Maisie Williams, Zoe Sugg and Adwoa Aboah team up with WaterAid to launch stylish period bags so you can proudly own your flow

Posted by
Rosie Stewart and Anna France Williams
on
21 October 2020
In
Periods

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 fempowered.me/celebdesigns

ENDS  

For more information, please contact: 

Anna France-Williams, Senior Media Officer, [email protected]g
or Rosie Stewart, Senior Media Officer, [email protected]
or Laura Crowley, PR Manager, [email protected].
Or call our after-hours press line on +44 (0)7887 521 552,
or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors: 

WaterAid survey on periods 

In 2017 WaterAid asked over 2,000 women aged 18 and over about their attitudes towards menstruation. Two-thirds of women felt uncomfortable openly carrying their sanitary products to the toilet in public, and around half said they wouldn’t feel confident to tell their dad or a male boss about period pain or PMT. 

Maisie Williams 

Bristol-born Maisie Williams is an actor and filmmaker. This year she produced her first short film with her company Pint-Sized Pictures which exists to push equality in film and TV.   

Zoe Sugg 

Zoe Sugg, founder of the brand “Zoella” is a multi-hyphen businesswoman, content creator and multiple Sunday Times bestselling author. Her positive, quirky personality and engaging style of content has resulted in Zoe becoming the UK’s most subscribed to female creator on YouTube. In her 10+ years online Zoe has amassed over 25million followers across her YouTube and Instagram channels. Zoe has published four Sunday Times best sellers. Three novels in her debut Girl Online series which sold over 1 million copies worldwide and her non-fiction Cordially Invited, a lifestyle guide to being the perfect hostess also made the top of the list in 2018. In January 2020 Zoe announced a new fiction project in the making with her novel ‘The Magpie Society - One For Sorrow’. In 2019 Zoe launched her new video effects and editing App Filmm and Instagram design app Template, collectively they’ve already had over 1.8 million downloads and regularly feature at the top of the app store charts. 

In 2012, Zoe was amongst the first content creators to speak openly about her mental health online. Opening up about her anxiety and panic attacks so honestly lead Zoe to become a huge source of support to her millions of followers. Alongside fund raising and awareness for mental health Zoe also regularly speaks out against cyberbullying and brings much needed attention to women’s health issues. 

Adwoa Aboah 

Recognised as a ‘Next Generation Leader’ on the cover of Time Magazine, 27-year-old activist and model Adwoa Aboah has become internationally renowned for her unique talent and fearless leadership. Adwoa’s ground-breaking modelling career and tireless advocacy through her mental health organisation Gurls Talk has elevated her to be one of her generation’s most influential voices. Gurls Talk is a community-led organisation dedicated to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of adolescent gxrls and young womxn. Following Adwoa’s personal experience with mental health, Gurls Talk was formed with the goal of creating safe spaces – both on and offline – where young womxn everywhere can openly share, listen, and support each other without judgement or shame. Through weekly podcast episodes, live events, and an online community, Gurls Talk aims to destigmatise mental health conversations while fostering a supportive community that gives all gxrls a voice. Adwoa’s work with Gurls Talk is expansive, having already held events in cities across the globe and reached millions more online.   

Honoured in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Europe 2019 list for her activism and unparalleled modelling career, Adwoa has been featured in and appeared at a wide array of publications and events around the world. Revealed as the cover star of Edward Enninful’s inaugural edition of British Vogue, Adwoa subsequently graced the same publication for a second time as part of guest editor Meghan Markle’s ‘Forces for Change” issue. Voted “Model of the Year” in 2018, Adwoa has also appeared on the covers of countless magazines including American, Italian, Spanish, German, and Mexican Vogue, W, i-D, Dazed, and System Magazine. Adwoa has also been featured in the advertising campaigns of many brands from Calvin Klein and Rimowa to Burberry and Christian Dior. Currently, Adwoa is one of the global faces of Revlon, Armani Si, and John Hardy, as well as a Global Nike Ambassador. An accomplished public speaker, Adwoa has appeared on a wide variety of stages from the Women in the World Summit, to WE Day and Google Zeitgeist.   

Adwoa grew up in West London with her parents and sister. During her youth, she was a member of the prestigious National Youth Theatre, then went on to study at Brunel University. She currently resides in London, United Kingdom. 

Fempowered 

Fempowered is a new period subscription service, brought to you by WaterAid, that’s all about female empowerment. Every month we’ll send you your products of choice whilst also supporting women and girls around the world with the resources, care and know-how to deal with their periods safely and with dignity. For just £10 a month, customers can choose their own mix of organic period products that will be sent to their door. All of the products are slavery-free, use organic cotton and have no unnecessary plastic. 

To find out more visit fempowered.me 

WaterAid

WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org