Text: S.802 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

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Public Law No: 114-24 (06/12/2015)

 
[114th Congress Public Law 24]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



[[Page 313]]

                         GIRLS COUNT ACT OF 2015

[[Page 129 STAT. 314]]

Public Law 114-24
114th Congress

                                 An Act


 
To authorize the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the United 
  States Agency for International Development to provide assistance to 
 support the rights of women and girls in developing countries, and for 
          other purposes. <<NOTE: June 12, 2015 -  [S. 802]>> 

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled, <<NOTE: Girls Count Act 
of 2015. 22 USC 2151 note.>> 
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Girls Count Act of 2015''.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) According to the United States Census Bureau's 2013 
        international figures, 1 person in 12, or close to 900,000,000 
        people, is a girl or young woman age 10 through 24.
            (2) The Census Bureau's data also illustrates that young 
        people are the fastest growing segment of the population in 
        developing countries.
            (3) Even though most countries do have birth registration 
        laws, four out of ten babies born in 2012 were not registered 
        worldwide. Moreover, an estimated 36 percent of children under 
        the age of five worldwide (about 230,000,000 children) do not 
        possess a birth certificate.
            (4) A nationally recognized proof of birth system is 
        important to determining a child's citizenship, nationality, 
        place of birth, parentage, and age. Without such a system, a 
        passport, driver's license, or other identification card is 
        difficult to obtain. The lack of such documentation can prevent 
        girls and women from officially participating in and benefitting 
        from the formal economic, legal, and political sectors in their 
        countries.
            (5) The lack of birth registration among girls worldwide is 
        particularly concerning as it can exacerbate the 
        disproportionate vulnerability of women to trafficking, child 
        marriage, and lack of access to health and education services.
            (6) A lack of birth registration among women and girls can 
        also aggravate what, in many places, amounts to an already 
        reduced ability to seek employment, participate in civil 
        society, or purchase or inherit land and other assets.
            (7) Girls undertake much of the domestic labor needed for 
        poor families to survive: carrying water, harvesting crops, 
        tending livestock, caring for younger children, and doing 
        chores.
            (8) Accurate assessments of access to education, poverty 
        levels, and overall census activities are hampered by the lack

[[Page 129 STAT. 315]]

        of official information on women and girls. Without this 
        rudimentary information, assessments of foreign assistance and 
        domestic social welfare programs are difficult to gauge.
            (9) To help ensure that women and girls are considered in 
        United States foreign assistance policies and programs, that 
        their needs are addressed in the design, implementation, and 
        evaluation of foreign assistance programs, and that women and 
        girls have the opportunity to succeed, it is important that 
        girls be counted and have access to birth certificates and other 
        official documentation.
SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

    It is the policy of the United States to--
            (1) encourage countries to support the rule of law and 
        ensure girls and boys of all ages are able to fully participate 
        in society, including by providing birth certifications and 
        other official documentation;
            (2) enhance training and capacity-building in key developing 
        countries, local nongovernmental organizations, and other civil 
        society organizations, including faith-based organizations and 
        organizations representing children and families in the design, 
        implementation, and monitoring of programs under this Act, to 
        effectively address the needs of birth registries in countries 
        where girls are systematically undercounted; and
            (3) incorporate into the design, implementation, and 
        evaluation of policies and programs measures to evaluate the 
        impact that such policies and programs have on girls.
SEC. 4. UNITED STATES ASSISTANCE TO SUPPORT COUNTING OF GIRLS IN 
                    THE DEVELOPING WORLD.

    (a) Authorization.--The Secretary and the Administrator are 
authorized to prioritize and advance ongoing efforts to--
            (1) support programs that will contribute to improved and 
        sustainable Civil Registration and Vital Statistics Systems 
        (CRVS) with a focus on birth registration;
            (2) support programs that build the capacity of developing 
        countries' national and local legal and policy frameworks to 
        prevent discrimination against girls in gaining access to birth 
        certificates, particularly where this may help prevent 
        exploitation, violence, and other abuse; and
            (3) support programs and key ministries, including, 
        interior, youth, and education ministries, to help increase 
        property rights, social security, home ownership, land tenure 
        security, inheritance rights, access to education, and economic 
        and entrepreneurial opportunities, particularly for women and 
        girls.

    (b) Coordination With Multilateral Organizations.--The Secretary and 
the Administrator are authorized to coordinate with the World Bank, 
relevant United Nations agencies and programs, and other relevant 
organizations to encourage and work with countries to enact, implement, 
and enforce laws that specifically collect data on girls and establish 
registration programs to ensure girls are appropriately counted and have 
the opportunity to be active participants in the social, legal, and 
political sectors of society in their countries.
    (c) Coordination With Private Sector and Civil Society 
Organizations.--The Secretary and the Administrator are authorized to 
work with the United States, international, and local private sector and 
civil society organizations to advocate for the registration

[[Page 129 STAT. 316]]

and documentation of all girls and boys in developing countries, in 
order to help prevent exploitation, violence, and other abuses and to 
help provide economic and social opportunities.
SEC. 5. REPORT.

    The <<NOTE: Evaluations.>> Secretary and the Administrator shall 
include in relevant evaluations and reports to Congress the following 
information:
            (1) To the extent practicable, a breakdown of United States 
        foreign assistance beneficiaries by age, gender, marital status, 
        location, and school enrollment status.
            (2) A description, as appropriate, of how United States 
        foreign assistance benefits girls.
            (3) Specific information, as appropriate, on programs that 
        address the particular needs of girls.
SEC. 6. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Administrator.--The term ``Administrator'' means the 
        Administrator of the United States Agency for International 
        Development.
            (2) Foreign assistance.--The term ``foreign assistance'' has 
        the meaning given the term in section 634(b) of the Foreign 
        Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2394(b)).
            (3) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary 
        of State.
SEC. 7. SUNSET.

    This Act shall expire on the date that is five years after the date 
of the enactment of this Act.

    Approved June 12, 2015.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY--S. 802:
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CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 161 (2015):
            May 23, considered and passed Senate.
            June 1, considered and passed House.

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