37. The Government has considerably strengthened the institutional structure to promote women’s rights and gender equality, including through the White House Council on Women and Girls, the White House Advisor on Violence against Women, which have reinforced the Civil Rights Division and the Office on Violence against Women within the Department of Justice, the Office on Women’s Health24, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Division and the Office of Minority Health within the Department of Health and Human Services. Other departments and federal entities also play a key role such as the Department of Labour, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Office of Personnel Management and the Commission on Civil Rights.
38. The Working Group observed during its visit the very limited knowledge by federal or state authorities of international human rights standards and mechanisms. It regrets that no national human rights institution25 has been established in accordance with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (Paris Principles)26. The Working Group appreciates the existence of six interagency working groups, under White House leadership, to coordinate the review of UPR recommendations and concluding observations of Treaty Bodies but regrets the absence of a mechanism which would coordinate and monitor the implementation of Special Procedures recommendations.
39. The Working Group acknowledges that the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls has been at the forefront of the current administration’s policies. Indeed, the Government has been working to combat discrimination, eliminate violence against women and girls, expand access to women’s health care, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, support women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and encourage women’s economic and political leadership27. In the Government’s report on the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, several of these policies are detailed28.