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Powerful philanthropy, poor paradigm for life

Big-money foundations try to push their miserable vision on women


Melinda Gates delivers speaks on philanthropy at the Louvre Carrousel in Paris, France, on June 30, 2021. Associated Press/Photo by Michel Euler

Powerful philanthropy, poor paradigm for life
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Melinda French Gates is pushing for “gender equality” through her philanthropy’s massive funding power, which is informed by your standard-issue secular progressivism. American women, we are told, spend more than two hours a day compared to men on unpaid caregiving and chores around the house. In Gates’s own words, these are “hours they could spend taking a class, pushing for a promotion, or getting involved in politics.”

Her answer? Pushing contraceptives and abortion on women in poor countries, for a start. Women having children instead of pining to be the next Nancy Pelosi? Motherhood is a horror, after all.

Gates’s philanthropy is on trend with others like MacKenzie Scott and Laurene Powell Jobs. They all may mean well, but they are working out of the same paradigm. You’d think powerful philanthropy would have eaten some humble pie recently in its repeated efforts (and failures) to reach utopia. But these foundations betray no such modesty.

It is one thing, perhaps, in a world not well suited to dig itself out of the two-income trap, to vouch for paid family leave through philanthropy. But on the whole, the ideas and causes that these philanthropic endeavors are pushing are straight out of textbook secular progressivism. Motherhood and the work and art of homemaking are disdained, disparaged—even considered shackles to get rid of. Freedom is doing whatever you want (unless it is to get married to one man and proceed to bear and raise babies). What women should do—the measure of the good life for women—is achieving killer status as a professional. Women, here are the norms for you: The demands of the professional world must take absolute priority and you must be hostile to pregnancy and the nursing and raising of babies. Of course, contraception and abortion will need to be part of the mix as well.

What erasure of the woman and her glorious nature. What an impoverished, deformed vision of womanhood that is being imposed on women the world over.

The more we women try to conform to that warped image that secular progressivism projects, the more unfulfilled we become.

Would that the world might get philanthropists and elites better aligned with human nature and the nature of women. But secular progressivism’s vision of freedom and flourishing for women, as it turns out, is to remake themselves to be like men as much as possible.

Except, of course, the woman’s nature comes knocking, and she still has that pesky longing for childbearing and the joys of motherhood. It makes for a miserable life, this unfertile vision. Her fertility, that which is in her very nature, is vilified. Meet the Modern Woman, remade in secular progressivism’s image: She is a poor and warped copy and shadow of a man.

How different this is from God’s creation of the woman, not a mere afterthought or modification of the man, but fully made in His image, on equal footing as the man. She is fully a being in her own right, with a special calling and purpose tailored to her nature oriented toward the nurturing of life—over whom God saw that it was very good.

The more we women try to conform to that warped image that secular progressivism projects, the more unfulfilled we become. Security in a marriage to a man who loves and protects his wife like Christ loves and protects the Church? The bearing and raising of children in that marriage? That is what fulfills her nature, and that’s exactly what the modern woman is steered crazily clear from. Small wonder today’s women are more miserable than our great-grandmothers.

To see women the world over get infected by the same worldview, coming soon to a village near them, along with philanthropy’s money and pressure, is tragic. Not to mention, for all the homage that secular progressivism pays to the superiority of anything not Western to Western culture, how arrogant and condescending is this? No, women of the world, you don’t know what’s good for you. Your way of living—babies, family, not working professionally—is backwards, shameful, even. Come, let us tell you how to live.

Don’t do it, women of the world. Don’t take the money. Don’t say yes.


Adeline A. Allen

Adeline A. Allen is an associate professor of law at Trinity Law School and an associate fellow at The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity.


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