For International Women's Day, Let's Pass IVAWA to Protect Women and Girls

03/08/2015 07:07 pm ET | Updated May 08, 2015

Today marks the 107th International Women's Day. On this day, we recognize how far we've come in achieving critically important rights for women, but we must also acknowledge just how far we still have to go.

Millions upon millions of women and girls continue to face gender-based violence in the course of their daily lives and far too many are denied basic human rights. When girls can get an education and women can work and run businesses, or even serve as elected officials, the world benefits. I believe this is the century of women, but women can only make a difference if they have free and equal opportunity and can live lives free from violence.

I urge Congress to act decisively to address these issues and pass legislation to protect women and girls from violence and promote their engagement in communities around the world.

I introduced H.R. 1340, the International Violence Against Women Act, on Friday to coincide with this important anniversary. This legislation would make ending violence against women and girls a top foreign policy priority for the United States government and help promote economic and educational opportunities for women and girls around the world.

International Women's Day presents an opportunity for us to rally around this cause and redouble our efforts to promote women's rights. Women and girls around the world cannot wait for us to act any longer.