By KIRTHANA SASITHARAN, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS
Yesterday, in the World Conference on Women, it was reported from delegates in committee session that the delegate from Mexico had been repeatedly referring to women as flowers and suggesting the fragile nature of women was an important trait for the committee to consider. Many delegates felt uncomfortable with these comparisons and even upset about what had been said. Other delegates in the World Conference on Women also stated that the delegate from Mexico had a tendency to make “poems” out of the speeches they presented.
It was the delegate from Netherlands that felt that this habit needed to be called out and addressed in front of the committee. The delegate from Netherlands sent the following message to be read in front of the dias:
“Netherlands am presenting this one flower as a statement to the Conference of Women that are gathered in this room today. Mexico has been comparing women to flowers throughout her speeches. Women are not flowers. They are the earth, the soil that provides nutrients to the flowers. Flowers represent beauty, delicateness, frailty and have a temporary lifespan. Flowers are enjoyed for the moment, whereas earth and the soil represent strength, endurance, nurturing and growth. And these are the traits that Netherlands aligns women with.”
The delegate from Netherlands felt it was important to compare women to another natural element beyond flowers. The delegates comparison to earth/soil was validated by the attributes that pertain to the earth/soil and how they align more so with the role of women in society. The delegate continued on to say:
“The earth/soil is one of the core elements, alongside with fire, water and air. Earth/soil encourages growth and evolvement of life through reproduction of the species. Like the earth/soil, women represent strength and endurance and the ability to provide life to flowers.”
The delegate from Netherlands highlighted many of the negative notions that come with comparing women to flowers. The delegate mentioned that by referring to women as flowers, we are taking a step back in the progress we as a society are trying to make to help advance women.
“Flowers do not have the stability or endurance to promote life and growth. Once a flower is cut, it is considered dead. A flower’s temporary existence does not leave a permanent mark or impression that other people remember or notice…Mexico is comparing women to flowers and in doing so, places great emphasis on the element of beauty or how women are seen as beautiful. However, a woman undergoes change and transformation exactly like the 4 seasons. We change a lot physically, but the essence of women always remains beautiful in its inner core. “
To conclude, the delegate from Netherlands wrote to the dias that women’s comparison should reflect the permanent status of women and the inner qualities that make them stand out.
“Flowers would not exist without the soil that supports them, just as women provide inner support. Soil is a natural substance, made in the earth. Hence it is a main element of life. The earth’s soil is permanent just like a woman’s greatness is permanent!”
In today’s committee session, the delegate from Mexico had the chance to speak and in doing so, chose not to compare women to flowers. Instead the delegate chose to compare draft resolutions of butterflies. The delegate’s aim was to get the committee to come together and agree on resolutions and the committee hopes to soon be going into voting procedure.
The delegate from Seychelles encouraged delegates to come up with amendments that reflected the ideas of all the delegates, since there were a few draft resolutions on the table. By making amendments, the hope was that the committee would come up with one strong draft resolution. The delegate from China then spoke to highlight the distinct features that could be found in Draft Resolution 1.1. The main points being that Draft Resolution 1.1:
- Encouraged partnerships with private sectors, as that would help them get the messages that the committee is trying to put out, faster
- Is the only Draft Resolution with a male education program
- Highlights sexual assault treatment in the aftermath being a substantial initiative to follow through with
Despite the delegate from China pointing out the strong suits of Draft Resolution 1.1, the delegate from Pakistan pointed out that the biggest problem with the approaches taken thus far was the lack on implementation. The delegate addressed that Draft Resolution 1.3 was a resolution that discussed semantics, saying that this draft resolutions discusses ideas about how conservative countries, like Pakistan, can come on board and accept the progress the committee is trying to make. The delegate from Pakistan also said that Draft Resolution 1.3 was a resolution that addressed minorities, which includes, but is not limited to women in prisons and migrants. This would allow more women to have a larger spectrum of rights and attention.
The speakers’ list soon ended with the Moderator going over the resolutions currently on the table. The committee will soon be voting on an appropriate resolution.