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Shaheen, Collins & Schakowsky Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral International Violence Against Women Act

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

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) re-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) with Representative Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), which is bipartisan and bicameral legislation to ensure combating gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States.

"Around the globe, in peace and in conflict, women experience horrific gender-based violence. Prioritizing the rights of women and girls is not only a moral imperative, it is an investment in our own national security and in peace and stability throughout the world. I’m proud to lead the International Violence Against Women Act with Senator Collins and Congresswoman Schakowsky to send a unified message from Congress that the United States must make preventing and stopping gender-based violence a top foreign policy issue,” said Senator Shaheen.

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

"The United States has a duty to lead in advancing progress toward a future with less gender-based violence and greater equality around the world. The International Violence Against Women Act would guarantee we have a Gender-Based Violence Strategy that puts victims and survivors first," said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. "By integrating the work of the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, this bill would make the eradication of violence against women a central piece of the U.S. foreign policy agenda and ensure that gender-based violence prevention and response are included in all our humanitarian efforts around the globe. Women and girls around the globe need our assistance, and with this legislation, we have the opportunity to deliver."

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 includes 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. She has long led the bipartisan effort in the Senate to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule, including through her bipartisan, bicameral bill, the Global Health, Empowerment, and Rights (HER) Act. Shaheen is the author of the Women, Peace and Security Act, which was signed into law in 2017 and ensures women’s leadership roles in conflict resolution and peace negotiations.

As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Collins consistently advocates for robust funding to combat gender-based violence, increase women’s political participation internationally, and support global health programming such as maternal and child health. She has also championed the rights of women and girls around the globe, including in Afghanistan and Iran

Read the bill text here.