A New Executive Order Places Women and Girls at the Forefront of Foreign Policy
The Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally executive order is a major step toward a better future for girls across the globe.
Back in January, the media flocked to cover the painful story of Sahar Gul, an Afghan child bride who was held captive in a basement bathroom and tortured for six months. Though her life took a turn for the better once her abusive in-laws and husband were jailed, millions of girls and women around the world will never see the same justice.
Over 60 million girls under 18—many of whom live in South Asia—are currently child brides, according to the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Perhaps even more shockingly, anywhere from 100 to 140 million girls around the world have been forced to undergo genital mutilation.
And though women in the United States fare far better, millions of us have been affected by horrific acts of violence. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 18.3 percent of women in this country are survivors of rape or attempted rape.
These stories and statistics have had women’s rights proponents calling for an end to the violence—and it looks like their hard work may finally pay off. Last month, President Obama signed an executive order titled Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally.
“For many years, violence against women was treated as a side issue or a private issue,” Alyse Nelson, CEO of nonpartisan women’s empowerment organization Vital Voices, told us in an exclusive interview. “We are thrilled that our government has committed itself to ending violence against women. Not one country can say that women are free from violence. Whether it’s domestic violence, human trafficking, honor killings, or genital mutilation, we are faced with a whole range of issues. And this is hurting countries socially and economically. We cannot achieve our foreign policy goals if we don’t protect the rights of women.”
Find out more about the specific objectives of the Preventing and responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally order, up next.