Uses biz expertise to tackle the taboo associated with periods, that menstruating women are impure is a myth being perpetuated from generation to generation since centuries.
Despite women breaking the glass ceiling in every sphere, there are places where women are still kept 'isolated' for those 5-7 days.
“It's time to bust these myths and create a world where all women have menstrual dignity,“ says UK-born Sikh girl Manjit Kaur Gill, who has taken an initiative to rope in Sikh religious bodies in the UK to raise the issue of gender inequality in Punjab.
“I am in talks with Shri Guru Singh Sabha and the Sikh Press Association in UK to get this dialogue started at the highest level so that we can tell the sangat what is written about menstruation in Gurbani,“ Manjit told TOI on Wednesday.
Manjit, founder and CEO, Binti International, was in India to deliver a talk on menstruation at the British High Commission. She said she was shocked to learn that Sikh girls were prohibited from performing spiritual rituals in gurdwaras.
Underlining the fact that only 12% of women in India had access to sanitary napkins, she said she was aghast to find during her trips to Punjab and other states that girls were taught that periods were dirty. She said 85% of the girls she spoke to could not explain what the menstrual cycle was. “Some follow local and cultural taboos such as not touching pickle, while others confuse religion with culture and follow the restrictions of menstruation. One girl said I can't enter the temple or perform Kirtan. I have to sleep on a separate bedding on the floor and not touch anything in the kitchen.“
Gill said many rural women in Punjab still use sand-filled socks during periods as they can't afford sanitary napkins.
A Sikh girl who was born in London but has family in Hoshiarpur, Manjit said she used her Punjabi upbringing combined with her international business expertise to tackle the shame associated with periods by providing innovative ideas across different platforms.
She said she was also in talks with various individuals, including Manika Kaur of Australia based “Kirtan for Causes“, and had plans to provide low-cost sanitary napkins for the girls and women in Punjab and elsewhere. She said that she would be collaborating with the NGO, Sikhs helping Sikhs, to provide these.
Binti focuses on increasing sustainability by hiring local women to produce and sell sanitary towels. Women will be economically independent, empowered and they will create an extra source of sustainable income. Profits will be used to fund Binti bespoke menstruation mindfulness education.
Alongside our production facilities, Binti aims to educate by providing educational programmes with the long term goal of changing perceptions and dispel shame and taboos around periods. Health issues will be discussed and a forum will be provided for women and men to be able to openly discuss periods without any prejudice.