President Obama has added to the burden of Americans. He has determined that it is now the responsibility of taxpayers to police the world’s treatment of women. He has signed an executive order which establishes a new foreign policy objective: ending violence to women everywhere.
It is a good idea to end violence against women. But why does the U.S. government have the authority to police the world? How will this claim affect foreign relations? Is the U.S. government going to enforce this? How? With what means?
Here are highlights of the new order. A new bureaucracy will be created to monitor violations and formulate appropriate responses.
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. (a) Recognizing that gender-based violence undermines not only the safety, dignity, and human rights of the millions of individuals who experience it, but also the public health, economic stability, and security of nations, it is the policy and practice of the executive branch of the United States Government to have a multi-year strategy that will more effectively prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally.
(b) Under the leadership of my Administration, the United States has made gender equality and women’s empowerment a core focus of our foreign policy. This focus is reflected in our National Security Strategy, the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, and the 2010 U.S. Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. Evidence demonstrates that women’s empowerment is critical to building stable, democratic societies; to supporting open and accountable governance; to furthering international peace and security; to growing vibrant market economies; and to addressing pressing health and education challenges.
(c) Preventing and responding to gender-based violence is a cornerstone of my Administration’s commitment to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Such violence significantly hinders the ability of individuals to fully participate in, and contribute to, their communities — economically, politically, and socially. It is a human rights violation or abuse; a public health challenge; and a barrier to civic, social, political, and economic participation. It is associated with adverse health outcomes, limited access to education, increased costs relating to medical and legal services, lost household productivity, and reduced income, and there is evidence it is exacerbated in times of crisis, such as emergencies, natural disasters, and violent conflicts. . . .
Sec. 2. Creating an Interagency Working Group. There is established an Interagency Working Group (Working Group) to address gender-based violence, which shall coordinate implementation of the Strategy by the executive departments and agencies that are members of the Working Group (member agencies) in accordance with the priorities set forth in section 3 of this order.
(a) The Working Group shall be co-chaired by the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (Co-Chairs). In addition to the Co-Chairs, the Working Group shall consist of representatives from:
(i) the Department of the Treasury;
(ii) the Department of Defense;
(iii) the Department of Justice;
(iv) the Department of Labor;
(v) the Department of Health and Human Services;
(vi) the Department of Homeland Security;
(vii) the Office of Management and Budget;
(viii) the National Security Staff;
(ix) the Office of the Vice President;
(x) the Peace Corps;
(xi) the Millennium Challenge Corporation;
(xii) the White House Council on Women and Girls; and
(xiii) other executive departments, agencies, and offices, as designated by the Co-Chairs.
(b) Within 120 days of the date of this order, the Co-Chairs shall convene the first meeting of the Working Group to:
(i) establish benchmarks to implement the Strategy; and
(ii) determine a timetable for periodically reviewing those benchmarks.
(c) Within 18 months of the date of this order, the Working Group shall complete a progress report for submission to the Co-Chairs evaluating the U.S. Government’s implementation of the Strategy.
(d) Within 3 years of the date of this order, the Working Group shall complete a final evaluation for submission to the Co-Chairs of the U.S. Government’s implementation of the Strategy.
(e) Within 180 days of completing its final evaluation of the Strategy in accordance with subsection (d) of this section, the Working Group shall update or revise the Strategy to take into account the information learned and the progress made during and through the implementation of the Strategy.
(f) The activities of the Working Group shall, consistent with law, take due account of existing interagency bodies and coordination mechanisms and will coordinate with such bodies and mechanisms where appropriate in order to avoid duplication of efforts.
Sec. 3. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally. Member agencies shall implement the Strategy to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally. . . .
(ii) Member agencies shall deepen engagement and coordination with other governments; international organizations, including multilateral and bilateral actors; the private sector; and civil society organizations, such as representatives of indigenous and marginalized groups, foundations, community-based, faith-based, and regional organizations (including those that serve survivors), labor unions, universities, and research organizations. The Working Group shall consider a range of mechanisms by which these stakeholders may provide input to the U.S. Government on its role in preventing and responding to gender-based violence globally. . . .
(d) Enhancing or Expanding U.S. Government Programming that Addresses Gender-based Violence. Consistent with the availability of appropriations, the U.S. Government shall support programming that provides a comprehensive and multi-sector approach to preventing and responding to gender-based violence; shall consider replicating or expanding successful programs; and shall assess the feasibility of a focused, coordinated, comprehensive, and multi-sector approach to gender-based violence in one or more countries. . . .