Business History Seminar - The commercialisation of menstruation in Scandinavia

  • Starts:11:30, 11 May 2023
  • Ends:13:00, 11 May 2023
  • Location:BI - campus Oslo, room A5I-172 and Zoom
  • Enrolment deadline:11.05.2023 12:00
  • Contact:Espen Ekberg (espen.ekberg@bi.no)

Camilla Mørk Røstvik (Universitetet i Agder ): You CAN be Safe! "SABA and the commercialisation of menstruation in Scandinavia 1940-1990”

Be free and glad. Feel on top. Always. You can be safe!’ In the 1940s, Norwegian menstrual product company SABA made this promise to its consumers. Its single-use disposable pads would free women from the need to make and wash menstrual cloth, and ensure that menstrual blood was never visible. Through technological innovation and advertising, SABA dominated the Scandinavian menstrual product sector until the 1990s. Despite its important position as a type of monopoly, large employer and cultural influencer, SABA has barely been explored by business historians.

In this talk, I will share my ongoing research project about SABA's history and impact in Scandinavia, based on its extensive company archives at Vestfoldarkivet. I will outline SABA's origins, growth and ultimate acquisition by Swedish company SCA (today Essity).

The SABA case provides a vivid example of the rapid changes in the menstrual product market in the mid-twentieth century, as it ventured from small national start-ups to larger businesses, and finally to international corporations.