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WaterAid/ Nina Cosford
Water & Sanitation

These 4 Female Artists Are Taking Over Loos in London for World Toilet Day

A collective of international female artists are taking over toilet cubicles in London in honour of World Toilet Day. 

The artists, illustrators, and singers, from the UK and Sierra Leone, are joining together to raise awareness of the fact that 1 in 3 women around the world don’t have access to sanitation.

And installations at the “Out of Order” exhibition, held in collaboration with the international development charity WaterAid, will explore the impact that not having access to decent, private toilets is having on women globally.

Take action: Urge Governments and Businesses to Invest in Clean Water and Toilets

Among the artists are four British women — Eve Lloyd Knight, Emma Shoard, Molly Fairhurst, and Nina Cosford — and two women from the Sierra Leone capital Freetown, Josephine Dauda and Hawa Bangura. In Sierra Leone, over 85% of women don’t have access to a toilet.

The group are taking over four toilet cubicle for their installations, to examine the issues faced by women living in some of the world’s poorest communities without access to proper toilet facilities, and how that impacts everything from education and health, to coping with periods, to dealing with harassment and violence.

Read more: Officials in India Believe Public Shaming Is the Best Way to Improve Public Health

WaterAid_london_artists.jpgFrom L to R: Eve Lloyd Knight, Nina Cosford, Molly Fairhurst, Emma Shoard outside WaterAid's Out of Order exhibition in London
Image: WaterAid/Laura Summerton

“Being on your period can be difficult in the best of circumstances, whether you’re dealing with terrible mood swings or unbearable pains and cramps; but imagine that without the privacy and dignity of a humble toilet cubicle, or even proper sanitary products,” said 29-year-old Cosford. 

“To me, it is so out of order that a third of women in the world are struggling to manage their periods without  access to a decent toilet. It’s a heartbreaking and shocking statistic that needs to be addressed.” 

Read more: How the ‘PooGate’ Tinder Date Is Unexpectedly Raising Hundreds for Toilets in Developing Countries

Margaret Batty, WaterAid’s director of global policy and campaigns, said: “At WaterAid, we know how a lack of decent sanitation affects women disproportionately throughout their lives. For many, it represents the difference between living in dignity or shame, between safety or violence, between being able to grow up healthy or struggling with sickness, and between going to school or dropping out.” 

She added: “Better health, education, and gender equality cannot be achieved without ensuring that every woman and girl has access to a toilet.”

Read more: Vaginal Bleeding Is Taboo in Poor Countries — and It’s Putting Lives at Risk, Report Says

Tombohuaun in Sierra Leone is the focus of WaterAid’s winter fundraising appeal, Untapped, which launched at the beginning of November, and aims to raise £4 million to bring clean water, decent toilets, and good hygiene to some of the world’s poorest communities. 

Every pound raised by the British public will be doubled by the UK government, as part of its UK Aid Match initiative. 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the Global Goals, including for access to quality sanitation for everyone, everywhere. You can join us by taking action here

The Out of Order exhibition runs until Nov.19, 11am-7pm, at the Old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London. Admission is free, and donations are welcome.