DALLAS: In an effort to support life-saving efforts to prevent and end violence against women, a global public health pandemic exacerbated by COVID-19, Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM have partnered with CARE USA, a humanitarian global leader, and the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UN Trust Fund).
More than one in three women around the world experience either physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime1. These alarming statistics are exacerbated in times of conflict, natural disasters, and crisis. UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, which manages the UN Trust Fund on behalf of the UN system, has been tirelessly alerting and raising awareness of the alarming increase of violence against women during COVID-19 and its lasting consequences, putting women’s human rights at risk as nations work on rebuilding.
“Mary Kay has a decades-long commitment to ending violence against women and girls everywhere, it’s part of who we are,” said Melinda Foster Sellers, Chief People Officer of Mary Kay Inc. “Today we join forces with the UN Trust Fund and CARE, two remarkable stewards of women’s rights, who have made extraordinary achievements through social impact on the ground, gender data collection, and relentless advocacy work. Together, we are more determined than ever to achieve a world free of violence against women.”
“Since 1999, The Mary Kay FoundationSM has been committed to bringing an end to domestic violence,” said Anne Crews, Vice President of Public Affairs at Mary Kay and Board member of The Mary Kay FoundationSM. “Over the past 20 years, over 2,600 shelters advocating to eradicate gender-based domestic violence have received grants totaling near $47 million. We’ve supported over six million women and girls seeking shelter and services to be free from abuse. Our global partnerships with the UN Trust Fund and CARE will help us deepen and expand the scope of our fight to protect women and girls.”
Through the ongoing work of its four corporate foundations and these recent global partnerships, Mary Kay reaffirms its leadership in addressing and preventing violence against women and girls uniquely affected by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. These initiatives manifest Mary Kay’s overall commitment to SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
Through its partnership with the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, Mary Kay will contribute to funding projects to protect women and girls in 70 countries and territories.
The UN Trust Fund, as the only demand-driven, competitive grant-making mechanism specialized in ending violence against women and girls, is uniquely positioned to contribute to realizing this goal through funding contextually relevant initiatives and providing support to grantees, many of which are small, women-led and women’s rights organizations. Since its establishment in 1996 by UN General Assembly resolution 50/166, the UN Trust Fund has awarded USD $175 million to 572 initiatives in 140 countries and territories.
The UN Trust Fund grantees are on the front line of the response to the long-standing and ongoing pandemic of violence against women and girls.
Over the last four years, the UN Trust Fund reached over 22 million individuals with projects to prevent and end violence against women and girls and enabled the life-changing work of women’s rights and women-led organizations in their capacity on the front line in delivering services to survivors and implementing laws and policies. More than one million women and girls benefited directly from life-saving services, empowerment activities and protection from violence, including at least 107,428 survivors of violence. In 2019 only, the UN Trust Fund supported 137 projects and awarded 79 new grants in value of USD 35 million.
“Violence against women is the most widespread violation of human rights globally and knows no boundaries,’’ said AldijanaSisic, Chief, UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. “It is the most severe expression of discrimination, a persistent pandemic exacerbated by the current COVID-19 crisis. The lockdown measures to curb the coronavirus together with an overburdened healthcare and law enforcement systems leave women and girls survivors of violence in a dangerous limbo. In this context, women’s organizations around the world play the pivotal role as first responders for survivors. Now is the time to join forces, step up and support them to ensure no woman and girl is left alone behind walls of silence. We thank our partners in Mary Kay for leading by example with its contribution to this work and walking this path together with us.”
Mary Kay will support CARE programs fighting against gender-based violence, contributing to transform the lives of women and girls in 100 countries and territories.
Women around the world are disproportionately impacted by poverty and gender-based violence, making up the majority of the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty. For this reason, CARE has a strategic commitment to gender – and is relentlessly advocating for women’s voices and leadership.
CARE’s emergency response to the global COVID-19 crisis has expanded with unprecedented speed, scaling up in 67 countries spiraling into a humanitarian emergency due to the pandemic and reaching approximately sixteen million people through direct programs, and providing over one million people with training and information about services to end violence against women. Identifying the need to highlight the gender impacts of the COVID-19 crisis, on March 31, CARE launched a Global Rapid Gender Analysis on COVID-19 (RGA), conducted in consultation with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Mary Kay’s support is uniquely informed by the fresh data and findings provided by the Global Rapid Gender Analysis on COVID-19 in 50 countries to date. CARE’s 50 Rapid Gender Analyses show that the pandemic has worsened the problem highlighting southern Africa and Europe, as well as reports of tens of thousands of women facing physical or sexual abuse during lockdowns and shelter in place.
Mary Kay Inc. and The Mary Kay FoundationSM have also provided a $100,000 contribution to Together ForHer’s international gender-based violence relief efforts, housed at CARE. The funds will be used for programs around the world that support victims and survivors of violence; providing PPE for staff who accompany survivors of violence to court hearings and delivering food, hygiene and cleaning items to women victims who are receiving psychological, medical and temporary shelter services.
"Achieving real equality for women and eradicating gender-based violence (GBV) can transform the world in so many ways," said Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE. "In the world's most marginalized communities, girls and women bear the brunt of injustice. The COVID-19 crisis alone may cause 31 million more GBV cases over six months of virus-related lockdowns. We know this staggering possibility is preventable, and we must address these horrific abuses before they happen. Investing in local women's grassroots movements is among the highest and most powerful good that we can do to create social and societal change."
Did You Know?
It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (58 per cent) were killed by intimate partners or family members.
Therefore, every day, 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family.
Some 650 million women and girls in the world today were married before the age of 18. Approximately 15 million adolescent girls (aged 15 to 19) worldwide have experienced forced sex (forced sexual intercourse or other sexual acts) at some point in their lives.
Source: UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, Annual Report 2019.