WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday ordered the creation of an interagency working group in his latest effort to address gender-based violence globally.
In his executive order, the president directed departments and agencies to implement the new United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-based Violence Globally, and asked the secretary of state and the administrator of the United States Agency for International Development to co-chair the working group.
Obama called preventing and responding to gender-based violence "a cornerstone" of his administration's commitment to advance gender equality and women's empowerment, saying such violence not only undermines the safety, dignity and human rights of millions of individuals, but also the public health, economic stability and security of nations.
The White House said Obama aims 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."
"An estimated one in three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime," the White House said in a fact sheet, listing intimate partner violence as the most common form of violence against women globally, followed by human trafficking, sexual violence and harmful traditional practices like early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and "honor" killings.
Both Obama and Mitt Romney, the president's rival in the November presidential election, are vigorously wooing female voters in their campaigns as they have been almost neck and neck in opinion polls.
Women made up 53 percent of the electorate in the 2008 election, and their votes gave Obama an edge of 13 points over his opponent John McCain.