So I asked our associate director, Leslie Tignor, who is also an ace researcher and writer, to check into this, and lo and behold—it's true. Here is Leslie's report:
Avon has established its new Empowerment Fund to end violence against women and is urging patrons to purchase a bracelet that "could change the world."
Reese Witherspoon, honorary chair of the Avon Foundation, was "very excited" to introduce Avon’s first global charity product, a silver tone infinity symbol on a blue stretch cord, designed to "save and improve women’s lives worldwide."
Proceeds from sales of the bracelet will be deposited in the Empowerment Fund and the first $500,000 will be matched by the Avon Foundation for a total donation of $1 million to UNIFEM.
It all sounds well and good—until one takes a closer look at UNIFEM.
UNIFEM is the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Established in 1976, it is self-described as "fostering women’s empowerment and gender equality" and helping to make the "voices of women heard at the United Nations."
Two international agreements form the framework for UNIFEM’s mission and goals: the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination for All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.
The Beijing Platform for Action was the result of the Fourth World Conference on Women held in September of 1995 in Beijing, China. It is a wide-ranging plan for promoting and protecting women’s human rights worldwide. Adopted by 197 governments, it addresses twelve "critical" areas of concern, not the least of which is "Women and Health."
The United States has, in years since, been consistently criticized by feminist organizations for failing to actually affirm the platform, ridiculed for adhering to an anti-abortion stance and denounced for opposing gender quotas in political participation.
CEDAW, created in 1979, is actually a global Equal Rights Amendment. The preamble of this treaty states, "A change in the traditional role of men as well as the role of women in society and in the family is needed to achieve full equality between men and women."
CEDAW mandates gender re-education, access to abortion services, homosexual and lesbian rights and the legalization of "voluntary" prostitution as a valid form of professional employment.
It seems that if Avon truly wanted to empower women and end violence toward them, it would donate to an organization that actually works toward these goals.
If women want to show their support and solidarity with other women worldwide by wearing a piece of jewelry, they should find one other than the "Empowerment Bracelet."
Leslie Tignor is director of American Life League’s Associate program.