Leaders of the G7 nations recently met in France for three days of talks. French President Emmanuel Macron’s major concerns were inequality and the environment, subjects senior U.S. officials called “niche issues.” Among these were a push for laws that claim to advance women’s interests.
The G7 laid out a set of goals it claims will produce equality for women and girls in developing and G7 nations, and listed a selection of “illustrative laws,” really leftist directives, that G7 nations should adopt to further equality in their own nations. The United States probably won’t do it, and we shouldn’t.
The G7 is not a governmental body and has no actual authority other than to suggest or recommend voluntary implementation of its directives. The seven nations that comprise the G7 are the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Japan, France, and Italy. Russia had made the group the G8, but was ejected in 2014 after it annexed Crimea in a land grab from Ukraine.
This council of nations embodies 10 percent of the planet’s population and 40 percent of global gross domestic product. While the group has no formal power, it represents the wealthiest democratic nations, allies that share an interest in peace and prosperity internationally.
One of These Countries Is Not Like the Others
Although democratically governed, there is a stark difference between the six allies and the United States in terms of federal control. When the G7 recommendations come down on anything from environmental directives, the sexes, education, or health care, to name a few, it’s no wonder that the United States usually holds up its hands and says “That’s okay, gang, we’re good.”
The “Recommendations of the Gender Equality Advisory Council“ offers that “the Advisory Council invites G7 Leaders to adopt and implement at least one of the laws listed below as examples and, preferably, several others, to strengthen existing laws and begin these legislative processes before the next G7 Summit. It urges them to define an accountability mechanism with clear indicators that will make it possible to continuously monitor the results of G7 actions and commitments in the field of gender equality.”
So what are these recommendations, and should the United States adopt any of them? A major concern of the council is ending male violence against women. While this is an admirable goal, and one that anyone can get behind, the problem is the recommended ways to achieve this noble goal.
Punishing All Men for the Choices of A Few
The council says “gender-based violence against girls and women is rooted in gender inequality, including factors such as the ideology of men’s entitlement and privilege over women; negative social norms regarding masculinity; the conscious or unconscious assertion of male control, privilege or power; the enforcement of dominant gender roles; the prevention, discouragement or punishment of what is considered to be an unacceptable female behaviour; and the broad social acceptance, or at least silence, about multiple forms of violence.”
Male violence against women is a problem, but it will not be solved by knocking all men down and elevating women in their place. It is best addressed through men and women respecting each other, their differences, and their abilities. The council’s argument is entirely about men stepping back from their traditional roles, instead of encouraging mutual understanding and regard.
The council goes on to discuss the problem of raising boys with expectations of manhood and masculinity. But raising men to respect and not brutalize women is a traditional masculine expectation. One does not negate the other. It is when we feel weak that we lash out and hurt others. When we are confident and comfortable with our strengths, we can nurture that in others, regardless of sex, and without violence.
If She Didn’t Sign a Contract, It’s Rape?
The G7 also recommends comprehensive sexual consent laws. In Sweden, for example, a “new law says a person must give clear verbal or physical consent, thus recognizing sex without consent as rape. Prosecutors will no longer need to prove violence, or that the survivor of violence was in a vulnerable situation, in order to establish rape.”
As U.S. experiences with kangaroo rape courts on college campuses has amply shown, this kind of standard for convicting someone of a heinous crime often ends up punishing the innocent. Avoiding that unjust outcome is the entire reason for the United States’ high standards for due process and the assumption of innocence until proven guilty.
An health law illustrating the G7 recommendations for “ensuring inclusive, equitable, and quality education and health” comes from Canada: “abortion in Canada is decriminalized; hence it is accessible to girls and women as a general medical service. Lack of legal specifications on gestational limits and parental consent make it accessible and available to all girls and women. Treating abortion as any other medical procedure rather than a legal process is progressive as per WHO guidelines on safe abortion and other key research.”
It’s pretty clear that the United States is not close to adopting a measure like this one, and it’s not clear at all that increased abortion access is good for women. There are raging debates about the dangers of the procedure and, of course, the fact that it is often used specifically to target females for death, as well as its usefulness to people who pressure women to eradicate children their mothers want. Not to mention that in the United States, more women than men oppose abortion.
Women Disagree About What Is Done in Their Name
Writing in The Guardian, Emma Watson, who presented at the G7, said “countries will have to go beyond laws to the full range of government policies and programmes that support the needs of girls and women and break antiquated gender norms. For example, providing accessible and affordable childcare and parental leave, including non-transferable leave for fathers, encourages and enables the redistribution or equal sharing of care work at home.”
While northern Europe may have come to a consensus on the validity of this effort, the United States is far from it, and no federal legislation or executive order would change the fact that many American women do not want to break their families into bits. In the United States, there are women fighting federal funding for childcare, instead saying that moms should be enabled to stay with their kids instead of government childcare facilitating their return to the workforce before baby is even weaned.
So often forgotten in the push for equality between the sexes is that it’s not this goal that generates opposition, but how we get there. The process is pretty much the only part that matters, too, because we will not ever actually arrive at the result. Social engineering from a federal level is like using a jackhammer to peel a peach.
Not only are Americans not sure we share the G7 nations’ leftist vision for sexual sameness, we’re sure we don’t want to use their route. The United States is right to hold back from adopting these ineffective and destructive directives.