June 7, 2016

United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally

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Under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary Clinton, the United States has put gender equality and the advancement of women and girls at the forefront of the three pillars of U.S. foreign policy–diplomacy, development, and defense. This is embodied in the President’s National Security Strategy, the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, and the 2010 U.S. Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). Evidence demonstrates that women’s empowerment is critical to building stable, democratic societies; to supporting open and accountable governance; to furthering international peace and security; to growing vibrant market economies; and to addressing
pressing health and education challenges.

Preventing and responding to gender-based violence is a cornerstone of the Administration’s commitment to advancing gender equality. Such violence significantly hinders the ability of individuals to fully participate in and contribute to their families and communities–economically, politically, and socially. Vice President Biden, who authored the Violence Against Women Act while in the Senate, has been a leader in efforts to end violence against women and girls for two decades. Secretary of State Clinton and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Rajiv Shah also have been tireless advocates for ending gender-based violence, and have elevated this issue as a foreign
policy priority.

To further advance its commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Obama Administration has developed this new strategy to prevent and respond more effectively to gender-based violence globally. The purpose of the strategy is to establish a government-wide approach that identifies, coordinates, integrates, and leverages current efforts and resources. The strategy provides Federal agencies with a set of concrete goals and actions to be implemented and monitored over the course of the next three years with an evaluation of progress midway through this period. At the end of the three-year timeframe, the agencies will evaluate the progress made and chart a course forward.

To ensure a government-wide perspective in developing this strategy, the White House, at the request of the U.S. Department of State and USAID, convened representatives from the U.S. Departments of State, the Treasury, Defense, Justice, Labor, Health and Human Services (including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. National Institutes of Health), and Homeland Security, as well as from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, USAID, the Peace Corps, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation. These included representatives working on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the Global Health Initiative (GHI), and the Office of the United States Government Special Advisor and Senior Coordinator for Children in Adversity. Additionally, the White House, the Department of State, and USAID held multiple consultations with civil society organizations to ensure that their perspectives informed the development of the strategy.

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