8 March 2020



Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large[1]. However, there is still a major gap in gender equality, including a prevalence of menstrual inequality and period poverty that continues to be a taboo topic around the world. This culture of period shame does not only affect the women but society as a whole as women are not able to be comfortable or confident at school or at work.

At Vivobarefoot we believe that the health of people is intimately connected to the health of the planet. We believe that gender equality is fundamental for building regenerative businesses, peace and prosperity for all. It is inspirational to hear, learn and collaborate with female start ups like Noble Cup founded by Sara Eklund. This social enterprise demystifies stigmas on menstrual health and raises awareness on period poverty in Ethiopia.

About a quarter of the women of reproductive age in the country have no access to menstrual products[2]. It is reported that 20% of an academic year will be missed by young girls, due to lack of access to hygiene products.  Many girls end up using newspapers and old rags, leaving them vulnerable to infections. Poor bathrooms and water facilities do not help the situation. In Ethiopia, around 70% of girls never hear about menstruation until period catches them by surprise.

With the Every Queen Bleeds campaign, Noble Cup joins the global period movement to normalize menstruation as it’s NOTHING to be ashamed about – like your feet too, as many females do not like how the feet look[3]. So, let’s celebrate the Powerful and fascinating female body! Let’s celebrate the toes and flows.

To rebel against the existing system and mindset, Noble Cup hosts interactive workshops on female hygiene with schools and universities around the country. Last summer Pakistani activist and Nobel Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai joined a Noble Cup workshop in Addis Ababa.

Every Queen Bleeds creates conversations around everything concerning menstrual health needs to be normalized to start the revolution on menstrual products consumption. Traditional menstrual health products create enormous waste and are difficult to dispose of or recycle. With Noble Cup, Sara and her team provide menstrual cups to the Ethiopian market. Their eco-friendly, comfortable, leak-proof cup's put the menstrual fluid back into the earth, into the waters as part of a natural cycle.

We are grateful to the Noble Cup team for hosting menstruation workshops series this Spring in Ethiopia with the communities involved in our shoemaking supply chain and providing menstruation cups for every female we work or collaborate within the country, totalling 300 women.

Noble Cup is available for purchase online. Every cup purchased donates a cup and supports the monthly educational workshops Noble Cup produces in schools, juvenile detention centres and for sports and girls clubs.

Follow Vivobarefoot and Noble Cup social media for further updates. #EveryQueenBleeds

This blog is part of the activist series by Livebarefoot Fund launching this summer mobilising, funding, promoting cause-related campaigns to build a community of rebellious activists and social entrepreneurs sharing mission to create regenerative future.

[1] https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality

[2] https://www.psi.org/2018/10/access-to-pads-five-takeaways-from-menstrual-hygiene-management-mhm-research-with-adolescent-girls-and-young-women-in-india-and-ethiopia/

[3] https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/feet-photos_n_584eee0fe4b0bd9c3dfdcd1c