Urge President Obama to Appoint a Senior Gender Advisor at USAID

The Obama Administration has taken important steps to address gender-based violence (GBV) globally.  It has invested in and highlighted GBV in the Global Health Initiative and the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), taken leadership on advancing and implementing UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security in conflict and post-conflict situations, and launched country-level initiatives in devastated countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In addition, the Administration has already created a leadership infrastructure and developed internal support for this work by: establishing the Office for Global Women’s Issues at the Department of State and appointing an Ambassador-at-Large; naming an Advisor on Violence Against Women at the White House; establishing new gender advisors within key offices at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID); and forming an Inter-Agency Task Force to measure progress on integrating gender considerations appropriately in U.S. policy. The Administration’s first Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) reinforces U.S. commitment at the Department of State and the USAID to: “integrate gender issues into policies and practices” and “ensure that gender is effectively addressed throughout all bureaus and missions.”

Still, no comprehensive strategy currently exists shaping a U.S. global response to GBV or ensuring the integration of approaches to violence within and across sectors of development.  Even within specific policy areas—such as international health, girls’ education, democracy-building, and disaster relief—opportunities to address GBV are often missed.  Successfully including the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls as a central policy principle will bolster U.S. efforts to promote democratic governance, human rights, economic development, and greater security and stability worldwide.  Importantly, such an intentional effort will help embed GBV prevention and response into existing structures and programs and ensure that it remain well into future administrations.

President Obama can begin to immediately address this lack of comprehensive strategy by appointing a Senior Gender Advisor at the USAID.  We need a high level advocate at USAID to oversee and coordinate the agency’s plethora of activities on gender-based violence (GBV) and women’s empowerment.  The Senior Gender Advisor at USAID would work directly with the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, Melanne Verveer, at the Department of State to create a comprehensive strategy for reducing GBV.  Together, these two high profile Administration officials can reaffirm the United States’ commitment to preventing and ending violence against women and girls globally.  A U.S. strategy to combat GBV must include a concerted effort from USAID’s various bureaus as development and women’s elevated status in society goes hand-in-hand with reducing the prevalence of violence.

Recipients

  • President Barack Obama

Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

Thank you for leading your Administration to take important steps to address gender-based violence (GBV) globally.



Please take the first step in implementing this strategy by appointing a Senior Gender Advisor at USAID, as called for in the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA). We need a high level advocate at USAID to oversee and coordinate the agency's activities on GBV and women's empowerment. Please appoint a Senior Gender Advisor at USAID immediately to work directly with the Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues, Melanne Verveer, at the Department of State to create a comprehensive strategy for reducing GBV and fund implementation. A U.S. strategy to combat GBV must include a concerted effort from USAID's various bureaus as development and women's elevated status in society goes hand-in-hand with reducing the prevalence of violence.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

Contact

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