Entrepreneurship, the fight against violence, and breast cancer are the areas of action for the private foundation
Raising awareness about early detection of breast cancer, fighting to eliminate violence against women, and promoting female equity and entrepreneurship are the driving forces behind the Avon Foundation, the world's largest private organization with this purpose.
The fight against breast cancer, which causes the death of a woman every 6 minutes worldwide, is one of its main reasons. Considering that this is a curable disease in 98% of cases if detected early, the Foundation promotes diagnostic test campaigns, as well as ultrasounds and mammograms to save lives in Andean countries. In Colombia alone, in 2022, more than 2,000 mammograms were performed in 15 cities with the campaign for "Early detection of breast cancer" in partnership with the Colombian League Against Cancer.
"At Avon and its Foundation for Women, we contribute to eliminating violence against women. We refer to violence in the plural because there are different forms: physical (body blows, bruises, and scars), psychological (comments that lower your self-esteem, and attack you), economic (preventing access to income, work, or requiring you to give your money to your abuser), and sexual (from groping to rape or violent sexual access), among others," explains María Adelaida Saldarriaga, general manager of Avon Colombia.
This work is also joined by the search for equality in rights and opportunities between men and women to promote their equity and empowerment. In fact, in a recent study with 2,100 women from Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, and Chile, it was found that they feel it is easier for men to get a salary increase (47%); develop professionally (45%); get a job (57%), and work flexibly (48%).
For women, the barriers they face in professional development are due to childcare tasks (58%) and the fact that men generally earn better salaries for the same job (58%).
"We must be aware that having autonomy in all senses leads us to achieve empowerment and even fight against a type of violence that, although it seems subtle, is latent in our society: economic and patrimonial violence," says Adelaida Saldarriaga, general manager of Avon.
According to UNESCO, economic violence refers to the retention or improper use of women's assets or even getting a lower salary for the same tasks in the same workplace. This is evident in families where the man controls and manipulates the income obtained or even deprives the woman of economic decisions within the home, even if the resources are obtained by herself.
The results of the Avon Foundation's study are similar to those found by the World Economic Forum in its 2022 Gender Gap report, where it is stated that the phenomenon has been reduced by 68.1% in recent years, although at that rate of progress, it will take 132 years to achieve full parity.
Therefore, one of the lines of action is to support women's entrepreneurship. Today, more than 300,000 representatives are working for their financial independence and receive support from the Foundation to help reduce this historically difficult gap.