Text: S.802 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)
Public Law No: 114-24 (06/12/2015)
[114th Congress Public Law 24]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
GIRLS COUNT ACT OF 2015
[[Page 129 STAT. 314]]
Public Law 114-24
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
(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
(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
(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
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
(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
(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
(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
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:
CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, Vol. 161 (2015):
May 23, considered and passed Senate.
June 1, considered and passed House.