Life-Long Re-Education – Thanks to European Strategy for “Gender Equality”

May 26, 2015

A new European strategy for “gender equality” is emerging. As outlined at the high-level hearing, “Forum on the Future of Gender Equality in the EU”, organized in April by the Commission’s Directorate-General of Justice, the overall goal of the planned strategy is to effect a cultural shift through enhanced implementation of “gender mainstreaming” into all spheres of life, public and private. This policy strategy is based on the “gender theory”, a school of thought that is increasingly criticized for not having any scientific basis – and whose ultimate aim is to abolish the complementary vision of woman and man.

The planned strategy discussed at the forum involves the elaboration of a concrete policy framework that is to be included in the 2020 agenda of the European Union. Its aim is to accelerate the process of changing Europe into a gender-equal continent. The cornerstone of the strategy is lifelong re-education. This entails gender-neutral education that would begin in kindergarten, seeking to erase every kind of gender stereotype at the earliest age. This would be implemented across Europe.

Code of conduct for gender equality

But what would gender-neutral education look like?

It would, in part, incorporate a code of conduct on gender matters in education that all European citizens would have to follow.

This can already be found in the efforts made by gender equality experts to develop a Nordic Gender Certificate, as presented by Ms. Cecilie Norgaad at the forum. Invited by the Commission to speak as a Danish expert on gender equality matters, Ms. Norgaad explained that the code of conduct will especially target those who work in the educational and training sectors.

In addition, gender monitoring tools, as suggested at the forum, would play a key role in identifying all those who oppose the gender theory. But it is unclear what will happen to those who insist on clinging to the fact that we are born either man or woman – and that our identity also has to do with our physical and biological reality.

Discussions are also being held on a broader and general code of conduct that would be developed by the European Commission and embrace more than just education. This would provide a binding framework for re-education programs in all spheres of life against which the behavior of European citizens could be measured. The conceptual work behind this framework can be found in a publication of the European Commission, developed with the assistance of the European Network of Legal Experts in the field of Gender Equality on sexual harassment laws. The Commission declares on its website that the network´s duty is it to provide information on

“the transposition at national level of the gender equality and non-discrimination Directives as well as the constant monitoring of compliance with these Directives;  the practical implementation and application of national legislation transposing the Directives (and) national initiatives in the fields of gender equality and non-discrimination legislation.”

Gender neutrality as a condition for EU accession?

One workshop held during the Forum discussed the idea of making acceptance of the gender equality agenda – to be elaborated in accordance with the results of the high-level forum and others – a condition for all future aspirants to EU membership (e.g. Baltic states). In addition, increased coordination and collaboration between the European Commission, the Ministers for Gender Equality of EU member states, and institutions like UN Women and the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) would ensure that the agenda is followed faithfully.

European Commission to push for “gender-neutral education” at kindergarten?

The high-level hearing brought together 300 representatives from different EU institutions, NGOs and feminist organizations. It was chaired by Ms. Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. In her welcome remarks, Jourová pointed out that a “gender-equal” Europe would be “a good address for women”. She was then joined by Mrs. Elke Ferner, Parliamentary State Secretary to Germany’s Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, who stressed that the EU would need to play a key global role as promoter of gender equality. In addition, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, who was unable to personally attend, also contributed to the forum with a video message in which she urged the EU “to provide gender equality by gender identity” and “to dismantle patriarchy by 2020”. The consensus was that in all these efforts, both women and men should take action.

What was not addressed by any of the forum’s participants was the radical version of gender theory that underlies the planned strategy. In contrast to previous efforts that sought to simply expand rights for working women, the new approach depends on theories that separate gender (as a cultural role) from sex (as a biological reality). It also affirms a personality of a man or a woman that no longer is defined by the specific features given by nature,  but rather relies on a “fluidisation of gender” as the basis for the creation of a gender-equal society. Under this new interpretation of the nature of human beings, proponents seek to create a new and socially-engineered society. And to this end, continuous gender-neutral education can help to eradicate a “traditional binary vision of gender”.

Ms. Brigitte Grésy, who in 2013 was appointed Secretary-General of the Superior Council for Professional Equality between Women and Men in France, reaffirmed this vision at the high-level forum. She told participants: It is a stereotype-based position to have a binary vision of gender and to believe men would be different to women.

