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Aditi Gupta is Taking Down Period Taboos One Comic at a Time

Ah, I love the sound of taboos breaking in the distance. In this instance, I’m talking about Aditi Gupta bringing education about menstruation to the people of India in an effort to break the taboo about menstruation.

According to one of India’s leading strategic philanthropy foundations, Dasra, of the 355 million women in India who menstruate, 88% do not have access to sanitary pads, and use unsafe methods that can lead to rashes, infections, or worse. This contributes to 23% of girls dropping out of school when they begin menstruating. How could this be? The social restrictions that come with being on your period in India (as well as many other cultures) can be isolating. From not being able to sit on furniture to not taking baths, to not being able to enter a temple, 85% of girls follow at least one restriction during their period.

After Gupta met her partner in college and fell in love, they began to talk about periods and do research. Through this, Gupta realized how little she knew about periods and how much of what she did know, were actually myths. This caused her to do a yearlong research about the gap between girls and proper menstrual information.

She found that people across the board, rural or urban, rich or poor, misconceptions and lack of education about menstrual cycles were consistent across the board. Though there were some teachers and parents who wanted to change this, they didn’t have the means to confidently take on the taboo. This has led to girls learning about periods in school… years after they get them. This is where Gupta found that she could change things.

Aditi Gupta wants to change all that through her comic, Menstrupedia.

Menstrupedia is a fresh and friendly comic filled with content that debunks myths and clarifies misunderstandings so that women and girls can take their body back into their own hands. Three out of 10 girls don’t know what a period is when they get their first one, in some places it’s as high as 9 in 10 according to her ted talk. Her comic uses relatable characters that are not objectionable and are culturally sensitive. It takes the taboo out of menstruation, and creates a comfortable environment that’s focused on education, not shame.

Over 4000 girls have been educated from the comic, and it’s constantly being translated as it finds its way into 10 different countries. Gupta continues to help make the book available through local organizations. Over 15 schools in India have made the comic part of their curriculum, and even young monks learned from them. Parents are able to be comfortable talking about periods and making sure their children stay safe.

The comic includes information on periods, what they are and how they happen, how to track your period, and how to take care of yourself during PMS and Menstruation. The language makes discussion conversational and non-hostile. Also, can we talk about the #browngirlmagic happening here?

Check out Menstrupedia at Menstrupedia.com. To read the magazine, check out the interactive audio preview here: https://www.menstrupedia.com/audio-visual-preview/?page=42

Check out Gupta’s TEDxGatewayWomen talk here: https://www.ted.com/talks/aditi_gupta_a_taboo_free_way_to_talk_about_periods/transcript?language=en#t-521956




Teri is in the Class of '18 at Chatham University. She is a Communications-Journalism major, Editor-in-Chief of The Chatham Post, and president of the Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. Her passions are writing, leadership, and encouraging people in any way she can.
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