On July 30, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed, by voice vote, the Girls Count Act (H.R. 3398), sponsored by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH).
The bill notes that “every year, 51 million children under [age] five are not registered at birth, most of whom are girls,” and that “the lack of such documentation prevents girls and women from officially participating in, and benefitting from, the formal economic, legal, and political sectors in their countries.”
The bill would authorize the secretary of State and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to support programs that would improve birth registration systems for girls across the globe, thereby helping to safeguard them against the threat of trafficking and child marriage, and expand their access to domestic social welfare programs and U.S. foreign assistance programs. The measure also would promote policies that prevent discrimination and expand political and economic rights for women and girls.