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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #150 - 1 msg

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Today's Topics:

   1. Imposing 'Democrocy' (farbuthnot)


Message: 1
Date: Thu, 07 Oct 2004 03:24:20 +0100
Subject: Imposing 'Democrocy'
From: "farbuthnot" <>

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Corrupt, arrogant, patronising cheek. felicity a.=A0
=A0Published on Tuesday, October 5, 2004 by
Administration Chooses Anti-Feminist Group to Train Iraqi Women
by Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON -- The State Department has awarded an explicitly anti-feminist
U.S. group part of a $10 million grant to train Iraqi women in political
participation and democracy.

Talk about an inside deal, the IWF represents a small group of right-wing
wheeler-dealers inside the (Washington) beltway.

Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority FoundationThe group, the
Washington-based Independent Women=B9s Forum (IWF), will help implement the
administration=B9s =B3Iraqi Women=B9s Democracy Initiative,=B2 along with a=
of other groups that, unlike the IWF, have experience in international
exchange and democracy-promotion activities, including the Meridian
International Center, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the
National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Recipients of the grants also include the Bangalore-based Art of Living
Foundation, a volunteer organization that promotes yoga and other breathing
exercises to "eliminate stress, create a sense of belonging and restore
human values=B2 and has been running classes in Tikrit and other conflicted
parts of the Iraq since last September.
The participation of the IWF, which has escorted Iraqi women selected by th=
State Department around power and media centers around Washington, is the
most controversial.
The organization was founded in 1991 by a number of prominent right-wing
Republican women to act as a counterpoint to what they called the =B3radica=
feminism=B2 of the National Organization for Women (NOW), a grassroots grou=
with about 500,000 subscribing members nationwide.
Among the founders were Lynne Cheney, the spouse of Vice President Dick
Cheney and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities; Labor
Secretary Elaine Chao; Kate O=B9Beirne, Washington editor of the right-wing
=B3National Review=B2 and a former senior vice president at the Heritage
Foundation; and Midge Decter, the former co-chair with Donald Rumsfeld of
the Committee for the Free World and one of the founders of neo-conservatis=
along with her spouse, former =B3Commentary=B2 editor, Norman Podhoretz.
Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky, who announced
the grant at a press briefing last week, has also served on IWF=B9s board o=
=B3Talk about an inside deal, the IWF represents a small group of right-win=
wheeler-dealers inside the (Washington) beltway,=B2 said Eleanor Smeal,
president of the Feminist Majority Foundation.
The IWF, which, according to its mission statement was =B3established to
combat the women-as-victim, pro-big-government ideology of radical
feminism,=B2 has taken a number of controversial positions over the years i=
pursuit of that goal.
It has strongly opposed the UN Convention for the Elimination Against Women
(CEDAW) in part on the grounds that it would permit mandate governments to
enforce laws guaranteeing equal pay for equal work. =B3This is =8Ccomparabl=
worth,=B9 a system of government wage setting that Americans have rightly
rejected as inefficient and antithetical to free market principles,=B2 the =
has argued.
It has also objected to CEDAW=B9s requirements that governments guarantee
=B3maternity leave with pay" and child care facilities as well as its
suggestions for minimum quotas to ensure that women are represented at all
levels in governments. Ironically, the Bush administration adopted this
suggestion for Iraq in the interim law approved by the U.S.-led Coalition
Provisional Authority (CPA) that is supposed to guide elections currently
scheduled for January.
The IWF has also opposed affirmative action and federal programs designed t=
prevent sexual discrimination in educational institutions that receive
federal government funding. The Bush administration appointed IWF=B9s
president, Nancy Mitchell Pfotenhauer, to the National Advisory Committee o=
Violence Against Women despite the fact that the group opposed the Violence
Against Women Act.
The IWF has also been accused of partisanship for its staunch defense of th=
Republican Party positions and its attacks on prominent Democrats. Last May=
for example, it issued a statement assailing Democratic presidential
candidate John Kerry for demanding that Pentagon chief Rumsfeld steps down
to take responsibility for the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal, insisting
that Kerry was using it =B3to raise money.=B2
Several weeks earlier, it launched an aborted petition drive to condemn =B3=
bitter political grandstanding=B2 by Democratic members of the bipartisan 9=
Commission who were accused of =B3working for Sen. John Kerry,=B2 instead o=
=B3all Americans.=B2
IWF staff, meanwhile, consists primarily of former Republican activists wit=
extensive government and lobbying experience but little or no experience in
democracy promotion, international affairs, or the Middle East.
The one exception is Senior Vice President Rieva Holycross, who has a
doctorate in anthropology and a 30-year career in academia and working for =
multinational engineering firm as chief marketing officer in charge of
strategic communication, according to the IWF website. It is not clear she
will be working on the project.
Announcing the grant last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell said that
each of the grantees =B3will work with Iraqi partners on the ground to prep=
women to compete in Iraq=B9s January 2005 elections, encourage women to vot=
train women in media and business skills, and establish resource centers fo=
networking and counseling.=B2
IWF Senior Fellow Michelle Bernard, who has practiced business law and
government relations in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa, said the
group had already begun recruiting 150 Iraqi women to participate in a Woma=
Leaders Program and Democracy Information Center before the grant was
officially awarded.
=B3(W)e=B9d like to train 150 pro-democracy women on the fundamentals of
democracy, women=B9s political activism in a democracy, and to exchange ide=
basically to enable Iraqi women to participate in their country and help
Iraq develop a democracy that best suits the needs of that country,=B2 she =
quoted as saying in a State Department press release.
She also said IWF has planned a five-day conference in December in Amman,
Jordan that will be followed by future meetings on a quarterly basis. Rathe=
than recruit women to run for office, she said, =B3we=B9re just looking for
people who want to participate at the community level, people who are
interested in education (or) people who might want to be policy makers in
the equivalent of a think tank here.=B2
=A9 2004

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