This fashion company helps women escape from domestic violence

  • Fair Anita is a sustainable fashion company that empowers women and girls to escape domestic violence.
  • It was founded by Joy McBrien, a survivor of sexual abuse herself, who buys ethical fashion and fashion accessories from 8,000 women in 16 countries.
  • Since the Anita Fair was founded in 2015, it has reinvested more than a million dollars in its women’s craft cooperatives.

Women and girls around the world receive help to escape sexual violence through an innovative ethical fashion business.

Fer Anitabased in Minnesota in the United States, works with a global network of craft cooperatives to help women give financial independence, self-esteem, and the means to leave a violent partner.

The social enterprise was founded by founder Joy McBrien, after her own traumatic experience of sexual abuse. After being raped while a high school graduate, McBrien said she wanted to “regain part of her personal agency” and set up a social enterprise to positively impact other survivors around the world.

What is Fair Anita?

Fair Anita is an ethical fashion company that procures jewelry, clothing, bags and other products from marginalized women who face gender-based violence in their communities.

The company is a social enterprise – a business founded to have a positive impact on the world – with which it currently cooperates 8,000 women in 16 countries.

What are the benefits for women?

The company sells fair trade products produced by its artisans. In return, artisans receive fair wages, long-term employment and opportunities to develop their business.

McBrien says she “learned that financial insecurity is the main reason that keeps women in violent partnerships,” which is why Fair Anita pays its artisans at least three minimum wages. This helps women get rid of gender-based violence by becoming more financially independent and having access to the resources they need.

To further empower its artisans, Fair Anita is also investing in developing their skills in design, business and leadership. It does this through activities such as workshops, mentoring and networking.

Where did the business start?

The Anita Fair started in Peru, South America. After she decided to help other women who had experienced sexual abuse, McBrien found out Peru has the highest rate of domestic violence in the world.

According to the United Nations, one third of women in Peru will suffer physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner throughout his life.

In her first year of college, McBrien went to Peru and founded a women’s shelter there. The following year, she met Senor Anita, a social worker who helps victims of abuse in Peru.

The social enterprise is named after Senor Anita, who taught McBrien about the importance of employment in empowering women and building their self-confidence and financial independence.

This chart shows the lifelong prevalence of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49, by region.

According to UN Women, a third of women will experience violence from a partner during their lifetime.

Image: Statistista / UN Women

Since the Anita fair was founded in 2015, it has been reinvested more than a million dollars in its women’s craft cooperatives. The company says women artisans who create its fair trade products are returning between 30% and 60% of revenue when products are sold.

Fair Anita says its artisan partners have access to health insurance and educational scholarships, as well as sustainable income.

The company has also donated more than $ 110,000 to efforts to combat COVID in its communities.

Is the business environmentally sustainable?

Fair Anita says more than 80% of the materials used in the design are sustainable. The reused boxes were used for all orders delivered in 2021.

“Our partners in India have developed 100% herbal plastic to ship products to the United States,” the company’s website said.

Fair Anita says she has also started participating in carbon offset programs. This helps people and businesses make up for their carbon footprint by investing in initiatives designed to reduce atmospheric carbon.

The World Economic Forum has been measuring gender gaps since 2006 in its annual Global Report on Gender Differences.

The Global Gender Gap Report monitors progress towards closing gender gaps at the national level. To turn these insights into concrete action and national progress, we have developed an accelerator model to close the gender gap for public-private cooperation.

These accelerators were held in ten countries in three regions. Accelerators have been established in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Panama in partnership with Inter-American Development Bank in Latin America and the Caribbean, Egypt and Jordan in the Middle East and North Africa and Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

All country accelerators, together with knowledge partner countries that demonstrate global leadership in closing gender gaps, are part of a wider ecosystem, the Global Learning Network, which facilitates the exchange of insights and experiences through the Forum platform.

In 2019, Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch the Accelerator to reduce the gender gap. While more women than men are now enrolled in universities, women make up just over a third of Egypt’s professional and technical staff. Women in the workforce are also less likely to be paid the same as their male counterparts for equivalent work or to achieve higher leadership roles.

In these countries, CEOs and ministers work together over a three-year time frame on policies that help further close economic gender gaps in their countries. These include extended parental leave, subsidized childcare and the removal of unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a company in one of the countries of the Accelerator for closing the gender gap, you can join the local member base.

If you are a company or government in a country where we do not currently have a Gender Removal Accelerator, you can contact us to explore the possibilities for establishing one.


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