali lund;
CEDAW – The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
- An extreme take on gender equality by making gender completely neutral thus taking away unique gender traits.
- It aims to push women into the workforce and even the military draft to make women’s influence equal in those arenas. The way they facilitate this is by providing government-funded preschool and daycare, free birth control, and free abortions. Sweden adopted this treaty and has been implementing it for over 20 years. This pulls women out of the home with children being put into government subsidized day-care at 6 months. US legislature has not yet ratified it, but there has been a great effort to get it passed on local levels. So far it has passed without much attention in San Francisco, San Diego, Portland, and even a city in Kentucky.
- They openly revealed their tactic to help radical feminist mayors get elected in every city/state (especially lesbians) who would stop at nothing, even if they had to pass it in the middle of the night when everyone was asleep or hold meetings when people could not be there, to get CEDAW ratified in their cities.
Ali felt impressed to speak out and ask a question during the question and answer portion of that presentation. She mentioned that she is expecting her fifth child, which brought audible gasps, and asked how implementing these programs and policies would affect women who want to stay home with their children. The panelists addressed all of the other questions and saved hers for last. The woman who derisively said she would address her question did not really, instead she brushed over the points of Ali’s question and gave a general response about human rights. They may not have given a good answer, but they and those that agree with them know that they face opposition. Others in the room were exposed to maternal feminism through Ali’s example and either given a new perspective to think about or hopefully strengthened to know they were not alone in caring about the family.
4. To NETWORK.
Big Ocean seeks to network with other pro-family groups. We seek to unite and empower women throughout the world to stand for faith, family, and motherhood.
We met women from several countries who were there, like us, to stand for the family. Our association with these groups continues as we support one another and learn from one another. One such group is Haro from Sweden. Here is Ali Lund’s report about Haro:
We met this pro-family group from Sweden at the LDS Public Affairs office. Because Sweden has had government subsidized day-care for more than 20 years, this group had statistical evidence of the harmful effects of both parents being pushed into the workforce.
It felt like God was putting us in touch with the people who could give us the research to arm us in this battle for the family. These people from Sweden explained how the youth are now suffering psychologically from detachment from their parents and also that the government has taken away parents’ rights to teach their children in the home (especially by homeschooling). They told us about taxes imposed on families if one parent chose to stay home with their children and not earn a salary. They told us about enormous fines imposed on parents who wanted to home school. One man told us how his family had to move from Sweden to Finland to escape these fines that were impossible to pay.
Another group which we were able to connect with was YoungWomen Leadership in Taiwan. This group of beautiful women were seeking women’s rights but wanted to maintain their feminine identity. In this presentation a young student from mainland China got up and said, “I am thankful to the United Nations for teaching me that I never have to be a mother or be married. I know now that I can be powerful and influential on my own.” We were able to tell her that even if she didn’t marry or have children, that her power and strength comes from feminine gifts that are within her. We told her that she could have it all: she could have the joy of motherhood and companionship of family and still be educated and powerful and influential. Afterwards she came up to us and said, “Thank you for your words about motherhood. I have never considered this before.”
We had already established a relationship with a pro-family group of young women from Mexico, BeWoman, and were happy to reunite with them this year. These valiant women who were selected from their Catholic school were there to stand for the traditional family and for the maternal gifts of women.
With courage and faith, our Big Ocean delegates attended meetings and spoke to as many people as possible, striving to understand each individual’s situation and each group’s needs. We stood for faith, family, and motherhood and taught others about the divine, maternal and feminine gifts given to every female born on this earth.