By Antony J. Blinken, U.S. Secretary of State
Preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) is a human rights imperative and one this Administration is committed to championing. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, GBV impeded women and girls’ free and full participation in society. The pandemic has only exacerbated existing gender inequities, including increasing women’s economic insecurity; decreasing access to education and safe spaces for girls; and growing risk to all forms of GBV, particularly intimate partner violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, homophobic and transphobic violence, and child, early, and forced marriage.
We are taking steps to address the “shadow pandemic” of GBV around the world. In March, President Biden called for the development of the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan to End GBV and an update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to GBV Globally. Both processes will include significant input from valued civil society partners, many of whom have served on the front lines of this pandemic. Addressing GBV, including online harassment and abuse, will also be a priority topic of discussion in President Biden’s upcoming Summit for Democracy.
In addition, the recently released U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality highlights the elimination of GBV as one of our core gender and national security priorities. Guided by these strategic documents, the United States will develop and strengthen policies to end all forms of GBV, address GBV through comprehensive service provision, and increase prevention efforts.
Everyone deserves to live a life free from violence and achieve their full potential. Gender-based violence undermines the human rights and fundamental freedoms of far too many people in far too many places. The United States condemns all forms and instances of gender-based violence. On this 30th anniversary of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, we recommit to preventing and responding to gender-based violence as a moral and strategic imperative, as a fairness and equity issue, and as a driver of our collective prosperity and security.