March 4, 2009

C.U. Law Receives Grant To Aid Women Victims

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Yesterday, the Avon Foundation for Women, a public charity that aims to improve the lives of women around the world, according to its website, presented the Cornell Law School with a $1.5 million grant to create the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice. The center will assist judges, legal professionals and various advocacy groups with research and projects focused on providing women and girls with better access to legal services.
The Avon Foundation awarded the grant to the Cornell Law School yesterday at the Global Forum for Women and Justice, a two-day conference in Washington, D.C. that focused on alleviating violence against women. Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon Products Inc., and Stewart J. Schwab, dean and professor of law at Cornell Law School, made the announcement.
“For over 120 years, Avon has provided women with economic opportunity while serving as a change agent for critical issues that face women worldwide,” Jung said in an Avon press release. “Lack of financial resources and lack of personal safety are two reinforcing, co-dependent crises. We are so proud to help bring attention to eradicating violence against women and improving access to justice for women and girls, and to award new grants that will help launch initiatives to change lives around the globe.”
Barbara Holden Smith, vice dean of Cornell Law School, said, “The Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School is the first center of its kind to work with judges worldwide in an effort to bring justice to women survivors of violence. This is a historic moment. The Center is prepared to address the epidemic of violence against women and girls, and to work toward greater justice for those who have survived such violence.”
Sital Kilantry, who was named as the faculty director of the center, expressed her optimism about the group’s mission. She explained that the center will strive to enforce current laws that were created to protect women from violent crimes.
“In spite of the national and international laws meant to guard women against violence, gender-based violence continues to be a global epidemic. In too many cases, and too many places, the justice system is not effectively enforcing these laws,” Kilantry said. “The Avon Center will work with judges, governmental and non-governmental organizations toward effective enforcement and implementation of these laws.”
The center plans to educate the public about various women’s rights laws by hosting conferences and meetings that will discuss current gender-based issues. The center will also maintain an online library with extensive archives of relevant laws, articles and reports.
At the forum, Schwab voiced his gratefulness for the grant. He also emphasized Cornell Law School’s long-standing commitment to providing justice on a global scale.
“We are grateful to the Avon Foundation for this generous grant,” Schwab said. “Cornell Law School has a long and rich tradition of educating lawyers in the best sense who are committed to global justice. The Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School is in keeping with that tradition. We are proud to establish this center with the Avon Foundation, to assist judges throughout the world and to help provide access to justice for survivors of gender-based violence.”