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Reject 'simplistic' feminist approach to women’s equality, Vatican envoy asks UN

February 07, 2014

The Vatican’s representative at the UN has called upon world leaders to reject the idea that women can achieve social equality “only by the negation of their procreative capacities.”

Speaking on February 6 to a UN session on sustainable development, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt said that inequalities are a threat to society, leading to violence, crime, and conflict and undermining the basis for community life. Women and girls are especially harmed by inequalities, he said.

“This is especially apparent at times when they are most vulnerable: when they are targeted for sex-selective abortion; or subject to infanticide and abandonment, unschooled, subjected to female genital mutilation, forced marriage, and trafficking,” Archbishop Chullikatt said. He also mentioned the problems of domestic violence, rape, and forced abortion or sterilization.

In attempts to help women, the Vatican envoy said, world leaders must not “conflate equality with sameness.” He asked the UN to reject the “simplistic” idea that contraception, access to abortion, and escape from marriage would provide women with equal opportunities. Far more important, the archbishop said, is the elimination of “a false dichotomy between the relationships that enhance their lives and their participation and gains across other human rights.”


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