Global News | Nov 25, 2019

#SpeakOutListenUp to tackle global epidemic of gender-based violence


Violence against women and girls is a silent epidemic – yet one that affects 1 in 3 women worldwide.

In recognition of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, Avon is calling on the world to #SpeakOutListenUp.  Through fundraising, events and activities, Avon aims to empower survivors to speak out about their experiences – and to encourage the world to listen.  Watch the stories of three courageous women here.

Avon also aims to use the 16 Days of Activism as an opportunity to increase awareness of the signs of domestic violence – what it is, how to recognize it and where to go to seek help.  One key step is a new partnership with WAGGGS, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, to ensure more women and girls are able to identify gender-based violence and identify resources to safely seek help.

The organisations will launch a new training and awareness programme for Avon’s Representative network, and girl guides and girl scouts in three countries: South Africa, Philippines and Argentina.  Ultimately, the partnership aims to create campaign materials that can be utilized across the world, with the potential to reach over 15 million women and girls represented by Avon and WAGGGS. 

Chair of the Avon Foundation for Women, Amy Greene, said: “The Avon Foundation is committed to breaking down the barriers that hold women and girls back.  One in three women is directly affected by gender-based violence around the world, and domestic violence kills more women than any other issue.  Too often, women and girls suffer in silence, and spotting the signs of violence and abuse can be difficult for friends and family to recognise. Avon wants to open up the dialogue about violence against women and girls, to help educate and empower people to speak up. Together with WAGGGS we have a powerful combined reach that can make a tangible difference.”

CEO of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, Sarah Nancollas, said: “Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive and widespread global human rights violations and is at epidemic proportions. By partnering with the Avon Foundation we will support young women and girls to become change makers within their communities, to feel they have a voice to advocate, and to raise awareness and dispel harmful myths surrounding violence and discrimination. We are grateful for the support of Avon and the Avon Foundation in taking forward this important work.”

Building on the message to #SpeakOutListenUp, Avon is calling for the dictionary definition of domestic violence be updated to reflect the different types of violence and abuse experienced by women and girls across the globe.  These can include sexual, coercive control, verbal, emotional and economic abuse, as well as honour-based crimes, stalking, harassment and physical violence.  

Speaking up against gender-based violence is a core part of Avon’s commitment to empowering women.  Since 2004, Avon and the Avon Foundation have been working to raise awareness of violence against women and girls, donating over $65 million to the cause to date.