WASHINGTON D.C., Mar 13, 2010 / — On Thursday,tThe Avon Foundation for Women (www.avonfoundation.org ) presented a $500,000 grant to the U.S. Department of State Secretary’s Fund for Global Women’s Leadership to accelerate the global movement to end violence against women.
Andrea Jung, Avon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Reese Witherspoon, Avon Global Ambassador and Honorary Chairperson of the Avon Foundation, made the announcement yesterday at the International Women of Courage Awards, hosted by Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, at the U.S. Department of State.
Violence against women is a global epidemic yet efforts to prevent it are underfunded. Nearly one billion women worldwide – that is one in three women – will experience violence in their lifetime. Yet around the world, services for victims are often limited or unavailable, and in many countries, laws to protect women do not exist or are not enforced. Women who are abused cannot reach their social or economic potential, which hurts families, communities and entire countries – and can be especially detrimental to developing countries where involvement of women is essential to growth.
The U.S. Department of State will use the grant to fund innovative and breakthrough programs developed by international non-government organizations for the purpose of ending violence against women.
“We are tremendously privileged to partner with the U.S. Department of State, and share in their resolve to end violence against women. As the company for women, we are equally committed to providing women with an economic opportunity as we are serving as a change agent for critical issues that face women worldwide,” said Jung.
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 programs in Mexico and the Czech Republic.
Behind the success of these initiatives is much-needed grassroots mobilization and fundraising driven by the company’s network of 6 million Avon Sales Representatives worldwide. To date, Avon global philanthropy has committed more than $16 million to end violence against women, including $8 million coming from the global sales of Avon Empowerment Products developed in partnership with Witherspoon.
“I am proud to serve as Avon Global Ambassador and represent a company with a conscience and the courage to take on hard issues. Although we face many challenges around the world, nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of women and girls everywhere,” says Witherspoon.