United States: Senators Urge Congress to Combat Violence Against Women Worldwide
Wednesday, July 2, 2014 3:10 PM

A US Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee recently held a well-attended hearing to promote the passage of the International Violence against Women Act (IVAWA) and ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Senator Elizabeth Warren testified, stating, “Congress should pass the International Violence against Women Act in order to strengthen the existing strategy to reduce gender based violence and discrimination worldwide.”

IVAWA has been introduced in both Houses of the US Congress, although previous versions of the legislation did not pass. The Act would require the development and implementation of a five-year strategy to prevent and combat violence against women and girls around the world, including identifying up to 20 high-priority countries to assist with addressing gender based violence. The US signed CEDAW on July 17, 1980 but Congress has never ratified the treaty, putting the US in the same category as Iran, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Palau and Tonga. 

A Harvard University scholar, Hauwa Ibrahim, who grew up in Nigeria and was married at 10, said, “I strongly believe that ratification by the United States will make the treaty [CEDAW] stronger and give it a higher status that will provide greater incentive for Nigeria and other countries to make a more serious effort to end discrimination and violence against women and girls.”

Watch the hearing at http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/combating-violence-and-discrimination-against-women-a-global-call-to-action-06-24-14.

Compiled from: Bartels-Bland, Emily, Warren, Boxer Urge Congress to Pass Women’s Rights Legislation, Talk Radio News Service (June 25, 2014).