United States Mission to the United Nations
Office of Press and Public Diplomacy
For Immediate Release
November 24, 2021
Statement by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence
Women constitute roughly half of the global population, yet they are systematically abused, discriminated against, and excluded. One in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Gender-based violence (GBV) online and offline, including sexual, physical, psychological, and economic harm, can preclude women and girls from receiving an education, inhibit their full civic and political participation, and cost them jobs or other opportunities later in life.
Alongside the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had devastating consequences for global populations, there has been an uptick in violence, particularly domestic violence, against women and girls, called the “shadow pandemic.” Women and girls from marginalized populations such as ethnic and religious minorities, indigenous women and girls, LGBTQI+ persons, women and girls with disabilities, and women and girls in fragile and conflict-affected states, experience gender-based violence at even higher and more alarming rates.
The United States remains committed to preventing and responding to all forms of GBV and building on the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Act of 2017, the world’s first comprehensive legislation on WPS. In March, President Biden signed E.O. 14020, which established a White House Gender Policy Council, called for the creation of the first-ever U.S. National Action Plan to End GBV, and requested an update to the U.S. Strategy to Prevent and Respond to GBV Globally. In October, the Biden-Harris Administration also released the U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality, which includes a pillar on ending GBV.
As Vice President Harris stated in the U.S. National Statement at the 65th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March of this year, “The status of democracy also depends fundamentally on the empowerment of women… The status of women is the status of democracy.” Women and girls, in all their diversity, deserve to live free from the threat of violence.