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Supporting Women and Girls Queued Up for Next Congress



October 14, 2010

Supporting Women and Girls Queued Up for Next Congress

The United States has taken important steps forward this year to show that Americans are committed to MDG 3, the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. Recent congressional actions highlight that empowering women is now a top legislative priority. This activity can most notably be seen through the movement of two Senate bills: The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009 (S.987); and the International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 (S.2982). Both of these bill boast strong bipartisan support.

children-oct2010The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2009 has been placed on the Senate calendar with strong support from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This important legislation has been in the works for some time and was reintroduced this session by Sen. Durbin (D-IL).This legislation will prevent child marriage through programs that will educate, protect, and empower young girls in the developing world. Among other things, the legislation authorizes the President to implement foreign assistance programs through partnerships with organizations, including multilaterals, to address the needs of girls including access to health care services and proper nutrition. It also directs the State Department to include child marriage as part of its Human Rights Report. This legislation is especially important because it underscores the reality that child marriage poses a number of health risks to women and children. Preventing child marriage will reduce maternal and child mortality as well as reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS. Learn more here.

women-oct2010The International Violence Against Women Act of 2010 has been referred to the Senate Foreign Relations committee for consideration. If successful in the committee the legislation will then be sent to the full Senate for a vote. The legislation, introduced by Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) calls for the development of a comprehensive strategy to prevent violence against women and girls including vital emergency responses that arise during armed conflict. This strategy will focus on the integration and establishment of best practices to address violence against women on issues including heath care, legal reform, and education. If passed, this legislation will require the Administration to make resources available to assist the UN in their efforts on this front. Learn more here.

Photos: Young women in India (top); Midwives in Afghanistan (bottom)