22.04.40: IT WAS just like the christening scene in Sleeping Beauty.
The 12 'good fairies' from the First and Third Worlds delivered their speeches at the Sixth UN Convention on Women, which met this week in St Petersburg.
The women spoke of their common project as though it were an infant destined for greatness. But then the "bad fairy" arrived in the form of the fringe coalition known as Scientists Beyond Gender.
The group stormed the stage to denounce the convention, saying that there was no scientific basis for the claim that all women belonged to the same sex. They quoted brain-mapping studies proving that 85% of so-called gender attributes were not genetic but were learnt during the first seven years of life.
While the group stated its own views, based on cultural DNA chains in which gender was only one of 48 attributes, they were suddenly upstaged.
Germaine Greer, who three months ago celebrated her 101st birthday and whose appearance broke a 30-year media silence, shuffled onto the stage to steal the show. Since retiring to Croatia in 2014, Greer has devoted her time to research and the rearing of orphans.
In her address, Greer said: "Despite the increasingly ridiculous definitions of gender that even the Human Genome Project would find impossible to map, very little has changed for women."
Most were still poor and worked for very little pay or no pay at all. Worse, said Greer, the media "perpetuate the status quo by presenting the battle for women's rights as a war between the sexes".
Critics say Greer's words fly in the face of evidence that women have an equal chance for the top jobs. MF