There are almost 29 crore women in our country who are in the reproductive age group, which means there are 29 crore fertile women who are menstruating every month. These are the same fertile women who will give birth to the next generation. This mere monthly bodily function of fertile women due to the lack of information and knowledge has manfisted into an old-age taboo. A taboo that has bridle the consciousness of the Indian society and even women who are educated and progressive.
Aditi Gupta a young graduate from NID (National Institute of Design) in Ahmedabad was 12 when she had her first period. She was told to keep it a secret even from her father and brother as if it was an unspeakable sin. She was not allowed to sit on the sofa, and she was told to wash her bedsheet every night even if the bedsheet was not stained. She was considered impure and was prohibited from worshipping or attending any social outings. This kind of apathy is not the story of Aditi, but countless adolescent girls of our country. This type of insensitivity and inhuman approach of our Indian society led Aditi to create Menstrupedia. Aditi and her husband Tuhin Paul quit their comforting jobs and started addressing the myths and taboos in the Indian society regarding menstruation.
Menstrupedia is a friendly guide to periods which helps girls and women to stay healthy and active during their periods. Aditi believes the lack of information about menstruation is majorly a communication design problem. The society has conditioned our brains to look at menustruation as a sinful and disgraceful activity. Being a communication strategist, Aditi created an online database ‘Menstrupedia’ and series of comic books that explain young girls about menstruation.
The main aim of Menstrupedia is to depict the subject of menstruation in a positive light, it’s to portray menustruation as a natural process in the context of puberty and life.
Aditi feels that although we use better technology today and are more aware than before, but a lot of myths still prevail in our society. One of the incident Aditi recounts vividly was when she visited one of the international schools, a girl there thought that she could get pregnant by swimming during her periods. She states that only 12% of menustruating women use sanitary pads, the rest use unsanitized cloth, ashes and husk sand which can cause dreadful infections. Even her husband Tuhin who handles the designing of the comic book admits that he knew nothing outside the biology books about menstruation until he met Aditi.
Menstrupedia was started in the year 2012, with only 900 visitors per month to their website, but now they have more than 2 Lakh visitors per month. They get regular orders from Sweden, U.S, Philippines, U.K and even Uruguay in South America. The comic is now part of the curriculum in 20 Schools all over India. It’s currently being translated In Spanish, Nepali and Gujarati. Now Aditi’s aim via Menstrupedia is to educate 3 million girls in the next three years.
She states that it’s a great time to become a social entrepreneur. She encourages every budding entrepreneurs to make products for the users and not depend on external funding, the idea is to find a local solution to a local problem and charge a small amount. She believes that users database is so large that even if everyone pays a tiny amount it’s enough to sustain and run your company.
We couldn’t agree less!