United States: Pass the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) - Equality Now

United States: Pass the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA)

On 15 February 2018, the US House of Representatives re-introduced the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), sponsored by Representative Schakowsky along with 72 other co-sponsors. This follows the November 2017 re-introduction of I-VAWA as a bi-partisan bill by the Senate. I-VAWA was first introduced in the US Congress in 2007, but efforts to pass the law have failed for over a decade despite the bill being repeatedly re-introduced. The current climate, with growing awareness of and strong opposition to violence against women, presents an ideal opportunity to pass I-VAWA and take a crucial step towards ending violence against women and girls globally. 


Gender-based violence is a global problem and the numbers are staggering:

  • One in three women will face physical, mental or sexual abuse in their lifetimes.
  • Each year, around 3 million girls and women – or some 8,000 girls each day – face the risk of female genital mutilation. An estimated 200 million girls have already been subjected to the practice.
  • Worldwide, almost 750 million women and girls alive today were married before their 18th birthday. Nearly 39,000 girls under the age of 18 are still married each day.
  • In some countries, as many as 30 percent of women report that their first sexual experience was coerced or forced. The younger a woman was at the time of sexual initiation, the higher the chance that it was violent.
  • One billion women and girls are affected by violence, including rape, domestic violence, acid burning, dowry-deaths, “honor” killings, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, child marriage and other harmful practices.
  • Violent extremism is on the rise and it places the subordination of women at the center of the ideology and war tactics - mass rape is often used as a weapon of war.

How does I-VAWA help?

I-VAWA is bi-partisan legislation that will not only improve the response to violence against women and girls, but will also prevent it. And now more than ever, women and girls deserve a chance to live their lives free from violence. Equality Now, along with its partners in the Coalition to End Violence Against Women and Girl Globally, call on Congress to swiftly consider and pass I-VAWA to empower women and girls, along with their communities and nations, to end violence.