What a world!: UN elects Saudi Arabia to its Commission on the Status of Women

Here’s a case where the fox has been chosen to guard the henhouse. The website for the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women outlines its mission:

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.

The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

One would think, then, that the member states of this organization would be those with a track record of promoting gender equality.

Wrong. According to several sources, including UN Watch (the link keeps disappearing!), the UN has just elected (wait for it) Saudi Arabia as a member of that commission. In fact, the vote, made by the UN’s Economic and Social Council was by secret ballot (why?), and 15 EU countries voted for the Saudi membership (see below):

Saudi Arabia is a country where women can’t drive, must appear fully covered in public, cannot go out unless accompanied by a male guardian, need permission from a guardian to travel, marry, or do business, and weren’t allowed to either vote or run for election until just two years ago. It’s a horrible place to be a woman if you have any aspirations toward equality.

Further, according to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Rating, Saudi Arabia ranks 134 out of 145 countries assessed—right at the bottom. Here are the top nations:

. . . and the bottom (note the predominance of Muslim-majority countries):

Iceland, showing the indices used:


Saudi Arabia, whose low score is due largely to reduced “economic empowerment and opportunity” and “political empowerment”:

We don’t know who voted for Saudi, but, according to this tweet from a UN Watch official, lots of EU countries gave an “aye”:

And a response from a Saudi woman (clearly living elsewhere!):

Others have said this, and I agree: the United Nations has become a joke.

h/t: Lesley


  1. rickflick
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    This decision is similar to the way Trump packed his cabinet with subversives.

  2. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Will the Saudi representative to this council be a woman?

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      I nominate Linda Sarsour.

      • Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I’d have spewed my coffee, reading that, except that, thankfully, I’d already put the cup down and swallowed! Guffaw!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Heather Hastie
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    This like when Saudi Arabia was made chair of the Human Rights Council at the UN.

    They reckoned they were going to sue all the people (like me) who pointed out that their laws and punishments were almost exactly the same as DAESH for multiple crimes. That started the #SueMeSaudi. They never did of course.

    Saudi Arabia has an annual conference about the rights of women in that country. No woman has ever been allowed to attend.

    Oh, and being an atheist is punishable by death there as well.

  4. Jacques Hausser
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    It looks crazy at first view, but, as Saudi Arabia certainly will not have a veto right in this commission, it will have to play the majority play and (even if reluctantly) show some goodwill toward the women wishes, including at home. That should not be so bad (and certainly not worse than if the Saudi application were rejected) for the Saudi women. After all, wolves introduced in the sheep pen did evolve to become sheeperd dogs.

    • Pitalpitoke
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      Oh, pagan, what a mistake. We are the Wahhabitas, the servers of the holly places. Your idea is inspired by Satan, who wants to turn weak our faith. But with the grace of god we will use the presidency to get more information about infidels. And provide it to OPUS DEI, our dear infidels friends. This time about those who, against our sacred religion, try to put woman in the same level of man, as if that both arrives to this world nude meant anything (god!, what a mistake you did, why man isn’t born with a cetro in his right hand and woman borns with clitoris?? But we will fix it!!)

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Wait, what?

    In related news, George Lincoln Rockwell has been named honorary chairman of B’nai B’rith.

    • Rita
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink


  6. Gemma Jillian
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    A joke? The UN a joke? The joke is on any of us who think this is the least bit unusual.

    We aren’t at all shocked by this of “15 EU countries voted for the Saudi membership.”

    Bottom line everywhere is just like it really really was for those who actually voted in the last US election and has been all along: keep the women down. Got to. Else she will overtake me and mine.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Very much like putting Fox News in charge of women’s issues and equality in the business world. Also in charge of sexual harassment because, who could know more on that topic.

  8. Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Next up: North Korea on a UN commission to monitor nuclear proliferation.

  9. Lamar Hankins
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    One of the reasons the UN has become a joke is because the US is no better. On February 12, 2017, CIA Director Micheal Pompeo awarded the CIA’s George Tenet Medal to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, for Prince Mohammed’s distinct intelligence-related counter-terrorism work and his contributions to ensure international peace and security. I could find no reference to this award in any major news source in the US.

    Source: https://www.yahoo.com/news/cia-director-gives-medal-top-saudi-royal-081032376.html

    • Pitalpitoke
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      But that is the reward to a 1 page rapport to a investigation about WHO finances terrorism:


  10. Posted April 23, 2017 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m happy the country where I came from, the Philippines, is # 7. The Philippines is actually a matriarchal society.

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      matriarchal ≠ equality.

    • madscientist
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      Matriarchal? Not any of the places I had visited or cultures I had observed. There is still some degree of sexism in the various cultures but I would agree that in general it’s far less than in the “western” countries (whatever that means).

      • Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        My impression of Philipino culture, after a little depth of understanding, is that the men know women are the stronger, more reliable and responsible members of households, and the women support — just enough, not too much — the men’s need to feel macho. Men prefer to let women handle the finances, so long as the women let the men feel like big money earners. Women might earn more, but they kindly don’t rub it in.

  11. Kevin
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Unfuckingbelievable. UN is disgraceful.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      My reaction too.

  12. Posted April 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps this is just reverse psychology, put them in a room with the most enlightened countries and maybe it will rub off? Just a thought.

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      Queen Elizabeth II helmed the wheel in 1998 and drove Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah around her Scottish estate at Balmoral much to the horror of the de-facto Saudi King.

      Almost twenty years later, women still can’t drive in his Arab kingdom so no, I’m not optimistic things will rub off.


      • Draken
        Posted April 24, 2017 at 1:50 am | Permalink

        Maybe QEII is just a horrible driver and Abdullah thought: not in my country!

