The bipartisan International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) was reintroduced today in both the US House and Senate. IVAWA would be the first of its kind to comprehensively incorporate US foreign assistance programs to help stop gender-based violence and poverty, promote economic opportunities for women, halt violence against girls in schools, and ultimately empower women.
John Kerry (D-MA), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues; Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Susan Collins (R-ME); and Representatives Bill Delahunt (D-MA), Ted Poe (R-TX) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the legislation today.
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), said in a press release, “Every day, too many women and girls across the globe endure horrific acts of violence. They are disfigured by acid, raped and beaten, or they are denied the opportunity to see a doctor. This important legislation gives the United States government the tools to make international violence against women and girls a top diplomatic priority.”
IVAWA was originally drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden (D) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) in collaboration with over 40 women’s groups and 100 non-governmental organizations worldwide. The bill would centralize women-related state departments into one office; create a five-year strategy to fight domestic violence in 10 to 20 countries and back it up with funds; and require training in emergency measures for organizations working with populations susceptible to violence.