Like others, Grésy is convinced that there is a need for a fundamental cultural shift in how society should be organized. And since stereotypes are believed to be transmitted to children at the beginning of life, she says the focus of education for those seeking gender equality has to start with gender-neutral education at the level of kindergarten.

Questions on competence arise from these claims:  Who has entitled the European Commission to invent a new, counter-intuitive understanding of the human being that is entirely based on a philosophical theory and not science? On what competence does the European Commission base its supposed right to determine that the biological sex is not constitutive of personal identity?

All-embracing education

Can this new approach to the education of European children be justified? Is the struggle for a gender-equal Europe enough to justify this kind of social engineering? In the past, the struggle for gender equality has often been understood as a fight for equality between women and men – for example, in matters of unequal wages (the so-called ‘gender-pay-gap’). And for many people, a general demand for equal treatment between the sexes is supposed to be the cornerstone of gender studies and the best way to ensure a gender-equal society. Modern gender theory goes far beyond these aims, seeking the dissolution of being a man or a woman and mainstreaming this idea into all spheres of life. In its pursuit of absolute equality in every single aspect of life, modern gender theory ends up becoming a real threat to liberty.

An implementation of radical gender theory across the EU would thus certainly not result in more peace but increased social unrest.  And there would be other negative impacts.

Firstly, freedom of thought and speech would be curtailed. Gender-equal state education would affect all spheres of life, public and private, and dissent would no longer be tolerated. History provides numerous examples of how such absolutism could lead to the erosion of freedom.

Secondly, the main responsibility for education would no longer lie in the hands of parents. Under the strategy discussed at the forum (and being considered by the EU), member states would obligate parents and students to follow the new gender theory. Thus, if the new strategy is implemented, European countries would no longer guarantee parents the freedom to educate their children in accordance to the principles of their reason and conscience.

Thirdly, European children would no longer have the opportunity to grow up in an open and unbiased educational environment. Instead of learning to think freely and critically, the new re-education goals would lead towards a “pensée unique” which would have to be followed.

No biological sexes

The desire for equality between men and women cannot justify such an ideological approach to the education of children. It is not beneficial for Europe’s children or their families. But according to the view of Ms. Grésy and others, everything regarding a person’s identity depends on education – and hence, the re-education of children as considered in the strategy.

As part of this, a new “social” definition of gender would be indispensable, according to participants at the forum. In fact, it’s commonly understood that social and cultural factors can play a role in determining a person’s identity. At the same time, genetic and biological predispositions still determine the sex of a person, and play a decisive role in building one’s identity – as either a man or a woman. But this view is under attack by the gender activists who dismiss it as “binary thinking” and a source of gender inequality in society.

The idea of a gender identity gives someone like Dr. Julia Ehrt from Transgender Europe the opportunity to demand that the EU should legally recognize the rights of LGBTQ people. Such people, who define their gender in accordance with their sexual orientation, demand the “same rights as everyone”. This includes the rights that are exclusive to certain people or groups – for example, the rights that pertain to a married couple. Thus, in the view of people like Dr. Ehrt, defining marriage as a unique union between a man and a woman (biologically defined) discriminates against those who define themselves according to sexual orientation.

Enemies of freedom

At the high-level forum, Ms. Annalise Frantz of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality Malta also called for certain women’s rights to be defined as human rights. Ms. Frantz said that women’s rights “are not discussable for anyone because of nationalist, religious or conscientious objection”. These and other simplistic claims – such as to “dismantle patriarchy”, as made by Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka from UN Women – can only be achieved if freedom of thought, speech, religion and conscience are seriously limited and eventually abolished. These actions were discussed at the forum – but the impact of such actions on fundamental freedoms and European democracy were surprisingly ignored.

It’s clear that a new EU strategy for a gender-equal Europe, with its plans for lifelong re-education and a regulatory code of conduct on gender matters, would fuel the tendency to limit or minimize other people’s fundamental rights and lead to a deterioration of European democracy. But brushing these concerns aside, at the end of the forum, Mrs. Saastamoinen, Head of Unit for Equality at the European Commission, promised to use the Conference´s results as basis for the elaboration of just such a strategy on gender equality.