Collins, Shaheen, and Isakson Introduce Legislation to Make Combatting Gender-Based Violence a Top U.S. Diplomatic Priority

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), bipartisan legislation to ensure combatting gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States.


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


"One in three women and girls around the world will report experiencing gender-based violence in their lifetimes. By denying women and girls the chance to rise to their full potential, gender-based violence stunts economic, political and social progress in our communities,” said Senator Shaheen. “The International Violence Against Women Act will ensure combatting gender-based violence around the world remains a top diplomatic and development priority for the United States. This not only means stopping sexual abuse and trafficking, domestic violence, early and forced marriages and other forms of gender-based violence, but also changing societal views and norms in places around the world where women and girls are not agents of their own future.”


“The United States must continue to be a leader in the fight to end gender-based violence around the world. The consequences of violence against girls and women at home and abroad are far-reaching, and the International Violence Against Women Act will help us better coordinate these important efforts,” said Senator Isakson. “Ensuring that women and girls around the world have the opportunity to reach their full potential, free from the threat of violence, must remain a priority for all of us.”


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.


Earlier this year, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution authored by Senators Collins and Shaheen recognizing International Women’s Day 2019.  In November, Senators Collins and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced the Girls Leadership, Engagement, and Advocacy in Development (LEAD) Act of 2019, legislation to promote girls’ leadership and participation in civic and political processes through U.S. foreign assistance. 


Read the bill text here.