International Violence Against Women and Girls Act Introduced in U.S. Senate

Article Date

09 May 2014

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) on Thursday re-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) in the U.S. Senate. The bipartisan legislation would make reducing violence against women and girls around the world a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States.

In a press release the senators issued yesterday, Senator Collins pointed to ICRW research to explain that the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria is not an isolated incident or an act limited to terrorist groups.

“The International Center for Research on Women says one in nine girls around the world is married before the age of 15, a harmful practice that deprives girls of their dignity and often their education, increases their health risks, and perpetuates poverty” said Senator Collins.

The International Violence Against Women Act would dramatically increase U.S. action to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally, making it a permanent addition to U.S. foreign policy. It would require interagency coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programs and briefings to Congress; codify in law the Office of Global Women’s Issues within the State Department and Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues; require the development and implementation of a five-year U.S. global strategy to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls; and support and build capacity for effective local organizations working to eliminate violence against women and girls.

Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced IVAWA in the House of Representatives on Nov. 2013, where it has 63 bipartisan co-sponsors.