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#WCW: Kiran Gandhi

For this year’s final #WomanCrushWednesday (sob!) I decided to profile a woman whose journey and experiences are close to my heart. This woman is Kiran Gandhi and if you haven’t heard of her…get ready, because you’re about to.

Kiran grew up in New York City and Bombay and she attended the Chapin School. Her other academic accomplishments include graduating from Georgetown University and Harvard Business (casual, I know). She is also a boss drummer and has toured with M.I.A. (while attending business school…again, casually the coolest person ever). She has held positions at Interscope Records and Spotify, among many others, doing consulting and analyzing digital music trends. According to her website, Kiran is “… a Los Angeles-based musician, feminist activist and music industry thinker…” (kirangandhi.com/hi/). However, despite her slew of achievements, Kiran is probably the most famous for free-bleeding the London Marathon, aka she ran without a tampon, pad, cup, or any other menstrual device. Despite the fact that running a marathon itself is badass, her story sparked what she calls a “viral conversation” about period stigma and women’s health issues. Since, then Kiran has used this experience to talk about these important issues and become an activist for menstrual health. She is also the front of her mega-cool band Madame Gandhi and is an Artist-In-Resident at Stem Disintermedia.

While just reading about Kiran’s accomplishments are fascinating enough, the Wikipedia article of a person’s life and their own perception of it is probably very different (or at least I would assume, I don’t have one written about me…). Fortunately, I got a chance to experience her point of view when I attended a talk she had through the Campus Feminists last month. Kiran walked in the room, confident and with bleached blonde hair that she pointed out made her sisters when I complimented her on it (because my hair has also gone through that…um…interesting experience). She told her story and answered questions from the group with eloquence and thoughtfulness. She described how she came to feminism and activism, how she did not plan to spark her viral conversation with her free-bleeding but how she saw the response as indication of a deeper problem and wanted to work to fix it. She talked about how when men and women support each other, it is epic and she even described the ideal tampon and pad commercial (an audience question). When she didn’t know something, she told us, and she asked us our opinions.

When her talk finished, she gave us her email and I had the pleasure of asking her a few questions for this article. Thinking that she would send back written sentence or two, if she responded at all, I was honestly floored when she sent me a five-minute audio-recording, answering my questions in-depth.

For my first question, I asked her about the women who have inspired her. She began with her mother, Meera Gandhi, an activist and humanitarian in her own right, saying that her Mom ”taught her to enjoy her femininity as opposed to seeing it as a weakness…”, that being“…vulnerable, being emotional open, being emotionally aware…can actually be a huge asset and a source of strength to so many different scenarios…”. She also named presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, feminist thinkers Angela Davis and Katherine MacKinnnon, jazz singer Nina Simone, and Indria Gandhi, the first female prime minister of India.

I then asked about what feminism means to her. She defined it as a “celebration of women and men as opposed to encouraging us all to be more many and suppressing female qualities. Feminism is actively celebrating women and women’s accomplishments instead of saying they’re not good enough or holding us back. Feminism is a body of work and a school of thought in which we make sure women’s voices are heard and that women’s issues are not mystified and instead they’re brought to light”.

Kiran then told me that she want to live in a world where we are ”…making sure we understand exactly how female anatomy works so we can make sure that women can have an enjoyable life just as much as we make sure men have an enjoyable life”. She sees this as making sure women know how to use their bodies to enjoy their own sexuality, knowing how periods work so we can take care of women (including technological innovations around periods), being comfortable at work, and making sure women are being valued for our thoughts (“ ‘oh sweetie, oh sweetheart’, no…none of that” she said firmly).

Through her entire talk, I found myself seeing her as a potential face for the modern feminist movement, one I think it so desperately needs, a leader to inspire the young feminist to action. However, more importantly than that is how her journey to activism can inspire. Kiran admitted to us at her talk that she did not intend to make a political and social statement when she ran the marathon but she did and when she did she did not shy away from the attention. This event gave her a task, a purpose, a goal and she stuck with it.

This is why I find her story immensely appropriate for my last profile because, like all of us, she is a young person who is saying “screw you” to the perception that our generation is lazy and apathetic. She is showing that we care.


And for me, she gives a fresh definition and a fresh face to feminism and makes me proud to be part of this movement.

“Feminism is when both men and women actively celebrate what is female”-Kiran Gandhi.  


Her website:



Her music: 



My name is Madeline and I am freshman at the University of Rochester. I row on the crew team and am planning on a double major in neuroscience and women's studies on a pre-med track. I am also involved with the Eco-Reps on campus and I love to read and play the piano.
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