UN Commission on the Status of Women


Sir, – Stephen Spencer (Letters, March 21st) criticises the UN Commission on the Status of Women for allowing Iran to become a member, bearing in mind Iran’s poor record in women’s rights.

The exclusion of Iran from this commission seems a rational approach at first glance but on closer inspection the issue is not as simple.

There are 45 member countries on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. These members are chosen in rotation from the entire UN membership of 193 countries on the basis of equitable geographical distribution.

As well as Iran, the 45 members currently include Saudi Arabia, Nicaragua, Haiti and Kuwait, none of which is a paragon in the area of women’s rights.

The UN works on the principle of inclusivity of all nations in its everyday business, regardless of those nations’ imperfections.

If the UN excluded countries because they have a poor record in women’s rights, human rights, employment rights, etc, there would be no members left to conduct the affairs of the UN and it would have to disband.

I’m sure that’s not what your letter-writer has in mind, so, strange as it may seem, the UN needs to include the poachers on its committees in the hope that they eventually become gamekeepers. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.