International Women's Freedom Act
Governments must provide their national machineries for the advancement of women with the necessary financial and human resources. Too often, this funding priority is neglected and we lose headway in the progress for women’s equality.
Support for the human rights of women must be the cornerstone of American foreign policy. To help support the State Department and the Executive branch in advancing the human rights of women, I introduced the International Women’s Freedom Act. Modeled after the successful International Religious Freedom Act, the bill would establish a Commission on International Women’s Rights and would expand the duties of the existing Office of International Women’s issues in the State Department and rename it, the Office on International Women’s Rights. Both the Commission and the Office on International Women’s Rights would be granted the responsibilities of issuing a report on the status of women’s rights abroad and advising the President and Secretary of State regarding matters affecting these issues.
Regular reporting is a constructive tool to accelerate change. For example, we have seen countries that are ranked low in the Trafficking in Persons Report rapidly enact national policies to improve their tier placement. Similar annual country reports on women’s rights could yield improvements in areas such as honor killings, domestic violence, child marriage, and rape. No such report currently exists.
We need to work harder to empower women on a global level; countries cannot reach their full potential without equal participation of women. This bill will ensure we have the tools to do so.
01/25/11 - H.R.418, To express United States foreign policy with respect to, and to strengthen United States advocacy on behalf of, individuals persecuted and denied their rights in foreign countries on account of gender, and for other purposes. [112th Congress]
01/16/09 - H.R. 606, International Women's Freedom Act of 2009 [111th Congress]