Menendez, Colleagues Introduce International Violence Against Women Act

Menendez, Colleagues Introduce International Violence Against Women Act

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


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) re-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), bipartisan legislation that would ensure combatting gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States.

 “Every day, both at home and around the world, we see the news of women suffering from violence and denied the basic security and equal rights they deserve to live a prosperous life,” said Senator Menendez. “From genital mutilation in Somalia, to arranged child marriages in Afghanistan and Chad, to Rohingya women facing horrific mass rape, murder and arson – the fact is women and girls globally continue to face disproportionately high levels of violence. We must work together to end this moral outrage. Societies that prioritize equal rights and combatting gender-based violence are more secure, stable, and prosperous. I am proud to join my colleagues once again in introducing the International Violence Against Women Act to make clear ending gender-based violence and discrimination is a top priority for the United States by ensuring our government has the necessary tools to promote the rights of women and girls, as well as advance their status on a global scale.”

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. Additionally, the State Department and USAID would be responsible for identifying four eligible low and lower-middle income countries for which comprehensive, individual country plans will be developed.
  • 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.
  • Require interagency coordination, monitoring and evaluation of programs and regular briefings to Congress.

Over 50 humanitarian, faith-based, human rights, refugee and women’s organizations voiced their support for the International Violence Against Women Act, including: American Jewish World Service, Amnesty International USA, CARE USA, Church World Service, Futures Without Violence, Human Rights Watch, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), National Organization for Women, UNICEF USA, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Women Thrive Alliance, Women's Refugee Commission and World Vision.

Sen. Menendez has a long history of standing up for women’s rights.  He is the prime sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to enshrine in law, once and for all, the notion that women have the exact same rights as men.  He fought hard to pass into law the landmark Fair Pay Act, which takes significant steps to close the wage gap and provides fair recourse for those who experience pay discrimination.  He was the lead sponsor of the bipartisan End Modern Slavery Initiative Act, which will create a powerful public-private partnership to help eliminate modern slavery around the globe; and an original co-sponsor of the International Women’s Day resolution.