Patriarchy on a Global Scale

An excerpt from her presentation at TOPs entited Tranforming the Myths: Telling Our Stories

Patriarchal practices appear everywhere particularly in hierarchical relationships between men and women. However, awareness of subliminal controlling assumptions is minimal. This was evident at the three global Conferences held during the Decade of the Woman. These Conferences were sponsored by the United Nations with the first one held in Mexico City in 1975.

That conference was the first instance in history when women, as a category of human beings separate from men was ever on a global agenda. Many governments would not send women to any conference even one concerning women.

International conferences of this nature are composed of delegates appointed by their respective governments. Parallel to this meeting but in a different location in the same city are meetings called Tribunes or Forums. To these auxiliary meetings go any of us who are interested and can afford it. Some individuals attending these meetings represent global non-governmental organizations and are credentialled to audit the conference itself.

As a result of the three global conferences during the decade 1975-1985 all governments have been charged to consider the situation of women in their country. There is a long way to go as the following statement confirms: “Women are one-half of the world’s official work force, account for two-thirds of all working hours, receive one tenth of the world’s income, own less than 1% of the world’s property and constitute two-thirds of the world’s illiterate.”

Many of the delegates insisted that they had no word in their culture for bias by sex-“sexism” and “patriarchy” as a designation for a type of consciousness was practically unknown in any country including the United States of America.