Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’

As is probably the case for many women of my generation, my perception of the Avon cosmetics company was shaped by memories of the glamorous neighbour who called regularly and handed my mother enticingly packaged pots and tubes. She trailed in her wake a heady cloud of scent and left behind a glossy catalogue that was later poured over by my mum who diligently ticked tiny boxes in eager anticipation of her next delivery of frosted pink lipstick and royal blue eye shadow.

Growing up I gravitated towards the vibrant teen-baiting hues of the Rimmel stand in my local chemist. As I exchanged my pocket money for the glossy veneer of adulthood the Avon brand seemed irrelevant and soon disappeared from my mind entirely.

That remained the case for thirty years until earlier this week a tweet arrived directing me to the Clinton Global Initiative website. So what’s the connection between the two? Well, the Clinton Global Citizen Awards, established to recognize extraordinary individuals who have demonstrated visionary leadership in solving pressing global challenges, has honoured Andrea Jung, Chairman and CEO of Avon Products, for showing leadership in the corporate sector and for significantly improving the lives of women worldwide.

There are two distinct strands to the work that Avon undertakes to empower and aid women globally. Firstly, as part of its core business, the company provides earning opportunities to more than 6.2 million independent Avon Sales Representatives worldwide. Thus the potential to secure an independently earned income is realised by women who would otherwise sink into poverty. Secondly, the Avon Foundation for Women, founded in 1955, has emerged as the leading corporate philanthropy organisation for women globally. Who knew?

the Avon Foundation, founded in 1955, has emerged as the leading corporate philanthropy organisation for women globally

The Foundation has adopted the dual mission of supporting research aimed at eradicating breast cancer and of tackling domestic and gender violence directed against women. Last year more than $725 million (€540 million) was raised and directed towards grassroots programs in more than 50 countries. According to the Avon website, funds raised to fight breast cancer are directed towards improving “awareness and education; screening and diagnosis; access to treatment; support services; and scientific research”. The beneficiaries of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade “range from leading cancer research and clinical centers to community-based, non-profit breast health education programs”.

In 2004 the Avon Foundation launched “Speak Out Against Domestic Violence” to raise awareness and funds and, crucially, to advocate for the more effective implementation of laws aimed at curbing violence towards women.  Last year Avon awarded more than $12 million (€8.9 million) to domestic violence organizations to help fund awareness, education, direct services and prevention programs.

It seems that there is more than meets the eye to this “lipstick, powder & paint” and the current product range is pretty funky too. Is anyone else amazed to learn of the philanthropic achievements of Avon?

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I meant to post about this earlier this week but didn’t get time, what with one very late night this week leaving me on the back foot and a lot of work on as well.

But there was a story in the papers this week about a young model, excuse me glamour model, called Claire Tully who wanted to donate the money she will raise from the reality programme Failte Towers to a breast cancer charity. Breast cancer was close to Claire’s heart as both her mam and granny had suffered from it. An obvious choice for Claire then. 

But the breast cancer charity didn’t want her money. In fact, three breast cancer charities snubbed the money. Why? Because they didn’t want to be associated with a glamour model?  Because that might taint the image of breast cancer charities as being made up of cutesy things like cookies, pink ribbons and pretty bumper stickers for your car?

This story really pissed me off. I’ve had no immediate experience of breast cancer, so please forgive me if I’m not getting the full picture here, but isn’t the point of breast cancer charities to raise money for research to help cure those who suffer from it? And isn’t money money? Surely the breast cancer charities don’t get to say no to money just because they don’t agree with the career choice of the person giving it? The newspapers said Claire Tully’s €5,000 donation is the equivalent of selling 5,000 of those little pink pins they sell on the street.

I found it hard to convince myself that the breast cancer charities would have turned down the €5,000 had it come from Jordan/Katie Price, even though she too started as a glamour model.


The Mayo based Rock Chicks have decided Claire’s money is good enough for them. But how must Claire Tully be feeling about it all? Pretty gutted I’d say.

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