1167. Manjit Gill
Manjit Gill, from Surrey, is the founder of 'Binti', which seeks to provide menstrual dignity to all girls, all over the world.
Manjit developed an educational programme on menstruation that has reached 30,000 girls globally over the past five years, rolled out in the UK, Nepal, India, The Gambia, Swaziland, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda. ‘Binti’ has also offered reusable menstrual packs to 2,000 girls across 4 countries. Abroad, ‘Binti’ increases access to affordable sanitary products, by supplying low-cost production units for women to manufacture and sell their own disposable sanitary towels or washable eco-friendly alternatives. The inspiration behind the organisation was Manjit’s realisation that she would not have the achievements she has made in her career without her privileged access to sanitary products. In the UK, Manjit’s campaign has attempted to tackle the stigma surrounding periods and has led to a change in the marketing of sanitary products by major suppliers. Manjit’s project is supported by 120 volunteers across 13 countries and has been featured by ITV and the BBC.
In a personal letter to Manjit, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“Through ‘Binti’, you are educating thousands of girls and women worldwide about menstruation and offering them the dignity they deserve. Ensuring that women are not held back from education and careers because of inadequate access to sanitary products is vitally important and I wish you well with your continued work.”
“It is a tremendous honour to be recognised by the Prime Minister for the work that ‘Binti International’ is doing to create a world where all women have menstrual dignity. When I started talking about periods five years ago I had no idea of the impact that we would make as an organisation. Back then, the only thing that you found online was information about Arunachalam Muruganantham AKA Pad Man, a few global stats and the incorrect definition of periods in the Oxford dictionary.
“Today, we have politicians, Royals, Hollywood, Bollywood, places of worship and conversations around menstruation happening in board rooms and households. We have delivered our menstrual education and products to thousands of girls globally and our campaigns have disrupted the associated shame and stigma. I am so grateful to my family, friends, donors, supporters, followers, and humbly accept this award for all of the volunteers that have helped us get this far. I hope that in the years ahead all girls and women are able to menstruate with the dignity and respect that they deserve.”