Shaheen, Collins and Isakson Reintroduce International Violence Against Women Act

December 13, 2019

**Bipartisan legislation would make combatting violence against women and girls a top U.S. diplomatic priority**

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led Susan Collins (R-ME) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) in re-introducing the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), bipartisan legislation to ensure combatting gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States.

"One in three women and girls around the world will report experiencing gender-based violence in their lifetimes. By denying women and girls the chance to rise to their full potential, gender-based violence stunts economic, political and social progress in our communities,” said Senator Shaheen. “The International Violence Against Women Act will ensure combatting gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States. This not only means stopping sexual abuse and trafficking, domestic violence, early and forced marriages and other forms of gender-based violence, but also changing societal views and norms in places around the world where women and girls are not agents of their own future.”

“In addition to being a pressing human rights issue, violence against women and girls contributes to inequality and political instability, making it a security issue as well as a moral issue for us all.  Our bipartisan bill would ensure that the U.S. continues to take a leadership role in combatting such violence around the world,” said Senator Collins. “I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues to end gender-based violence and to provide the assistance and resources necessary to achieve this goal.”

“The United States must continue to be a leader in the fight to end gender-based violence around the world. The consequences of violence against girls and women at home and abroad are far-reaching, and the International Violence Against Women Act will help us better coordinate these important efforts,” said Senator Isakson. “Ensuring that women and girls around the world have the opportunity to reach their full potential, free from the threat of violence, must remain a priority for all of us.” 

Specifically, the International Violence Against Women Act would: 

  • Require the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop and implement a U.S. global strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence;
  • Permanently authorize the State Department Office of Global Women’s Issues and the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues to head that Office;
  • Permanently authorize the USAID Senior Coordinator for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment; and
  • Require interagency coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programs and regular briefings to Congress. 

The only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Shaheen is a fierce advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the globe. Shaheen has prioritized issues to empower women, which include fighting for the rights of sexual assault survivors, advocating on behalf of family planning and women’s global health, securing women leadership roles in conflict resolution and peace negotiations and authoring legislation to address barriers that girls around the world face in accessing education. In September, the Appropriations Committee unanimously cleared Shaheen’s provisions to the State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs bill for fiscal year 2020 that invest significant resources in global family planning and reproductive health services

In March, Shaheen and Collins’ bipartisan resolution recognizing International Women’s Day 2019 unanimously passed the Senate

Read the bill text here.