        • Richard Bond
          Posted April 24, 2017 at 4:00 am | Permalink

          The then Princes Elizabeth served as a driver and mechanic in the ATS at the end of WWII, having joined as soon as she turned 18.

    • Posted April 24, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      I thought that’s likely the point – engage rather than ostracize. This is like how Canada was often criticized by internal conservatives, hawks, etc. and our friends in the US during the cold war by being slightly more chummy with the USSR than the US was. The idea was that it is better to meet our northern “neighbours” on the ice hockey rink (for example) than Top Gun style or worse.

    • Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      I think that rather the enlightened countries will rub off.

  13. W.Benson
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    My Nasty Remark: The US shows itself to truly control the UN.

  14. nicky
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what might have motivated those ‘more enlightened’ countries to have voted for Saudi Arabia. It is difficult to believe any one of them would.

    • Draken
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      Unless their representatives are stacked with SJW identarians.

      • nicky
        Posted April 24, 2017 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

        Yes, that would put up Sweden as a prime suspect. But there were (at least) 4 other EU countries too.

        • nicky
          Posted April 24, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

          Don’t forget that the Swedish self-proclaimed ‘feminist government’ delegation to Iran was happily donning the hijab, something Michelle Obama, Angela Merkel(?) and others did not do.

          • Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

            Somehow, though, I could totally imagine Melania doing it… fashionably, of course.

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      I’ve no doubt it was quid pro quo for the Saudis voting for their representatives to be on some other committee.

      • nicky
        Posted April 24, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        Possibly, but the vote was secret.

        • Jonathan Dore
          Posted April 24, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

          I’m puzzled by that. How do we know who voted for whom if the ballot was secret?

          • Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            There’s a petition online somewhere about making each EU nation state what its vote was. UNWatch would have the information.

    • Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Follow the money. I suspect there’s a financial clue somewhere.

      • Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

        I have just written the same before seeing your comment.

    • Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:15 pm | Permalink


  15. madscientist
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    No doubt they will soon condemn Norway for its treatment of women as they condemned Norway for its treatment of refugees when Saudi Arabia was on the human rights council. The plank in the eye shtick was clearly a christian thing that Mo’ wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.

  16. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    How did “at least 5” become “15” ?


    • nicky
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

      15 in the UN council, at least 5 from the EU. Slight confusion there.

  17. edrie
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    If true, this is every bit as shocking as everyone’s saying. I checked the UN website, which publishes the list of member states on this commission, and Saudi Arabia is not on it. Can anyone confirm a source for the story?

  18. Tom
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    The UN is desperate to show that it is not biased against Islam. So it chooses one of the most fanatical, repressive Islamic regimes to represent Human Rights and separately the Status of Women.
    Like the old League of Nations the United Nations has failed civilisation.

  19. Dick Veldkamp
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

    I think it is a bit strange to blame the UN, since the UN is no better or worse than its member states.

    Same thing with the EU in Brussels: it’s the (or certain) member states which hold back legislation against tax evasion for example, you cannot blame “the EU” as a separate body).

    I think that on the whole the UN is a force for good, but the way it is (necessarily?) structured gives the baddies (and the opportunists: arms deals with the Saudis, anyone?) way too much influence.

    It is maddening really. but what is the alternative?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 3:53 am | Permalink

      The alternative? Go back to the good old days when everyone throws their toys out of the cot and declares war as soon as they don’t get their own way…


  20. Jonathan Dore
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Not sure how Ireland made it to no. 5 on the friendly-to-women list: a country where it’s still almost impossible to get an abortion.

    • Posted April 24, 2017 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Both there and in Philippines there is a large amount of Catholic influence; but they are also very economically “US like”, which for good or for ill (I’d say a bit of both) improves their score, I think.

    • nicky
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

      You should see how these lists are made, and the things they take into consideration (and which not). There was quite a discussion on Heather’s website a forthnight or so ago.
      And no, I do not think Ireland or the Philippines or even Sweden 🙂 , are more woman-friendly than, say, Holland, New Zealand or Denmark.
      But yes, I do think Saudi Arabia is the pits in that respect.

  21. wanstronian
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    How else do you get them to buy in? If you exclude them from the club, why would you expect them to ever play by the rules of that club?

    • Posted April 24, 2017 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      That’s why people during the Cold War wanted the US and the USSR (to pick two big powers who had a habit of messing around elsewhere) in.

    • Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      They will never play by the rules of the club; instead, they’ll make the club play by their rules.

  22. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    My flabber is well and truely ghasted. In a world like this, where is there place for satire?

    • nicky
      Posted April 24, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Good point, the UNion.

  23. Jim Smith
    Posted April 24, 2017 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    The fact that is was not a country dominated by the only people on earth who can cause problems on this earth – teh evil white man – is a victory for feminists all over teh world.

    • Posted April 25, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Saudi Arabians haven’t the dark skin that stands out as not-white. They just look like whites with tans.

  24. Mike
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    You could not make it up.!

  25. Gabriel
    Posted April 25, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    In my view two possible explanations:

    a) It’s a tactical intelligent move: listen to the Saudi dude and do the opposite he says. Saves time.
    b) Plain and utter cowardice mingled with Saudi money in selected pockets.

    (Of course a) is wishful, idiotic thinking).

    • rickflick
      Posted April 25, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure. If the committee members sit around discussing FGM in the third world and how micro-lending empowers societies, maybe the Saudis would find themselves longing to be part of the solution rather than the problem. It kind of makes sense to me. How effective it would be, I don’t know.

  26. Posted April 26, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this post!

    By the way, Muslims credit their so-called prophet with ending the practice of female infanticide. Well, this may be true… but the Saudi male-to-female ratio of 1.3 makes me suspicious.

    • Posted April 27, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Wow! That sends a chill down my (female) spine!

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