Aditi Gupta, a 34-year-old engineering graduate and a NID, Ahmedabad, New Media Design post-graduate. She was born in Jharkhand. Although she got her first menstrual cycle when she was 12, she got educated about it only at the age of 15 in class 9th.
During her early menstrual age she remembers how she was ill treated, she was not allowed to enter or touch the place of worship, idols and temples, she was told not to sit on others beds, she was cornered, had to ensure that she was washing and drying her cloths separately during those days of the month. When she asked money to buy Sanitary napkins, she was told to use cloth & rags pads as buying sanitary napkins in the market would risk them their dignity, also she was told that it is a matter of shame & disgrace to buy such products opening.
She bought her first sanitary napkin at the age of 15. Aditi met her husband, Tuhin Paul in the National Institute of Design where they both worked on several projects together. They found a severe lack of awareness about menstruation even among the most educated people, and that many still believed and followed menstrual myths.
Her understanding on the lack of awareness and education about menstruation motivated her to undergo research on the subject for about an year.
In November 2012, the Husband wife, together started Menstrupedia to spread more knowledge and awareness about the subject. It originally began as a thesis project while they were in National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. The website has developed into a platform ‘providing information on puberty and sexuality for pre-teens and teenagers. She understood that puberty is a very sensitive period and the right knowledge and the right time is essential. She also understood the hesitation in the minds of adults and parents to educate their child about it and the myth get build on this topic for ages. She wants to not just put a stop to all these myths but also wanted to ensure that the right education will help the girl child to face her puberty in a calm and matured way and not fall prey to the superstitions if any around her.
The couple together ensured that Menstrupedia provides a user-friendly guide to menstruation, hygiene and puberty and helps break myths associated to them. The aim of the website was to present this information in a culturally sensitive and an easy-to-understand way through digital media. The website contains various comic books, blogs, Q&A section and a Learn section. The comics are available in fourteen languages and has been utilized in more than 18 countries.Gupta prepared the materials used in schools in five states of North India currently. Gupta distributed these comics, in schools in most of the underprivileged states of India, where the girls, their parents and teachers liked them a lot.
As she began this online awareness platform and start getting fame and the awareness spread, she was criticized by many, which included illiterates and well as educated strata of the society. She was been pressurized to stop this online platform by some religious experts.She may be doing good work, but she has no understanding of religion and the sacred rituals said these experts. She did not pay any heed to this background noise and continued on her mission. To spread the awareness of her online platform, Menstrupedia has started several campaigns in collaboration with Whisper India such as Touch the Pickle movement in collaboration with many actresses like Shraddha Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Kalki Koechlin, Neha Dhupia, Mandira Bedi among others. She was listed on the Forbes India U-30 list.
Her work is surely commendable and praise worth… also considering that even if the parents are well educated and broad minded, they are too engrossed in their busy schedule and may over look to educate their kids at the right age. However, as the larger teen population in online, they will surely get the desired info in a much lighter and comic manner which otherwise was such a hesitation & awkward topic to talk about.