Avon Commits Over $1.75 Million for New Partnerships to End Violence Against Women
Award-Winning Actress Reese Witherspoon Launches New Global Mobilization Efforts
One in three women worldwide experience violence in their lifetime(1), and in the U.S., a woman is assaulted every nine seconds(2). Around the world, services for victims are often vastly underfunded or unavailable, and in many countries, laws to protect women do not exist or are not enforced.
In response, the Avon Foundation for Women today announced meaningful new efforts to eradicate violence against women and help ensure justice for all women worldwide. This included a $1.5 million grant by the Avon Foundation for Women to launch the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School. This new center will focus on working with judges, legal professionals, governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve access to justice in an effort to eliminate violence against women and girls. Avon also expanded its relationship with the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) with a new commitment of $250,000 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, which will be added to the grant of $1 million awarded in 2008 for the Trust Fund. This brings the total Avon global commitment to ending violence against women to over $14 million to date.
“For over 120 years, Avon has provided women with economic opportunity while serving as a change agent for critical issues that face women worldwide,” stated Andrea Jung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Avon Products, Inc. “Lack of financial resources and lack of personal safety are two reinforcing, co-dependent crises. We are so proud to help bring attention to eradicating violence against women and improving access to justice for women and girls, and to award new grants that will help launch initiatives to change lives around the globe.”
The announcements of these new initiatives were made by Andrea Jung, who was joined by Stewart Schwab, Dean and Professor of Law of Cornell Law School, during the Global Forum for Women and Justice. Also joining were former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor; Joan Winship, Executive Director of the International Association of Women Judges; and Reese Witherspoon, award-winning actress, Avon Global Ambassador and Avon Foundation for Women Honorary Chairperson. Hosted by the International Association of Women Judges (with support from Avon), the Global Forum for Women and Justice is a two-day meeting held in Washington D.C. of judges and legal practitioners from around the world to address obstacles and solutions to the issue of violence against women.
Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School
The new Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School will undertake four major initiatives, including intensive legal clinical projects, providing legal research for judges, hosting conferences and events, and maintaining an extensive international online library, as well as a discussion forum for judges relating to gender-based violence. The Avon Global Center, which will launch this fall, will serve as a forum for judges and legal practitioners to share ideas and strategies on the role of the judicial system in facilitating access to justice for women victims of violence.
“The Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School is the first center of its kind to work with judges worldwide in an effort to bring justice to women survivors of violence,” said Barbara Holden Smith, Vice Dean of Cornell Law School.
“This is a historic moment. The Center is prepared to address the epidemic of violence against women and girls, and to work toward greater justice for those who have survived such violence.”
Avon’s Grassroots Mobilization to End Violence Against Women
These new efforts underscore Avon’s ongoing commitment to ending violence against women, which includes the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program launched by Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women in 2004. These efforts have expanded to 45 countries, including award-winning Avon programs in Mexico and the Czech Republic. The company is also partnering with local UNIFEM offices on the issue of violence against women in 13 countries. Behind the success of these initiatives are much-needed grassroots mobilization and fundraising, which are assets Avon brings to global philanthropy, driven by the company’s network of nearly 6 million Avon Sales Representatives worldwide.
Reese Witherspoon, award-winning actress, Avon global ambassador and honorary chairperson of the Avon Foundation for Women, announced at a press conference before the Global Forum a new Avon fundraising product: the Women’s Empowerment Necklace. Launched as a companion piece to the 2008 Women’s Empowerment Bracelet, the Necklace is accessibly priced at just $5.00. It will be sold through Avon’s Sales Representatives and on www.avon.com. All net proceeds of the Necklace will support domestic violence programs, building upon the $4 million already raised by the Bracelet in one year. In the US every Women’s Empowerment product sold will include a free Domestic Violence Resource Guide to increase awareness of this epidemic of violence and encourage everyone to speak out so it stops.
“Nearly a billion women worldwide are affected by violence,” explained Witherspoon. “The Empowerment Necklace is an easy way for all women to take action and demonstrate solidarity to reduce the worldwide epidemic of violence against women. As Honorary Chair of the Avon Foundation, as a woman, and as a mother, I am proud to support this effort.”
About Avon Products, Inc. and the Avon Foundation for Women
Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with over $10 billion in annual revenue. As the world’s largest direct seller, Avon markets to women in more than 100 countries through nearly 6 million independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon’s product line includes beauty products, fashion jewelry and apparel, and features such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, Anew, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques, Avon Naturals, and Mark. Avon is also a leader in corporate responsibility and philanthropy. In addition to Avon’s heritage of women’s empowerment, the Avon Foundation for Women, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is the largest corporate-affiliated philanthropy for women, with more than $660 million raised worldwide for causes of great concern to women, currently focused on breast cancer, domestic violence and emergency disaster relief. Learn more about Avon, its products and programs at www.avoncompany.com.
(1) Heise, L., Ellsberg , M. and Gottemoeller, M. Ending Violence Against Women. Population Reports. Series L, No. 11, 1999.
(2) Bureau of Justice Statistics. Violence Against Women. Estimates from the redesigned Survey, August 1998.