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Nike tackles period stigma in sports as England team switches from white shorts to blue

In time for their Thursday match against Brazil in London's Wembley Stadium, England women's football team has introduced its new look. The kits feature a new design and better fit, but the most significant changes address players' concerns about wearing white shorts.

Following lobbying from senior squad members, including striker Beth Mead, the Football Association changed the color of the Lionesses' shorts from white to blue. During last summer's European Championship in England, Mead discussed the issue with Nike, England's kit partner. The new kit color aims to alleviate players' worries about bleeding through and allow them to focus on their performance.

For all 13 federations Nike works with, the 2023 women's national team kits feature 'Nike Leak Protection: Period.' The technology consists of an absorbent liner for shorts that absorbs, wicks and holds blood, while a membrane acts as an anti-leakage barrier.

The Lionesses will showcase their new kits at the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, as well as during April's games against Brazil and Australia. For players of levels, shorts with Nike Leak Protection: Period will be available in April from and select specialty stores.

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Anyone who's ever menstruated will attest to worries about bleeding through when wearing white pants or shorts. Even more daunting while playing under high pressure in a full stadium with cameras positioned to track every move. As Jordana Katcher, Nike's VP Women's Global Sport Apparel, said: "Professional footballers play two 45-minute halves without breaks or time-outs. Many told us they can spend several minutes on-pitch concerned that they may experience leakage from their period."

Switching from white to blue shorts is such an obvious solution that it's baffling it took so long to accomplish. This change, brought about by players' advocacy and Nike's responsiveness, highlights the power of communication and collaboration between athletes and brands. Meanwhile, The Football Association makes no mention of menstruation in their announcement of the new kits, underlining that period stigma still exists. Whether serving customers or supporting employees: is your brand working to eliminate those stubborn taboos?