At the 1995 Beijing Conference on Women, the delegation from the Holy See succeeded in ensuring that religious views of women were placed prominently on the UN agenda. Yet the situation was not without conflict in the Catholic ranks. The Vatican's recent involvement in this field challenged the authority and influence of long-time Catholic women's organizations, such as the World Union of Catholic Women's Organizations, who had, since the birth of the UN, often single-handedly represented the Catholic perspective on women. This article explores how the participation of this NGO in the World Conferences on Women encouraged Catholic women to take an active part in the global women's movement and to promote a more secular-influenced understanding of women's rights. It also describes how the growth of discussion on reproductive rights in the 1990s engendered a reconsideration of their "moderate" feminism under the pressure of John Paul II's "new feminism" and the emerging women's human rights movement.


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pp. 74-98
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