It's incredible to think one in 10 girls and young women are often forced to use unsanitary items in place of real sanitary products because they can't afford it, but that's still the case in the UK.
The campaign centres around a new brand called 'UNsanitary', created by adam&eveDDB, and featuring real products, available at pop-ups in selected ASDA stores. At first glance, they look authentic. But on closer inspection, shoppers see that they contain items representing some of the real unsanitary things girls are often forced to use – socks, newspaper and loo roll. The products are not actually for sale.
The UNsanitary brand, Hey Girls' biggest campaign to date, is being supported by a consumer campaign in partnership with 3 Monkeys Zeno and Clear Channel. To help drive further awareness and education, The Big Issue has created a ground-breaking special edition, which includes a 24- page special mini-magazine about periods, menstrual products, poverty, activism, the environment – and what we can all do to make a big difference by taking little steps.
The exclusive edition is a UK-first in the publishing world, the first of its kind, dedicating an entire publication to the issue of period poverty. For many years The Big Issue has championed organisations that tackle period poverty, and through its social investment arm, Big Issue Invest.
"We created 'UNsanitary' to provoke awareness about the shocking extent of period poverty in the UK," says Celia Hodson, founder of Hey Girls. "Progress is being made, but we knew we needed to do something drastic for large numbers of people to take notice of what so many women and girls are going through. We hope the campaign will rally businesses and the government to instigate more radical changes."