We love Avon not only because the Avon Foundation for Women aims to improve the lives of fellow mothers and females across the world, but also because they actually create change. Perhaps no one understands this more than Carol Kurzig, President of Avon Foundation For Women, and the force behind such movements as the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and Speak Out Against Domestic Violence.
Now she is setting her sights on creating change through the Global Partnership To End Violence Against Women: a program focused on the three most prevalent crimes against women today (domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking). Along with Vital Voices Global Partnership (a non-profit founded by fellow mother Hilary Clinton), Avon strives to raise awareness of crimes against women. Luckily, we got the chance to catch up with Carol Kurzig, and ask her a few questions about the partnership.
1) MM: Avon is deeply involved in founding amazing philanthropic causes (whether the Avon Walk For Breast Cancer or Hello Green Tomorrow campaign). Why does Avon believe in this alliance with Vital Voices, and what change do you hope to create for women worldwide?
Carol Kurzig: “We chose to create and fund this innovative partnership â€“ the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women (with the U.S. State Department and Vital Voices) because they are leaders in efforts dedicated to womenâ€™s empowerment around the world. Former First Lady Hillary Clinton created Vital Voices ten years ago following the Beijing Women’s Conference, where she equated women’s rights to human rights. Since then, Vital Voices has developed programs to help provide safety and justice for women in more than 50 countries worldwide. Vital Voices is a perfect partner for the Avon Foundation for Women as we work to combat the most destructive types of violence against women and help ensure justice for women and girls worldwide. We also made a grant of $500,000 to the Secretaryâ€™s Fund for Global Womenâ€™s Leadership for projects around the world to end gender violence.
Our goal for the Global Partnership is to create sustainable collaborations within each of the 15 delegations that participated in the Global Partnership summit in March 2010. We provided the delegations with a forum to discuss issues related to violence against women and we armed them with new partnerships and a toolkit to guide them when they return to their countries. These delegations are now working to implement the action plans they developed at our Partnership Summit in Washington, D.C., to address the many issues related to violence against women in their home countries. We believe these delegations will prioritize and address many of the key issues related to providing safety and justice for victims of abuse around the world. Our goal is for the these action plans to create models for use around the world.”
2) MM: If there is one thing you could say to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault or human trafficking…what would you tell them?
CK: “We at the Avon Foundation for Women would say to women who are victims of violence (whether through domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking or gender crimes) that they are not alone. We are working closely with organizations like Vital Voices, the U.S. State Department, UNIFEM and the International Association of Women Judges, and others to ensure women and girls receive the support and justice necessary to protect themselves. Avon is committed to speaking out against violence against women, which is why, in a few short years, Avon global philanthropy has committed more than $18 million to the cause, including $8 million from the global sales of the Avon Empowerment Products. Our work is aimed at encouraging everyone to Speak Out to end violence together.”