This fashion firm 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, herself a victim of sexual abuse, and sources ethical fashion and accessories from 8,000 women in 16 countries.
  • Since its creation in 2015, Fair Anita has reinvested more than a million dollars in its artisan cooperatives.

Women and girls around the world are being helped to escape sexual violence through an innovative ethical fashion company.

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 created by founder Joy McBrien, following her own traumatic experience of sexual abuse. After being raped as a senior in high school, McBrien said she wanted to “reclaim some of my own personal agency” and start the social enterprise to positively impact other survivors around the world. entire.

What is Fair Anita?

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

The company is a social enterprise – a business created to have a positive impact on 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, artisans receive fair wages, long-term employment and opportunities to grow their business.

McBrien says she “learned that financial insecurity is the number one reason that keeps women in abusive partnerships,” which is why Fair Anita pays its artisans at least three times 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 its women artisans, Fair Anita also invests in developing their design, business and leadership skills. It does this through activities such as workshops, mentoring and networking events.

Where did the business start?

Fair Anita started in Peru in South America. After deciding to help other women who were victims of sexual abuse, McBrien discovered 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.

During her freshman year of college, McBrien traveled to Peru and established a women’s shelter there. The following year, she met Señora Anita, a social worker helping victims of abuse in Peru.

The social enterprise is named after Señora Anita, who taught McBrien the importance of employment to empower women and build their confidence and financial independence.

This graph shows the lifetime prevalence of intimate partner violence among women aged 15 to 49, by region.

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

Image: Statista / UN Women

Since its creation in 2015, Fair Anita has reinvested more than a million dollars in its artisan cooperatives. The company claims that the women artisans who create its fair trade products receive between 30 and 60% of the proceeds when the products are sold.

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

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

Is the business environmentally sustainable?

Fair Anita claims that over 80% of the materials used in its designs are sustainable. Reused cartons 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,” the company’s website says.

Fair Anita says she has also started participating in carbon offset programs. These help individuals and businesses 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 in closing gender gaps at the national level. To turn this information into concrete actions and national progress, we have developed the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators model for public-private collaboration.

These accelerators were convened in ten countries from three regions. Accelerators are established in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Panama in partnership 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, as well as Knowledge Partner countries demonstrating global leadership in closing gender gaps, are part of a larger ecosystem, the Global Learning Network, which facilitates the exchange of ideas and knowledge. experiences via the Forum platform.

In 2019, Egypt became the first country in the Middle East and Africa to launch a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator. While more women than men are now enrolled in university, women make up just over a third of professional and technical workers in Egypt. Women in the labor force are also less likely to be paid the same as their male colleagues for equivalent work or to move into leadership positions.

In these countries, CEOs and ministers work together over a three-year period on policies that help to further reduce the economic gender gaps in their countries. This includes extended parental leave, subsidized child care and removing unconscious bias in recruitment, retention and promotion practices.

If you are a business in one of the Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator countries, you can join the local member base.

If you are a business or government in a country where we do not currently have a Closing the Gender Gap Accelerator, you can contact us to explore the possibilities of creating one.


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