Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon on Tuesday lent her star power to the UN global campaign to end violence against women, pitching a fund-raising drive by US cosmetics giant Avon for that purpose.
The 31-year-old US actress, who is Avon’s Global Ambassador to help promote women’s empowerment, voiced strong backing for a new long-term partnership between Avon and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
“I strongly support the efforts of Avon and UNIFEM to put an end to” violence against women, she told reporters as she unveiled the “Women’s Empowerment Bracelet.”
“Every purchase of the bracelet will help empower women: 100 percent of the profits will go directly to the Avon Empowerment Fund to support UNIFEM in their work to end violence against women,” Witherspoon said.
“I hope to see this bracelet on the wrists of women all around the world as a sign of solidarity and hope that one day every woman will be empowered and live a life free from violence,” she added.
Witherspoon won an Oscar in 2006 for her portrayal of country music star June Carter Cash in “Walk The Line” and is reported to be one of the top three highest-paid actresses in Hollywood, commanding around 25 million dollars a picture.
Joining Witherspoon and UNIFEM Executive Director Joanne Sandler at the press conference, Avon Products chief executive officer Andrea Jung pledged that the Avon Foundation would match the first 500,000 dollars in sales of the new fund-raising bracelet.
She said the result would be a one-million-dollar donation from her company to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women, which she described as “the largest corporate grant” ever made to the fund in a single year.
Avon, known for its “Avon Calling” door-to-door sales pitch, is the world’s top direct seller of beauty products.
“Violence against women is the hidden pandemic,” Sandler said. “It is hidden in the estimated 9.5 billion dollars that criminal networks earn from human trafficking, with the majority of those trafficked women and children.”
The three women spoke at a symposium to mark International Women’s Day, which will be celebrated worldwide Saturday.