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In addition to being an egregious human rights violation, violence against women is a major cause of poverty and a huge barrier to economic opportunity. Violence keeps women from getting an education, working, and earning the income they need to lift their families out of poverty. And research shows that giving women in poor countries economic opportunity empowers them to escape abusive situations.
The good news is that violence against women is preventable and that there are proven solutions that work. The International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA), if passed, would for the first time comprehensively incorporate these solutions into all U.S. foreign assistance programs - solutions such as promoting women's economic opportunity, addressing violence against girls in school, and working to change public attitudes. Among other things, the IVAWA would make ending violence against women a diplomatic priority for the first time in U.S. history. It would require the U.S. government to respond to critical outbreaks of gender-based violence in armed conflict - such as the mass rapes now occuring in the Democratic Republic of Congo - within six months. And by investing in local women's organizations overseas that are succesfully working to reduce violence in their communities, the IVAWA would have a huge impact on reducing poverty - freeing millions of women in poor countries to lift themselves, their families, and their communities out of poverty.
The IVAWA was introduced in the U.S. Senate on October 31, 2007 by Senator Joseph Biden (D-Delaware) and Senator Richard Lugar (R-Indiana) and in the House of Representatives by Congressman Howard Berman (D-California) on April 30, 2008. It was developed by Senator Biden and Lugar in conjunction with the Women Thrive Worldwide (formerly Women's Edge Coalition), Amnesty International USA
(AIUSA), the Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF), and the help of organizational partners. It is the result of extensive research on what works: it was drafted in consultation with more than 150 groups including U.S.-based NGOs, U.N. agencies and 40 women’s groups across the globe. Finally, it is the centerpiece of a nation-wide campaign led by Women Thrive, AIUSA, and FVPF to end violence against women worldwide.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The International Violence Against Women Act
From the Women Thrive Worldwide website: