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UNIFEM and Avon Announce Partnership to End Violence Against Women and Advance Women's Empowerment: Company Contribution Benefits UN Trust Fund

-Reese Witherspoon and Suze Orman among the Featured Speakers at Global Summit for Better Tomorrow in Celebration of International Women's Day- -The Largest One-Year Corporate Contribution Ever Received by the Fund-

NEW YORK, March 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and Avon Products, Inc. are announcing a public-private partnership to promote women's empowerment and end violence against women. As a result, Avon is committing $1 million to the UNIFEM- managed UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The contribution will be made through the Avon Empowerment Fund, which is being launched today as part of the new Avon-UNIFEM partnership. These resources will bolster the UN Trust Fund's critical work on the implementation of laws, policies and government plans to prevent and reduce the prevalence of violence against women.

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This public-private partnership, driven by Avon and UNIFEM's shared commitment to advance women's empowerment globally, will be announced today at the Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow at the United Nations. Co-sponsored by UNIFEM and Avon, the Summit will focus on the tools and resources needed for women's empowerment around the world. The Summit is in celebration of International Women's Day, which will be recognized globally on March 8, 2008.

"For more than 120 years, Avon has empowered women across the globe by providing them the opportunity to own their own business and achieve economic independence. We believe that by empowering women, we can help change the world and this commitment is imprinted on everything we do," said Andrea Jung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avon Products, Inc. "Avon is proud to partner with UNIFEM, a leading organization dedicated to advancing the causes of women around the world. Working together we will continue this important agenda and create an even better future for women, for families and ultimately society at large."

Joanne Sandler, UNIFEM Executive Director, a.i., said, "UNIFEM, the women's fund at the United Nations, welcomes Avon, the Company for Women, as an engaged and long-term partner, helping UNIFEM fulfill its mission to advance women's empowerment and gender equality. This public-private partnership brings a strong global leader in the private sector as a stalwart ally in our common efforts. Together, we can reach a broad international constituency, which is essential to advance women globally and make ending violence against women a top priority."

The Global Summit brings together some of the most influential and accomplished leaders and advocates in the area of global women's empowerment including: Mallika Dutt, Founder and Executive Director of Breakthrough, an international human rights organization using innovative high impact education, media and popular culture to about social change in India and the US; Liliana Rainero, coordinator of the women's rights organization CISCSA (Center of Subregional Exchange in the Southern Cone) and a UN Trust Fund grantee from Argentina, works to build safer communities and neighborhoods; UNIFEM Executive Director, a.i., Joanne Sandler; Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Avon Products, Inc., Andrea Jung; award-winning actress and Avon Global Ambassador Reese Witherspoon; and personal-finance expert, TV host and best-selling author Suze Orman.

To help raise both awareness and funds, Witherspoon is unveiling at the Summit Avon's first global fundraising product, the Women's Empowerment Bracelet. The bracelets will sell for $3 each and all net profits will be donated to the Avon Empowerment Fund. In 2008, the Avon Foundation will match the first $500,000 in bracelet sales for a total donation of $1 million for new grant-making by the UN Trust Fund.

"One out of every three women in the world is affected by domestic violence. I am proud to be a part of this Summit, and I support Avon and UNIFEM wholeheartedly in their efforts to put an end to this global epidemic," said Witherspoon. "As honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, I'm also very excited to introduce the Avon Women's Empowerment Bracelet. It's difficult for each one of us to pause in our daily lives, and think about what we might do to improve the condition of women everywhere. As individuals, it's almost impossible for us to be effective, but together, we can change the world. I love the bracelet, and what it stands for: our collective power, our solidarity, our determination and our hope."

The UN Trust Fund is in its eleventh year of operation and to date has distributed nearly $18 million to 250 innovative programs addressing violence against women in more than 120 countries. The Trust Fund has a special focus on increasing legal literacy and working with judicial, legal and law enforcement agencies and personnel, and other stakeholders, to increase the awareness, understanding and efficacy of regulations to curb violence against women.

Also included among speakers and special guests at the Global Summit are selected global winners of the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund, including Alfa Demmellash a U.S. winner from New Jersey and Gursel Cilingiroglu from Turkey. The Hello Tomorrow Fund is a unique grassroots program launched in over a dozen countries in which Avon provides cash awards to individuals to launch or expand programs that empower women. In the U.S., the Hello Tomorrow Fund provides one $5,000 award each week to an individual whose initiative both advances the interests of women and ultimately improves society. The Hello Tomorrow Fund has had tremendous impact across the world, with programs ranging from promoting career development of women university students in Shanghai, China, to helping victims of domestic violence rebuild their lives in Massachusetts, Georgia and Tennessee. The Hello Tomorrow Fund concludes its successful first year this week, and is extending into a second year.

Suze Orman, a U.S. Hello Tomorrow Fund judge, noted that "being part of the Hello Tomorrow Fund is a constant reminder to me of how much true greatness resides in the hearts of so many. The desire for women to want to be true architects of change is so obvious with every single proposal that I read." In each country, a panel of notable experts and public figures, such as Ms. Orman, review Hello Tomorrow Fund applications and select the award recipients.

About Avon Products, Inc. and the Avon Foundation

Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with almost $10 billion in annual revenue. As the world's largest direct seller, Avon markets to women in more than 100 countries through 5.4 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, a 501(c)(3) public charity, is the largest corporate foundation for women, with more than $580 million raised worldwide for breast cancer, domestic violence and emergency disaster relief. Learn more about Avon, its products and programs at


UNIFEM is the United Nations Development Fund for Women. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies to foster women's empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women's human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UNIFEM focuses its activities on reducing feminized poverty; ending violence against women; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls; and achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war. For more information, visit

SOURCE Avon Products, Inc.
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