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Posted by Philip on 26 October 2016, 1:41 pm in , , , , ,

Is outrage over Wonder Woman becoming UN Ambassador missing the point?

Wonder Woman has been appointed by the United Nations as the honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. And people, particularly women, are outraged.

Lynda-Carter-in-Wonder-Woman

I'm not particularly impressed, but I'm not particularly surprised. I mean, the decision seems no less effective than the rest of what the UN purports to do.

According to its website, "Due to the powers vested in its Charter and its unique international character, the United Nations can take action on the issues confronting humanity in the 21st century, such as peace and security, climate change, sustainable development, human rights, disarmament, terrorism, humanitarian and health emergencies, gender equality, governance, food production, and more."

It's key document, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948, was the result of the experience of the Second World War. Since then it has churned out dozens of similar documents such as Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

My faith in the UN to improve the world is slim at best; at worst it's non-existent. Words on paper seem to have little impact when all the issues on which the UN can take action are worsening by the day. The insidious thing is that parties to the instruments can boast about being signatories while they blatantly breach them.

The NZ Government legislated against family supporters' right to complain against discrimination when they passed the Bill which allows them to be paid only the minimum wage — a direct breach of the CRPD. Autistic kids are being locked in seclusion rooms — bang goes the CRPD & CRC. And women's wages and leadership status are systemically lower than men's — gee, did we sign CEDAW? Oh yes, we did.

Would the world be worse off without the UN? Perhaps, but at the moment I think it's legitimate to argue that things are not getting any better because of it.

Wonder Woman is a fictional character invented by men for their own titilation. I doubt the UN is much more. It deserves a superhero as an ambassador.

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