In honor of Women's Equality Day (August 26), Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) has announced that when the House reconvenes this fall, she will introduce a bill to equip the US government to advocate for global women's rights. The legislation would establish a Commission on International Women’s Rights and a special State Department office to advise the president and secretary of state on international women’s issues. It would also give the president power to block US aid to governments found to be engaged in gross violations of women’s rights.
“In many countries, women are still being subjected to brutal honor killings, forced to obey repressive social norms, and rendered invisible in the eyes of the law,” said Maloney, a longtime women’s rights advocate in Congress. “My [law] recognizes that while we continue to wage the fight for true equality at home, we also have an obligation to help women everywhere break the binds of gender oppression.”
This law comes at critical moment for women around the world. Women make up the majority of the world’s poor and continue to be subject to violence and human rights violations such as honor killings, sex trafficking, mass rape, female circumcision, child marriage, and domestic violence. For example, as recently as May, a 17-year-old Iraqi girl was stoned to death by up to 1,000 men for having a relationship with a Sunni male.
Media Resources: Rep. Maloney release 8/24/07; Feminist News Wire 8/23/07, 5/9/07; Maloney.house.gov; UN Fact Sheet “The Feminization of Poverty,” 5/00