This fashion company helps women escape domestic violence

  • Fair Anita is a sustainable fashion company that empowers women and girls to escape domestic violence.
  • It was created by Joy McBrien, a sexual abuse survivor herself, and purchases ethical fashion and accessories from 8,000 women in 16 countries.
  • Since Fair Anita was founded in 2015, she has reinvested more than $ 1 million in her female artisan cooperatives.

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

Fair Anita, based in Minnesota in the United States, works with a global network of craft cooperatives to help give women financial independence, self-respect, and the means to leave an abusive partner.

The social enterprise was founded by founder Joy McBrien, following her own traumatic experience of sexual abuse. After being raped when she was in her senior year of high school, McBrien said she wanted to “reclaim part of my personal agency” and start the social enterprise to positively impact other survivors around the world.

What is the Anita Fair?

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

The company is a social enterprise – a company born to make a positive impact around the world – and currently works with 8,000 women in 16 countries.

How do women benefit from it?

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

McBrien says she has “learned that financial insecurity is the main reason that keeps women in abusive relationships,” which is why Fair Anita pays her craftswomen at least three times the minimum wage. This helps women break free from gender-based violence by becoming more financially independent and having access to the resources they need.

To further empower her artisans, Fair Anita also invests in developing their skills in design, business and leadership. She does this through activities such as workshops, mentoring and networking events.

Where did the business start?

The Anita fair started in Peru in South America. After deciding to help other sexually abused women, McBrien found that Peru had the highest rate of domestic violence in the world.

According to the United Nations, one third of women in Peru will experience physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

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

Social enterprise is named after Señora Anita, who taught McBrien the importance of employment in empowering women and building their confidence and financial independence.

“lazy”, :class=>””, :alt=>”This chart shows the lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence among women aged 15-49, by region.”}” use_picture=”true”/>

One third of women will experience partner violence in their lifetime, according to UN Women.

Image: Statista / UN Women

Since Fair Anita was founded in 2015, she has reinvested more than $ 1 million in her female artisan cooperatives. The company says the artisans who create its fair trade products get between 30% and 60% of the proceeds when the products are sold.

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

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

Is the company eco-sustainable?

Fair Anita claims that over 80% of the materials used in her designs are sustainable. The reused boxes were used for all orders shipped in 2021.

“Our partners in India have developed 100% plant-based plastic to send products to the United States,” says the company’s website.

Fair Anita claims it has also started taking part in carbon offsetting programs. These help people and companies offset their carbon footprint by investing in initiatives designed to reduce carbon in the atmosphere.

The World Economic Forum has been measuring gender gaps since 2006 in the annual Global Gender Gap Report.

The Global Gender Gap Report tracks progress towards reducing gender gaps nationwide. To transform these insights into concrete actions and national advances, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public-private collaboration.

These accelerators have been convened in ten countries in three regions. The accelerators are established in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama in collaboration with the 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 national accelerators, along with knowledge partner countries that demonstrate global leadership in bridging gender gaps, are part of a larger ecosystem, the Global Learning Network, which facilitates the exchange of insights and experiences through the Forum’s platform.

In 2019, Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a gender gap reduction accelerator. While more women than men are currently enrolled in university, women account for just over a third of the professional and technical workers in Egypt. Working women are also less likely to be paid like their male colleagues for equivalent work or for reaching executive positions.

In these countries, CEOs and ministers are working together over a three-year time frame on policies that help further bridge the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized childcare, and the removal of unconscious bias in recruiting, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a company in one of the countries with the accelerating gender gap, you can join the local membership base.

If you are a company or government in a country where we do not currently have an accelerator for reducing the gender gap, you can contact us to explore opportunities to create one.