Why you need a #BintiBauble on your Christmas Tree

So what exactly is a #BintiBauble you might be wondering? 

Well, to celebrate Christmas, the charity Binti are decorating tampons with a Christmas theme. On Binti’s social media sites they are actually running a competition for the best homemade #BintiBauble and the Binti team will pick the best to be featured over Christmas. 

Binti will also be creating a Binti Christmas tree covered in #BintiBaubles and as part of their Christmas initiative will be donating sanitary products to an organisation that needs it. 

So why should you be decorating your tree with a #Bintibauble? 

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Sex education? We need Menstrual Education too!

Don’t get misled by the title. Of course, I think we still need sex education. In fact, sex education in my opinion needs an overhaul, especially in terms of becoming more LGBTQ+ inclusive, as well as catering for the new digital age. In the US, I know the situation is much direr than the UK with many schools still only teaching abstinence only programs. Actually, according to figures obtained from the Guttmacher Institute, in 2014, 76% of U.S. public and private schools taught abstinence as the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. 

However, I’m not here to talk about the desperate overhaul that sex education needs. I’m here to talk about something that was brought to my attention when talking to Manjit, CEO and founder of the charity Binti. What she introduced to me was the need for sex education and menstrual education to be separate topics. For anyone who doesn’t know, Binti, is a charity that is founded to bring dignity to women on their period, by providing women who do not have easy access to sanitary products with that access, and the charity also aims to tackle negative perceptions around periods and the shame that many women (or whatever you identify as) still feel with their period. 

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International Women’s Day 2017 in association with Binti International and Lyca Health

For more than a hundred years, International Women’s Day has been celebrated on March 8th around the world - and it’s finally, albeit slowly, gaining recognition in the UK.

Its profile has risen significantly in recent weeks following the wave of women’s marches, from Washington to Sydney, to protest the policies of Donald Trump, not least one of his first executive orders that strips US funding for health clinics in developing counties that provide abortion services.

This year is set to be a game changer, with a host of events taking place across London to highlight urgent issues facing women all over the world. And there’s one event you won’t want to miss - an evening of talks by Binti International and LycaHealth to celebrate IWD’s 2017 tagline BeBoldforChange.

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Let's talk...#BintiRosePose

That’s why we have the Binti Rose Campaign because we bring love to menstruation and get girls to open up and not be embarrassed about it.” 

-Manjit K. Gill (CEO/ Founder of Binti)

With a lot of different charities now running a lot of different campaigns in order to get attention to their cause, it’s hard to recognise them all. But there are some where a deeper meaning lies beneath the pose, or act the charity asks you to do. One such pose is the #BintiRosePose created by the charity Binti.

Binti, is a charity that strives to bring menstrual dignity back to women by providing sanitary products to women who do not have access to them, and by trying to smash the taboo about talking about menstruation. As having access to sanitary products is only half of the barrier facing women and their periods, as without an open dialogue, how can we start to properly help women to find ways to manage their period each month?

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India: A Map of its Menstrual Hygiene

Although, shame surrounding periods is a global issue that needs to be tackled; the problem reaches further for a lot of Indian women due to the lack of health advice they receive about their periods. Menstrual hygiene, so essentially how to keep sanitary during your period in India is grossly neglected. There are many reasons that have contributed towards why this is the case, but it is largely due to that periods are simply just not talked about. One such reason why periods are not talked is that they are linked too closely with sex, as menarche symbolises puberty and traditionally when girls would be paired off. And so consequently, these women suffer.

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Manjit K Gill is nominated for the 16th Asian Achievers Award

The nominations for the 16th annual Asian Achievers Awards have been unveiled. They include, stand-up comedian Romesh Ranganathan; National Karate Champion Myra NasimCaptain Naveed Muhammad MBE British Army; Charity Khalsa Aid; Barrister Jo Sidhu QC; entrepreneur Selva Pankaj - CEO, Regent Group; Manjit Wolstenholme from Provident Financial PLC and Harish Sodha- international Executive Chairman,Diversity Travel.

CB Patel, Publisher/Editor, ABPL Group said: “The mission of the Asian Achievers Awards is two fold - recognise and reward genuine high achievers in the Asian community. I know for a fact that the high esteem with which the community holds the awards stems from the overwhelming participation from all sections of the Asian community in the nomination process, and the free rein given by ABPL Group to the esteemed judges to uphold meritocracy and meritocracy alone. Those twin pillars have been foundational to the success of the Awards and the affection it has come to enjoy as the 'People's Awards'.

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#TheHomelessPeriod and the shame surrounding periods

Periods. Most women have to deal with them for a large period of their life, yet we still don’t really talk about them. Perhaps we don’t want to recall some of the quite frankly mildly traumatising period moments I’m sure a lot of us as women have had. But there is also something deeper there, and that is a culture of silence.

The campaign #TheHomelessPeriod is trying to break that culture of silence by making periods something that is talked about. The tagline for their campaign highlights the point perfectly:

“It doesn’t bear thinking about…and that’s the problem.”

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Putting The 'Men' In Menstruation

Living in a society in which the respectability of a family revolves around avoiding 'shame', and where the standard of this shame is based primarily around the behaviour of women, places an insurmountable level of pressure on men to control women. When the perception of men depends on the actions of the women in their family, it means that any social change for women cannot occur without their cooperation. This applies to menstruation as well. Such is the stigma of menstruation that the wife and mother of sanitary pad machine inventor Arunachalam Muruganantham once left him because of his work, which earned him allegations of perversion and mental illness.

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Think It's Just India? Menstrual Taboos Stain The West Too

Pardon the irony, but it's no secret that menstruation is a big secret in India. Not only do women have to find creative ways to hide this 'shame' from men, but the lack of education and information on this issue means that girls starting puberty often do not know why they menstruate. Women of India: be surprised to know that some of these issues are not unique to India -- menstruation is also a taboo in the West.

Sanitary products are taxed in the UK (it's dubbed the "tampon tax") like any luxury item, despite the fact that the government's healthcare service (NHS) provides free contraception and flat-fee medication which is free for the most vulnerable. This is based on the idea that no-one should fall below a certain standard. Yet there is no state provision for even the poorest menstruating women, and homeless women have to rely on charities to meet sanitary needs. The issue is not just at the top, it is deep-rooted in social attitudes -- such as a refusal to discuss this issue -- which then influence policy and taxation.

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