“Globally, an estimated one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into
sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime,” says Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.  Yesterday, President Obama issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally:

The Executive Order requires enhanced coordination of [U.S.] efforts through the creation of an interagency working group, co-chaired by Secretary of State Clinton and USAID Administrator Shah, designed to leverage our country’s tremendous expertise and capacity to prevent and respond to gender-based violence globally as well as establish a coordinated, government-wide approach to address this terrible reality.

The Executive Order directs U.S. Federal agencies to implement a new four-pronged strategy designed to:

(1) increase coordination of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts among United States Government agencies and with other stakeholders;

(2) enhance integration of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts into existing United States Government work;

(3) improve collection, analysis, and use of data and research to enhance gender-based violence prevention,  and response efforts; and

(4) enhance and expand United States Government programming that addresses gender-based violence.

On the domestic front, Jarrett criticized Congress’ failure to timely reauthorize VAWA: “the Violence Against Women Act, something that should be above politics, is mired in just that on the Hill. The Senate passed a strong bipartisan bill three months ago. The House should take up the Senate bill so we can get this important bill to the President’s desk. Women should not have to wait a day longer.”  Ending violence against women and girls is a high priority on both the foreign and domestic policy agendas of the Obama Administration.  “Together,” says Jarrett, “we can help protect more women and girls…from senseless violence, and give them the opportunity to advance and thrive, living without fear.”

READ MORE: Progress Toward a World Without Violence Against Women and Girls, The White House Blog (August 10, 2012).