Reese Witherspoon, Andrea Jung, Melanne Verveer, Carol Kurzig
Reese Witherspoon, Andrea Jung, Melanne Verveer, Carol Kurzig

WASHINGTON, D.C., Mar 12, 2010 / FW/ — Vital Voices ( ) and The Avon Foundation for Women ( ) yesterday announced The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women, a new innovative collaboration with the U.S. State Department to combat the most destructive types of violence against women and help ensure justice for women and girls worldwide.

In response to the nearly one billion women worldwide who will be affected by violence in their lifetime, The Global Partnership will address the need for serious, sustained on the ground research and development, as well as actionable, collaborative, culturally-sensitive local solutions that can change these statistics in a measurable way.

To facilitate the Global Partnership, Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women announced $1.2 million in donations to Vital Voices to bring together 15 country delegations consisting of leaders from diverse sectors – business, government, law enforcement, the NGO community, media/entertainment, academia and others – in a first-of-its-kind global forum to share insights, forge collaborations, and seek ways to overcome challenging cultural realities that have been barriers to progress.

Vital Voices and the Avon Foundation for Women will also support these delegations when they return to their home countries with regional programs and a toolkit that can be used on a year-long basis as action plans are implemented.

The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women is founded on the premise that local experts are best suited to know what solutions will work in their own communities.

Cindy Dyer, Vital Voices’ Senior Director for Human Rights says: “The hope is that by bringing delegates from around the world who are working on these issues in their countries and who understand the nuances of their unique communities, we’ll be able to develop and implement more sustainable programs to protect victims and prevent violence and trafficking from occurring in the first place.”

As part of Avon’s ongoing collaboration in support of this issue, Reese Witherspoon, the company’s global ambassador and honorary chairperson of the Avon Foundation for Women, yesterday announced a new Avon fundraising product — the Women’s Empowerment Ring — that the company anticipates will raise significant funds to support local country initiatives to end violence against women.

The Women’s Empowerment Ring is launched as a companion piece to the Women’s Empowerment Bracelet and the Women’s Empowerment Necklace, launched in 2008 and 2009 respectively, which together have raised $8 million globally.

The Women’s Empowerment Ring, accessibly priced at $5.00, will be sold through Avon Representatives in over 45 countries and on , with 100% of net profits ( $3.80 for each ring sold) going to support domestic violence programs. In the US, every Women’s Empowerment product sold will include a free Domestic Violence Resource Guide to increase awareness, provide helpful information and resources, and encourage everyone to speak out to end this epidemic of violence against women.

“There is nothing more important for all of us than ensuring the safety of women and girls everywhere. The problem is so pervasive, it’s critical that we find ways to work together, as a global community, to combat it,” says Witherspoon. “I applaud this groundbreaking new Partnership, and look forward to the innovative ideas and solutions it will produce.”