On Friday Barack Obama issued an Executive Order on Preventing and Responding to Violence Against Women and Girls Globally. The administration claims that it is to further enhance its efforts to advance the rights and status of women and girls, to promote gender equality in U.S. foreign policy, and to bring about a world in which all individuals can pursue their aspirations without the threat of violence.

The EO creates an inter-agency working group that is co-chaired by the Secretary of State and the Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). It also directs departments and agencies to implement the new United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally.

According to the EO, it will ensure that agencies within the federal government prioritize this issue in their implementation of foreign policy. Since it is a long term policy, there are requirements to update or revise the Strategy after three years.

Here's the basic outline of the Strategy:

• Increased coordination of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts among United States Government agencies and with other stakeholders;
• Enhanced integration of gender-based violence prevention and response efforts into existing United States Government work;
• Improved collection, analysis, and use of data and research to enhance gender-based violence prevention and response efforts; and
• Enhanced or expanded United States Government programming that addresses gender-based violence.

In addition to the Department of State and USAID, the working group will include representatives from:

• the Department of the Treasury;
• the Department of Defense;
• the Department of Justice;
• the Department of Labor;
• the Department of Health and Human Services;
• the Department of Homeland Security;
• the Office of Management and Budget;
• the National Security Staff;
• the Office of the Vice President;
• the Peace Corps;
• the Millennium Challenge Corporation;
• the White House Council on Women and Girls; and
• other executive departments, agencies, and offices, as designated by the Co-Chairs.

The question going through my mind is why does the Executive Branch believe there is a need for it to supersede Congress in this matter which has global proportions? Second, will Barack Obama seek to bring this about in countries that he is sympathetic towards where the Muslim Brotherhood has seized power and it is widely known how they treat women? I'm guessing though that this is more political posturing to the female voting base to try and demonstrate that Obama actually cares about women.

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