Through head and heart, ‘Hygiene - A Circle of Life’ exhibition by WSSCC partner Essity portrays hygiene and health across the life cycle


WSSCC partner Essity, a Swedish hygiene and health company, and the renowned Fotografiska Museum, launched the evocative exhibition Hygiene – A Circle of Life in Stockholm, unveiling intimate portraits of people and their hygiene routines.

Running from November 8 until January 21, the photos by Swedish photographer Ida Borg highlight the link between hygiene, health and well-being. In doing so, the exhibition helps make the challenges and taboos surrounding hygiene and health more visible.

During the opening ceremony Archana Patkar, WSSCC Head of Policy commended the exhibit, adding that hygiene is a powerful entry point for destroying taboos on topics such as menstruation and incontinence.

“I thank [photographer Ida Borg] for inviting us into these people’s lives,” she said in remarks to attendees at the unveiling. “I think [the exhibition] was done with such sensitivity and discretion that I frankly didn’t feel embarrassed -- I felt very privileged,” she said.

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Opening of the exhibition Hygiene – A Circle of Life. Credits: Essity

WSSCC and Essity started working together in 2014, when the company was known as SCA, to break the silence on Menstrual Hygiene Management and on hygiene across the life course. The partnership encourages a global conversation around hygiene issues and opportunities across organizations, sectors and countries, sharing successes and opening the dialogue on what is often an unspoken topic: personal hygiene.

In 2016, the partners released the co-created Hygiene Matters Report, based on a survey in 12 countries exploring the economic perspective on the value of hygiene, the social perspective focused on taboos and stereotypes around hygiene, and the role hygiene will play in social and economic development in emerging and developed markets in the future.