President Biden’s Opportunity to Champion Women’s Rights Globally: Will He Seize It? 

Maegan Bradshaw, May 24, 2024

In a recent opinion piece for Newsweek, RAFT’s founder Indrani Goradia, along with Anna Lind-Guzik, and Carey Jones, discuss the significant role President Joe Biden can play in advancing women’s rights and gender equality on a global scale. Indrani and co-authors highlight the ongoing struggles women face worldwide and outline actionable steps the Biden administration can take to make meaningful progress in this critical area. 

Indrani and co-authors take action by writing a letter to the Biden administration asking him to support the creation of a global treaty dedicated to ending violence against women and girls (read here). This treaty would take the form of a new optional protocol to CEDAW, the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and bring about the necessary systemic change. 

A Global Challenge: Women’s Rights in Peril 

Women around the world continue to face significant challenges, including gender-based violence, limited access to education, economic inequality, and inadequate healthcare. Despite some advancements, the global state of women’s rights remains precarious, with the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating existing inequalities. Indrani argues that now is a pivotal moment for global leadership, and the United States, under President Biden’s leadership, has the potential to make a substantial impact in the fight against gender-based violence.  

Biden’s Track Record and Promises 

President Biden has a notable history of advocating for women's rights. As Vice President, he played a key role in the passage of the Violence Against Women Act and has consistently emphasized the importance of gender equality in his political platform. His administration’s early actions, including the establishment of the White House Gender Policy Council and commitments to address gender-based violence, signal a strong domestic agenda on women’s issues. 

The Need for International Action 

While domestic efforts are crucial, Indrani and co-authors stress that Biden's administration must also prioritize international initiatives. They call for the U.S. to lead by example and invest in programs that support women and girls globally. The letter to the Biden administration urges a commitment to combating gender-based violence on a global scale. 

Key Recommendations 

Indrani, Anna, and Carey outline key recommendations for the Biden administration to effectively champion women’s rights worldwide: 

Combat Gender-Based Violence: The U.S. should lead international efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. The formal ratification of CEDAW by the United States is itself an essential step. With the Biden administration's support, there will be an immense influence in putting the U.S. behind this effort.  

Promote Gender Equality in International Policies: The Biden administration should integrate gender equality into all aspects of its foreign policy. This includes advocating for women’s rights in international forums, supporting feminist movements, and holding countries accountable for human rights violations against women. 

Violence Prevention for all 

Advocating for women's rights and combating violence against men and boys are not mutually exclusive endeavors. In fact, supporting women's rights can strengthen the overall fight against gender-based violence and create a more equitable and just society for everyone.  

Supporting women's rights does not detract from efforts to combat violence against men and boys. Instead, it strengthens the broader fight against gender-based violence and promotes a culture of equality and respect for all individuals. By addressing the root causes of violence and discrimination, challenging harmful gender norms, and creating inclusive support systems, we can work towards a society where everyone is protected and valued, regardless of gender. 

A Call to Action 

Indrani, Anna, and Carey’s article underscores the urgency and importance of global leadership in advancing women’s rights. As President Biden navigates his foreign policy agenda, he has a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of women and girls around the world. By adopting the recommended actions and committing to a comprehensive approach to gender equality, the Biden administration can help build a more just and equitable world. 

The question remains: Will President Biden seize this opportunity and solidify his legacy as a champion of women’s rights globally? The world is watching and waiting for decisive action. 

Read the full article on Newsweek here