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Senate passes "International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2011"

The Senate passed by voice vote the “International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2011” (S. 414). Originally introduced in February of 2011, the bill states, among other things, that “child marriage undermines United States investments in foreign assistance . . . to reduce maternal and child mortality, reduce maternal illness, halt the transmission of HIV/AIDS [and] prevent gender-based violence.” The bill requires the President to establish a multi-year strategy to prevent child marriage and authorizes the President to implement a variety of foreign assistance programs directed at the needs of girls including “access to water and suitable hygiene facilities . . . [and] access to health care services and proper nutrition for adolescent girls.” 

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  • Senate report accompanying the bill (#112-170).
State Department releases fact sheet titled "The U.S. Global Health Initiative: Saving Lives and Promoting Security"

The State Department released a fact sheet titled “The U.S. Global Health Initiative: Saving Lives and Promoting Security,” which, among other things, details the GHI’s principles and targets.

Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at event commemorating International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation

During remarks given at a State Department event commemorating International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed U.S. efforts to address FGM/C and announced a joint effort with the University of Nairobi to fund a pan-African Center of Excellence in Kenya that “will focus on developing local solutions to end the practice and offer medical training on how to support the women who have been hurt and damaged by it.”

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UN Ambassador Rice discusses U.S. efforts to empower rural women through GHI and FtF

During remarks given at the 56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Susan E. Rice discussed U.S. efforts to empower rural women through, among other things, the Global Health Initiative (GHI) and the Feed the Future Initiative (FtF).

Administration officials release statements commemorating the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement commemorating the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) and reaffirming the U.S. commitment to abolishing the practice of FGM/C.

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Resolutions concerning gender-based violence introduced in House and Senate

Representative Frederica Wilson (D-FL, 17th) and Senator Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced companion resolutions (H.Res. 521 and S.Res. 352) stating that the United States and the Government of Haiti should work together to address, including through the provision of medical care, gender-based violence (GBV) against women and children. Representative Wilson also issued a press release about the resolution.

Administration actions and statements commemorating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

In commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, Vice President Joseph Biden released a statement reaffirming the U.S. commitment to eliminating violence against women and girls, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer announced $3 million in grants to address the link between HIV and Gender-Based Violence (GBV), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released resources in support of the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” campaign.

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Administration releases global strategy on gender-based violence and President Obama issues Executive Order directing implementation of the Strategy

The Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) released the “United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based Violence Globally.”  According to a State Department press release, the Strategy “outlines four key objectives: increase coordination of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts among U.S. Government agencies and with other stakeholders; to enhance integration of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts into existing U.S. Government work; to improve collection, analysis, and use of data and research to enhance gender-based violence prevention and response efforts; and to enhance or expand U.S. Government programming that addresses gender-based violence.” 

President Obama issued an Executive Order on “Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally,” to enhance the Administration’s efforts to address gender-based violence (GBV).  According to a White House fact sheet, the Strategy creates an interagency working group co-chaired by the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and directs the interagency working group to implement the Strategy.

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State Department and USAID release "National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security" implementation plans

The Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) each released an implementation plan for the “National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security,” which was issued by the White House in December 2011 and has a stated goal “to empower half the world’s population to act as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened and affected by war, violence, and insecurity.” Both implementation plans include provisions addressing health and gender-based violence.

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USAID:

USAID releases new “Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy”

During a White House event, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah announced the launch of the Agency’s new “Gender Equality and Female Empowerment Policy”. The new policy states that USAID investments will be aimed at three overarching outcomes:

  • Reduce gender disparities in access to, control over and benefit from resources, wealth, opportunities and services – economic, social, political, and cultural;
  • Reduce gender-based violence and mitigate its harmful effects on individuals; and
  • Increase capability of women and girls to realize their rights, determine their life outcomes, and influence decision-making in households, communities, and societies. 

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