Text: S.3151 — 111th Congress (2009-2010)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (03/22/2010)


111th CONGRESS
2d Session
S. 3151


To establish the Office for Global Women's Issues and the Women’s Development Advisor to facilitate interagency coordination and the integration of gender considerations into the strategies, programming, and associated outcomes of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development, and for other purposes.


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 22 (legistlative day, March 19), 2010

Mr. Kerry (for himself and Mr. Lugar) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations


A BILL

To establish the Office for Global Women's Issues and the Women’s Development Advisor to facilitate interagency coordination and the integration of gender considerations into the strategies, programming, and associated outcomes of the Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Enhancing Quality Assistance and Leadership and Improving Transparency for Women Act” or the “EQUALITY Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds the following:

(1) Women are vital to successful development. On January 6, 2010, Secretary of State Clinton stated, “Women and girls are one of the world’s greatest untapped resources. Investing in the potential of women to lift and lead their societies is one of the best investments we can make. … (S)tudies have shown when a woman receives even just one year of schooling, her children are less likely to die in infancy or suffer from illness or hunger, and more likely to go to school themselves.”.

(2) According to the World Bank—

(A) investing in women and girls yields large social and economic returns, including breaking intergenerational cycles of poverty; and

(B) societies that treat males and females more equally experience more rapid economic growth and poverty reduction than societies that discriminate based on gender.

(3) United Nations Millennium Development Goal 3 (MDG3) calls for redressing gender disparities and empowering women. According to the United Nations, women have more access to employment now than ever before; but they still earn 13 less than men. According to the World Bank, MDG3 is the critical avenue through which several other goals are achievable, including—

(A) universal primary education (MDG2);

(B) a 23 reduction in the mortality rate among children younger than 5 years of age (MDG4);

(C) improvements in maternal health (MDG5); and

(D) a reduction in the likelihood of contracting HIV/AIDS and other major diseases (MDG6).

(4) Properly investing in women requires a cross-cutting, multi-sectoral approach. On October 8, 2009, Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, stated “The major economic, security, governance, and environmental challenges of our time cannot be solved without the participation of women at all levels of society. Empowering women is one of the most effective and positive forces for improving conditions around the globe. Indeed, no country can prosper if half its people are left behind.”.

(5) The Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development need stronger tools to create a comprehensive plan and approach to mainstreaming women in development. As of 2010, these efforts are only nascent. In his December 2, 2009, confirmation hearing before the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah stated “I believe effective gender integration is often the difference between success and failure of a broad variety of development investments.”.

SEC. 3. Office for Global Women’s Issues.

(a) Establishment.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—There is established, in the Office of the Secretary of State, the Office for Global Women’s Issues (referred to in this section as the “Office”).

(2) PERSONNEL.—The Secretary of State may assign appropriate staff with relevant technical and operational expertise to the Office to carry out the purposes of this section.

(b) Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues.—The Office shall be headed by an Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues (referred to in this section as the “Ambassador”), who—

(1) shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate;

(2) shall report directly to the Secretary of State; and

(3) shall have the rank and status of Ambassador-at-Large.

(c) Duties.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—The Ambassador is authorized to—

(A) coordinate and advise on activities, policies, programs, and funding of relevant bureaus and offices of the Department of State, which relate to—

(i) gender integration;

(ii) women’s and girls’ economic, social and legal development, protection, improvement in role and status in societies; and

(iii) prevention and response to violence against women and girls, including child and forced marriage;

(B) promote and advance the full integration of gender analysis into the programs, structures, processes, and capacities of the Department of State and other Federal Government agencies conducting international programs;

(C) work with relevant offices within the Department of State to promote the collection, retention, and analysis of data on programs and activities of the Department—

(i) to integrate gender into its policies and programs;

(ii) regarding the protection and economic, social, and legal development of women and girls;

(iii) to improve the role and status of women and girls in societies; and

(iv) to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, including child and forced marriage; and

(D) in coordination with relevant bureaus and offices of the Department of State, design support, and implement relevant activities and programs regarding international girls’ and women’s issues.

