Our Giveback: Interview with Binti Founder, Manjit Gill
Through our workplace initiative, we proudly support Binti International. Here, we catch up with Binti Founder, Manjit Gill to talk about period shame, menstrual dignity and Binti’s mission to drive change.
When did you start up Binti and what is the mission?
“I started Binti up 5 years ago and our vision is to create a world where all women have menstrual dignity. Our mission is to provide access to menstrual products, education and smash the associated stigma and taboos.”
Why do you think it’s important to tackle period stigma and shame?
“To ensure that everyone has menstrual dignity it’s important to normalise the conversation around periods and to tackle the period stigma and shame. Too many people suffer quietly because they have not learned that periods are a normal biological process that can determine your health as well as create life.”
What’s the situation with menstruation in India?
“India accounts for 27% of the world’s cervical cancer rate, only 12% use pads whilst 23% of girls will drop out of school because they cannot afford menstrual products.”
What work does Binti carry out in India?
“We provide access to menstrual products, deliver menstrual education and campaign to eradicate the shame.”
What work does Binti carry out in the UK?
“In the UK as the HQ of Binti International, we plan everything globally. We also campaign to ensure that the services we provide abroad are also available at home because the UK also suffers from period shame, lack of menstrual equity and we don’t understand our bodies well enough. Essentially, we let our young girls bleed every month from the age of 9 for 4 decades of their lives without adequate knowledge. Most of them learn on the job.”
What’s been the biggest achievement so far?
“We have so many achievements to be proud of. Back when we started, the only thing that you found online when you searched menstruation was a few stats, information about Muruganantham AKA the Pad Man and the incorrect definition of periods in the Oxford Dictionary. Today there are 100’s of other organisations doing similar work, we have dignitaries, politicians, Royals, Bollywood, Hollywood, and families talking about periods around kitchen tables. Through our campaigning, the government agreed to provide free menstrual products for all girls in schools. Our blue liquid vs red advert inspired manufacturers to show menstrual blood online. We have done fun and crazy events from a fashion show featuring a pad dress to our pad splashes on the streets of London, wearing pads and talking about periods.”
Why is more education around menstrual health and periods important?
“We need to know where we are in our cycle so that we can maximise our life and not be led by our hormones and cycles. Boys and men should know what a period is so that we can create a generation of them supporting the women in their lives.”
What’s next for Binti?
“We are launching in the US, have a new reusable product and are utilising tech to continue the work that we do.”
How can people support Binti and get involved?
“One way you can support us is by donating so that we can continue our work. You can get involved by volunteering your time in our exciting campaigns and events or, just talk about periods and be proud that you have/had them.”
TOTM supports Binti through our workplace initiative. For every box sold, we’ll donate 10p to this period powerful charity. Follow Binti’s story and amazing work via their Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.