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

Thursday, 9 March 2017 13:26 GMT

* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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.

A panel of specialist speakers will be exploring a range of female body issues - everything from what we look like down there to the signs of an abnormal period, with a view to removing taboos and negative perceptions surrounding our bodies.

The diverse panel includes healthcare professionals, academics and artists who are driven by a shared vision: to inform, inspire and promote discussion on female social and health issues to empower women and confront the social stigma they face both at home in the UK and in many parts of the world.

About the Organisers

LycaHealth, founded 2015 and chaired by Mrs Prema Subaskaran, is a healthcare initiative providing clients worldwide with a range of affordable holistic health treatments, combining a wealth of technical expertise, consultation and diagnostic services. Co-founder Dr Manpreet Gulati, one of the speakers, has more than 25 years’ experience in the field, providing a clear vision of the future of female healthcare both in the UK and India, where he began his career.

Binti International is a visionary charity that promotes menstrual dignity worldwide, including the right of every woman to access proper sanitary products. These basic rights are denied to women in countries like India, where a lack of education and the debilitating social stigma surrounding menstruation force women into desperate - and often dangerous - methods to stem monthly bleeding, using rags, straw and sometimes even cow dung. By providing education and setting up sustainable business initiatives to enable women to develop their own sanitary towels, Binti aims to empower women and put an end to the stigmatization of menstruation.

About the Speakers

Karen Sutton, CEO and Founder, National CSR Awards and Non-exec Chair of Business@Brooklands

Karen is the evening’s official narrator. In 2015, she founded the National CSR Awards to recognise UK businesses - both big and small - who actively incorporate Corporate Social Responsibility into their work. This includes engaging in responsible and sustainable business practices that take into account the wider impact of their business on the local and global community and the environment. The awards celebrate all companies (corporates, SMEs, NGOs and community and local initiatives), that strive to engage in ethical practices and demonstrate real commitment to change. Karen is vocal in her support for local and global charities, and has played an active role in a number of overseas initiatives, including vaccinating children in the slums of Delhi and funding a sustainable water purification project in Puira, Peru.

Dr Manpreet Gulati, Doctor and Interventional Radiologist


Lycra's co-founder, a doctor and interventional radiologist, Dr Gulati specialises in a wide range of reproductive issues, carrying out urgent procedures such as blocking arteries to fibroids to help regularise menstrual bleeding and prevent dangerous blood loss. Beyond the technicalities of his work, and inspired by his patients’ stories, he began to explore the often ignored social and cultural impacts behind periods, fertility and hormonal imbalances. His speech will focus on a key ambition - empowering women by promoting frank and open discussions about their bodies. He will also explore broader gender inequalities, the socio-cultural subjugation of women throughout the world, and the steps we must take to combat this. “I urge all women to not feel threatened by, nor aspire to masculinity. It is disempowering to consider oneself less than successful in a man's world! This is where true women's empowerment commences."

Nimisha Bhanot, Artist and Binti Ambassador


 Nimisha is a contemporary Canadian artist, whose work critiques the societal role and perception of South Asian women from a bicultural lens. She seeks to dignify and empower women, and challenge much conventional South Asian art that portrays them through the male gaze. In Nimisha’s words, her art “immortalizes women who would normally be cast off society”. She will focus on how her work aims to remove the shame surrounding women’s menstrual and reproductive health. Nowhere is this clearer than in her “Shameless Menstruating Goddess”, a painting featuring a bleeding Hindu Goddess in full view. Nimisha’s work has appeared in many international publications including Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue India.

Dr Anita Mitra, Clinical Research Fellow, Imperial College London


Anita Mitra, a doctor and scientist at Imperial College London, specialises in gynaecology, with a particular interest in female cancers, and is in the process of completing her PhD on cervical cancer and the vaginal microbiome. Beyond the hospital and research lab, Anita seeks to improve public awareness of women's health issues and encourage them to feel less ashamed to talk about their bodies. Her speech will focus on how to promote vaginal health through safe menstrual hygiene practice - key to Binti’s aims. Anita believes that talking frankly about menstrual and reproductive health is the only way we can begin to end body shame.

Dr Rupy Aujla, GP and Nutritionist


Rupy is the NHS GP behind “The Doctor’s Kitchen”, a multi-platform resource that aims to educate patients about the positive impact of nutrition on our health. He shares his delicious and inspirational recipes on social media and discusses the clinical research behind the ingredients and how they can have a hugely positive impact on a wide range of health issues. Rupy will cover a range of simple and effective dietary measures women can incorporate into their everyday lives to protect against gynaecological problems. Expect an open and honest discussion about women’s health and how to remove the stigma attached to menstrual problems.

Manjit K Gill, CEO and Founder, Binti International


Manjit set up Binti with one clear aim - to create a world where every woman has menstrual dignity. Through a series of eye-opening world statistics, her speech will focus on the debilitating social stigma surrounding menstrual health both at home and abroad, and the devastating impact this can have on women’s reproductive health. She will outline Binti’s work in providing education and creating sustainable business models for women to empower themselves and break through gender barriers. She will introduce Binti’s ambassadors and demonstrate how the project is taking the online world by storm through a series of social media campaigns - and how you can get involved to help spread Binti’s message to the world.

Join us in an evening of frank discussions that will educate, enlighten and embolden. Let’s make 2017 the year we ${esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.dollar}{esc.hash}smashshame for good.

Event Details


LycaHealth Westferry Circus Canary Wharf London E14 4HA


10th March