Meet Jorden Williams


Meet Jorden Willimas, who obtained a bachelor of Arts in film/video photographic arts at Newport University. Jorden designed the mask for the Talk Period  / Stop taxing our period. period march which was held over the May bank holiday. Hear how she got involved in Talk Period.

In order to express my art practice, I have always used a vast array of mediums, conveying subject matter of a similarly varying scale. In the last few years, however, feminist values have become the primary motif, dominating my work. As I have learned about and grown acutely more aware of global inequality, I have developed a strong desire to fight for change, crossing the boundaries laid out by a historically patriarchal society, using art and activism as my vehicle. I cannot possibly think of a better platform to initiate change than the public domain

A couple of months ago, when reading an article in VICE Magazine, I found myself considering the sanitary tax and how it affects all women but, more deeply, the women most vulnerable in society. The article’s author, Maya Oppenheim, discussed the nightmarish difficulty homeless women and girls face when menstruating. Most women dread their time of the month, but may not be able to comprehend the hell it brings when you do not have access to even the most basic sanitary care. This struggle inspired me to start an online fundraiser to provide two night shelters with a variety of sanitary products. Moving forward, I will continue to campaign against the sanitary tax. I believe we must quash the worldwide taboo surrounding menstruation and challenge archaic legislation.

The aforementioned fundraising I carried out for the homeless shelter was definitely one of my proudest achievements recently, as the support was overwhelming. Resulting in the target amount being doubled. This provided 3,500 sanitary products for woman in Bristol and Cardiff. I then went on to create the Menstruation Demonstration event. I invited people to walk in solidarity to raise awareness of the challenges those who menstruate face, and to confront the intolerable sanitary tax legislation. The event launched with the presence of a silenced crowd. Their mouths concealed with a mask, to reflect the silence that is enforced from societal taboos surrounding menstruation. As the crowd descended through the streets of Bristol, they emanated a bellowing noise of chants and protests, breaking the silence surrounding menstruation. The passion and unity that was demonstrated by everyone involved raised awareness of the cause, serving on to reiterate the importance of intersecting activism and art.

I hold a fervent passion for all aspects of feminist practice, particularly with an interest in women’s health. I believe it is intensely important to confront characteristics of the feminine experience, which are typically disregarded or concealed such as the health risks attached to ‘feminine hygiene products’ and healthcare. Aiming to deconstruct the trust we place in superiority, science and advertising. Addressing these taboos will allow us to share and gain knowledge, and work together to make change.

Menstruation is a natural process that around half the world experience. It shouldn’t be treated as a shameful act that is unmentionable. We need to talk about it, by joining in solidarity and offering a voice we can address the issues that need to change. Menstruation shouldn’t come between a girl and her right to an education, homeless women shouldn’t have to choose between food and sanitary products, our landfills shouldn’t be overflowed with menstrual waste. Together we have a voice, so let’s talk period.

Getting involved with talkPeriod has been hugely important to me, because I believe it has created a voice amongst the Bristol community. It has been a pleasure speaking with progressive and like-minded individuals who are also passionate about the welfare of those that menstruate worldwide. I feel the movement will allow me to pursue my desire to fight global inequality.



Meet Rose George

Meet the Team, Rose George
Rose George has written for the Guardian, New York Times, London Review of Books and others. She is the author of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters, and Deep Sea Foreign Going: Inside shipping, the invisible industry which brings you 90% of everything, out now.  We caught up Rose George, who will be chairing the panel debate at this Thursday’s talk.Period event and asked her a few questions about why breaking menstrual hygiene taboos is important to her.

How did you get into writing?
I did my undergraduate degree in modern languages at Somerville College, Oxford, then followed this with a master’s in international relations at the University of Pennsylvania. I had a Fulbright scholarship which allowed me a few months to do an internship, and I got one at The Nation magazine in New York. At that point I was still undecided between law and journalism, but the Nation was so wonderful, I chose journalism. I worked at COLORS magazine for a few years, and have been freelance ever since.

What sparked this interest and why did you feel compelled to write the material that you do?
I’ve always written about topics that I think are important but ignored. They are easy to notice, but most people don’t. That applies to refugees (the subject of my first book), sanitation (my second) or shipping and seafarers (the third). I began to write about menstruation and menstrual hygiene through my work in sanitation: once you notice that so many girls drop out of school when they reach puberty because there is no toilet, it’s easy to make the connection.

What has been your biggest achievement to date and what are you most proud of?
I’m extremely proud of my book The Big Necessity. I still get emails from people saying how much of an impact it has had on them, and how it has changed their views. Some have written to say they have chosen to work in NGOs or as sanitation engineers, partly because of my book. No writer could wish for more than that.

What issues do you feel particularly passionate about and important to address or change?
I feel passionate about injustice. I don’t think it is just or fair for example that a perfectly natural function such as menstruation should be cloaked in taboo, disdain and ridiculous adverts that only ever promote sanitary products as something that makes women discreet and fragrant. I will not be discreet, either about the fact I have periods, or about writing about it.

In what ways do you feel the public could get involved or behind this to improve the situation?
In a way it’s very simple when something is this neglected: talk about it. In sanitation more broadly, I know that there are hundreds of people doing the real work of policy change, or working in the field. My job is to communicate what they do, and I try to do that as best I can. The public can support organizations financially, but also in small ways, like not hiding their tampons or sanitary pads when they queue up at the checkout; or making sure young girls and women are not encouraged to be ashamed; or petitioning the government on the absurd fact that sanitary protection is taxed.

Why is getting involved in Talk Period event important to you?
I support any new initiative around improving the status of menstruation and menstrual hygiene. Those two both sounds like things that are only relevant to the developing world, but there is much to change in the developed world too, such as the lack of transparency about the dioxin content in cotton used in sanitary protection; or a taboo that means sportswomen, for example, can’t admit they’re having periods even when it affects their performance. For a start.


This event is sponsored by:

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