Shaheen Helps Lead Bipartisan Introduction of Bill to Address Gender-Based Violence in Conflict Settings

March 11, 2021

** Legislation improves U.S. consideration of programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence from the onset of humanitarian emergencies, bolstering strategic support for humanitarian actors**

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, helped reintroduce the bipartisan bill, the Keeping Women and Girls Safe from the Start Authorization Act of 2021, with U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Introduced on the heels of International Women’s Day, the bipartisan legislation seeks to strengthen current United States’ and international actors’ efforts to address gender-based violence perpetrated during humanitarian crises, which disproportionately threaten the well-being of vulnerable women and girls.

In addition to establishing U.S. government policy to advance the skills of humanitarian actors, improve coordination in emergency response and bolster support for survivors of gender-based violence in humanitarian emergency contexts, the comprehensive legislation seeks to elevate the voices of women and girls across the world by fostering empowerment opportunities that promote economic advancement, access to education and leadership and involvement in humanitarian response efforts.

“When humanitarian crises emerge, women and girls are at greater risk of experiencing sexual and domestic violence. The coupled crises of dangerous conflicts and increased violence against women and girls demands our immediate attention as a critical foreign policy priority,” said Shaheen. “I’m glad to join colleagues across the aisle in this bipartisan legislation to ensure the State Department and USAID prioritize addressing gender-based violence during humanitarian crises, making sure sites like refugee camps are not safe harbors for perpetrators to target displaced and vulnerable women. We must remain vigilant and ensure women and girls are at the forefront of our work to resolve humanitarian emergencies.”

The only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Shaheen has been a fierce advocate for women and girls in the United States and around the globe. Shaheen has prioritized issues to raise women up, such as opposing efforts to roll back women’s reproductive rights, fighting for the rights of sexual assault survivors, advocating on behalf of family planning and women’s global health, spearheading efforts to end violence against women, 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 recently led a bipartisan group of Senators to introduce a resolution to recognize March 8, 2021 as International Women’s Day, and she’s the lead sponsor of the Global, Health, Empowerment and Rights (HER) Act. The Global HER Act would permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. Shaheen previously reintroduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). This bipartisan bill would ensure that combating gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States. 

Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen commemorated International Women’s Day with a Medium post, in which she called on all lawmakers to step forward and work together meaningfully to make issues impacting women and girls around the world top policy priorities. 

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