Actress Maisie Williams, entrepreneur-vlogger-writer and founder of Zoella, Zoe Sugg, and activist, model and founder of Gurls Talk, Adwoa Aboah, have helped design a range of limited-edition period bags on behalf of Fempowered, WaterAid’s new period subscription box.
The female stars are supporting WaterAid’s drive to see people talking more openly about periods to help tackle stigma and taboos, while raising money to support women and girls around the world to manage their periods safely and with dignity.
On any given day around 300 million people are menstruating, but for many their period can bring shame and isolation. In some communities’ periods are considered a curse, excluding those who are menstruating from society every time they bleed.
These taboos and stigma exist in the UK too. WaterAid research found that fewer than two in five Brits (37%) feel comfortable talking about periods. People’s embarrassment means hiding tampons up your sleeves may be commonplace in the UK, with two thirds of women (65%) feeling uncomfortable openly carrying their period products to the toilet in public.
WaterAid wants the public to be loud and proud about their period by sporting one of their new, stylish period bags made of sustainable cotton, for Fempowered. Maisie, Zoe Sugg and Gurls Talk have helped produce exclusive bags with bold slogans such as ‘feeling bloody brilliant’ and ‘own your flow’.
Shockingly, one in four people globally have no access to decent toilets, depriving them of their human right to sanitation, and a private space to manage periods hygienically and safely. Where there are no toilets or period products available in schools, girls struggle to manage their periods, are unable to concentrate or participate fully in class and may have to leave school to go home and change. In some contexts, where periods are considered unclean or a curse, women and girls can face restrictions and even enforced isolation.
Sales from the celebrity collaboration will help to tackle these inequalities. The unique period bags are designed to contain period products and fit neatly into handbags and schoolbags. They can be purchased online via Fempowered, WaterAid’s monthly subscription service that offers women eco-friendly, plastic free and organic period products that give back to women worldwide.
Zoe Sugg, who designed an eye-catching celestial-themed black and white bag with the slogan ‘own your flow’, said:
“I’m so proud to be working with Fempowered to bring more attention to the many girls around the world who have to miss school due to a lack of decent toilets or who drop out entirely. A period should never be something that holds anyone back and I hope the design we’ve worked on with WaterAid helps you own your flow with dignity.”
Actress Maisie Williams collaborated with a designer from her creative social network ‘Daisie’ to create her abstract design, which features a womb, hands and the slogan ‘feeling bloody brilliant’, encouraging people to feel empowered by their period. She said:
“I’m feeling bloody brilliant about teaming up with WaterAid and Fempowered to help girls feel period proud. Talking about periods is normal. So let’s smash this stigma together.
“It’s shocking that one in four women and girls around the world don’t have access to a decent toilet. How are they meant to manage during their period? By helping create these unique period bags I’m campaigning to make life fairer for girls everywhere.”
Adwoa Aboah selected a design from a competition she hosted through Gurls Talk, the community-led organisation she founded, dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent girls and young women. The winning artwork was created by US-based graphic designer, Lex Blair, and features a fun scene of women surfing crimson waves, reminding us that periods are nothing to be embarrassed about because ‘it’s only blood’. Adwoa said:
“No girl deserves to feel embarrassed about her period. It’s only blood. That’s why I’m fighting this discrimination with WaterAid. The proceeds from the limited-edition period bags will help women around the world manage their periods safely. Dignity shouldn’t be optional.
“Being more open about periods can help make sure the rights and needs of women and girls are heard and taken seriously at a local and global level. That’s something we should all be fighting for.”
Thérèse Mahon, Regional South Asia Manager at WaterAid said:
“There is no shame in menstruation, yet many consider it embarrassing to talk about periods openly. Together with a lack of access to clean water and decent toilets, this culture of silence and shame is having a devastating impact on people’s health, quality of life and opportunities. Women and girls need decent toilets and clean water as well as information, products and services to make informed choices about how to manage menstruation. By launching these period bags, we want to help tackle taboos and contribute to a world where we are period proud and the needs of women and girls are prioritised.”
To buy your period bag and to find out more about Fempowered’s sustainable period products that give back, visit www.fempowered.me/celebdesigns