Dorothy Patterson, wife of President Paige Patterson and professor of theology in women’s studies at Southwestern Seminary, underscored the importance of motherhood at a parallel session of the United Nations’ (UN) Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held March 6 in New York.
The session, held during a time the UN leaves for presentations by those with alternative viewpoints than those permitted inclusion in the formal UN meetings, offered women the chance to hear perspectives on women’s issues that the UN does not itself promote.
“The UN sponsors a central group that’s very restricted, and people who have any conservative views at all are virtually barred from that,” Patterson said. “It is a closed group, and the reason these other NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) began having auxiliary meetings, is that you have people coming from third world-countries from all over the world, and they’re being exposed only to one agenda.”
Patterson said the UN has even threatened some of the countries with retraction of aid if they do not consent to allow controversial practices such as abortion in their nations.
“Everything about the United Nations is coming from a very definite political agenda,” Patterson said, “And it is, in a general way, anti-life, in the sense that abortion is to them a right every woman should have. It is also an organization that does not lift up motherhood and some other issues that are important to me personally and to many evangelical believers.”
For that reason, Patterson agreed to address attendees of a session sponsored by Concerned Women for America and the Disha Foundation about the importance and empowerment of mothers. Patterson said she began by addressing the confusion and frustration that feminism and its “new liberated identity” brought to women’s lives.
“That new liberation has actually immersed women in a busyness that does nothing more, really, than exhaust them,” Patterson said. “They don’t even have the strength to do all of the things expected of them. I addressed the issue that [women] have been brainwashed into believing that if you don’t have a titled position and a paycheck, you are not worth anything and nothing you do is worthwhile. Of course I take great issue with that. From my perception, being a wife and mother is a professional pursuit very worthy of all of your interest and preparation and equipping and time and energy.”
Motherhood as a “professional pursuit,” she says, provides the basis of the entire world economy.
“I suggested to them that if human abilities are the ultimate product for the world economy, and if those abilities can be either nurtured or stunted in early years, then mothers become the most important producers for the economy,” Patterson said.
“I tried to make them focus on the fact that, really, there is no technology, there is no product ever invented, there is no service ever rendered that doesn’t come from people, ultimately. Those people are produced by mothers.”
If mothers produce them, she said, mothers—not schools, campaigns or the government—should nurture and mold them.
“We can work all day on children who are dropping out of school or children who are on drugs or children who are committing crimes,” Patterson said. “We can do all of our campaigns, as Michelle Obama is doing now with obesity, trying to call attention to healthy eating. If these children had mothers in the home who were caring for them and who were concerned about their health, we wouldn’t have to worry about that. It’s not the school’s responsibility. It’s a mother’s responsibility.”
She explained to the ethnically diverse audience that motherhood is the empowerment to link hands with the creator God and produce new life—the empowerment of a mother’s legacy for making a difference in the generations to come.
“For me, being a mother and grandmother is my greatest life’s work, and it’s the most important job that I’ve ever had,” Patterson said.
“My prayer is that God will give us a host of women who will embrace the challenges of motherhood with determination and creativity, who will be empowered by the task of producing and nurturing the next generation, and who will empower that generation to take the roles of leadership in the challenging world before them.”