(2) COORDINATING ROLE.—The Ambassador is authorized to—

(A) advise and coordinate with relevant Executive Branch agencies engaged in international women’s policies and programs, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Labor, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Defense, the Department of Commerce, the United States Agency for International Development and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, on policies, programs, and funding of such agencies relating to women’s issues in their international programs and policies; and

(B) work with relevant Executive Branch agencies described in subparagraph (A), to compile and make public comprehensive information about United States Government international programs relating to—

(i) the economic, social, and legal development of women and girls;

(ii) the protection of women and girls;

(iii) the improvement of the role and status of women and girls in societies;

(iv) the prevention of and response to violence against women and girls, including child and forced marriage; and

(v) the outcomes and effectiveness of such programs.

(3) DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION.—Subject to the direction of the President and the Secretary of State, the Ambassador is authorized to represent the United States in matters relevant to the status of women internationally.

(d) Interagency cooperation.—

(1) AUTHORIZATION.—The Ambassador is authorized—

(A) to provide advice and guidance, as appropriate, to the Federal Government agencies described in subsection (c)(2)(A); and

(B) on behalf of the Secretary of State, to convene periodic meetings with other Federal Government agencies to enhance and ensure effective coordination of policies, programs, and resources regarding critical issues related to international women’s status and development.

(2) SENSE OF THE SENATE.—It is the sense of the Senate that the heads of relevant Federal Government agencies described in subsection (c)(2)(A) should ensure effective implementation and coordination of all international women’s policies and programs by annually sharing information with the Office on programs described in subsection (c)(2)(B).

(e) Congressional briefings.—Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the Ambassador shall brief Congress on the integration of gender considerations into its strategies, programming, and associated outcomes, and interagency cooperation.

(f) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be required for each of the fiscal years 2011 through 2015 to carry out the activities authorized under this section.

SEC. 4. United States Agency for International Development Women’s Development Advisor.

(a) Establishment.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—There is established, within the United States Agency for International Development (referred to in this section as “USAID”), the Women’s Development Advisor (referred to in this section as the “Advisor”), who shall—

(A) be appointed by, and report directly to, the USAID Administrator;

(B) be highly qualified in the areas of international development and gender integration; and

(C) participate in high level strategic policy, planning, operations, and evaluations throughout all regional and functional disciplines of USAID.

(2) SUPPORT STAFF.—The Office of Women in International Development shall report directly to the Advisor. The USAID Administrator may assign additional staff with technical and operational expertise as may be needed to assist the Advisor in carrying out the purposes of this section.

(b) Duties.—The Advisor is authorized to—

(1) coordinate USAID efforts to integrate gender in foreign assistance design, strategy, and programs;

(2) coordinate and consult with the Ambassador;

(3) inform the USAID Administrator of United States Government policies relating to gender, including those disseminated by the Ambassador;

(4) collect and make publicly available data and analysis on gender integration activities, women’s development, strategies for gender-based violence prevention and response, in accordance with agency-wide mechanisms for data collection, monitoring, and evaluation; and

(5) provide recommendations to the Administrator.

(c) Congressional briefings.—Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter, the USAID Administrator or the Advisor shall provide to Congress data collected under subsection (b)(5) on the integration of gender, women’s development, and gender-based violence prevention and response into its strategies, programming, and associated outcomes.

(d) Authorization of appropriations.—There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 2011 through 2015 to carry out the activities authorized under this section.

SEC. 5. Comptroller General report.

(a) Report required.—Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General of the United States shall submit a report to the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate and the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives that provides a detailed accounting of all United States Government financial assistance—

(1) to further international economic, social, and legal development for women and girls;

(2) to provide protection for women and girls;

(3) to improve the role and status of women and girls in societies;

(4) to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls, including child and forced marriage; and

(5) to address related issues.

(b) Contents.—The report required under subsection (a) shall include—

(1) a description and assessment of the programs authorized and funded to address the issues set forth in paragraphs (1) through (5) of subsection (a);

(2) an assessment of the coordination among Federal agencies involved in such programs, including—

(A) an examination of the internal coordination within such programs; and

(B) the integration with the larger global health and development agenda of the United States;

(3) an assessment of procurement policies and practices within such programs;

(4) an assessment of the impact of such efforts; and

(5) recommendations for improving the coordination and outcomes of such programs and funding.