Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Avon Launches Global Mobilization Effort Against Domestic Violence

Remember when you thought that Avon was "just" little ladies your Aunt Bonnie knew who sold little things door to door and you got little gifts? (Well, it was my Aunt Bonnie, anyway). Those days are long gone, let me tell you!

On March 3, Reese Witherspoon, Avon Chairman and CEO Andrea Jung, and CAEPV Member of the Month the Avon Foundation announced the launch of a new campaign against domestic violence in Washington, DC. The effort includes more than $1.5 million in new grants by the Avon Foundation to launch the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School.

The 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.

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.

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 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.

Aunt Bonnie can buy me these little gifts. . .and know she is changing the lives of women around the world. Pretty cool, no?

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