Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) will chair the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy, and Global Women’s Issues. This is the first time in history where women’s issues will be a specific focus of a foreign relations subcommittee.
During Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s confirmation hearing, Senator Boxer presented photographs of women who had been burned in acid attacks and injured in gender-based violence worldwide. In reaction to the pictures, Senator Clinton promised to persuade leaders and governments internationally “that we cannot have a free, prosperous, peaceful progressive world if women are treated in such a discriminatory and violent way,” according to the New York Times.
In a press release Senator Boxer said, “I am very grateful to our new Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator John Kerry, for allowing me to focus part of my efforts on the worldwide status of women. This new subcommittee assignment offers a tremendous opportunity to shine the light of day on a very overlooked issue. Too often, we turn our eyes away as women are persecuted, abused and treated as second-class citizens. But even the most conservative historians have noted that when women are given the freedom to live up to their full potential, society as a whole flourishes. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Congress and with Secretary Clinton to stamp out violence against women in the world.”