One week before the March for Women’s Lives, leading women’s groups released a scorecard grading the Bush Administration on issues affecting women around the world, finding the Bush Administration long on rhetoric but falling far short on reality.
In announcing the grade of “C” for rhetoric and “F” for reality on international family planning and the global gag rule, Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority, asserted that the Bush administration’s international family planning policies such as the global gag rule are “desperately injuring the poorest women in developing nations.”
“Despite pledges that the US supports international family planning, President Bush has placed ideological restrictions on these programs and backed away from established international agreements that protect women and children’s health,” said Smeal Regarding the international women’s treaty (CEDAW), June Zeitlin, executive director of WEDO, said, “Despite public pledges to support women’s rights globally, the Bush Administration has not endorsed the CEDAW treaty for the rights of women or other international commitments to women’s human rights,” resulting in a grade of “C” for rhetoric and “F” for reality.
Jodi Jacobson, executive director of CHANGE, asserted that “most of the money spent on HIV/AIDS is going to abstinence-only until marriage programs” leaving people with no access to condoms and other means to protect themselves. The Bush Administration also received a “D” for rhetoric and an “F” for reality for its withholding of UNFPA funding because the Administration has overruled “its own experts” who investigated and cleared China of abuses in its UNFPA programs and still withheld the $34 million that Congress appropriated for this critical UN family planning fund.
The Feminist Majority, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), and the Communications Consortium Media Center (CCMC) previously released scorecards on the Bush Administration and global women’s issues in March, November, and August.