Indian women are often treated like Goddesses. They are revered, adored and cherished in all parts of the country. But there lies a dark side to their treatment too. They are considered impure for going through bodily changes. Something like menstruation is considered shameful. That’s the mentality Menstrupedia is trying to change.
Despite having matriarchal societies in certain parts of India, women still battle every day. Basic rights, equal pay, safety, gender discrimination are just some of the things they have to face or fight. Even in 2018, there are Indian women suffering on a daily basis. The world may be progressing but conventional mentality still hasn’t changed or evolved. The statistics of assault, rape, and domestic violence are disturbing. Women are trying to break the barriers and do their best. A girl child is considered a burden and not allowed to be educated. Girls are socially conditioned to work at home and follow the men of the house blindly. Even the law places a son over a daughter in terms of hierarchy and property. There are several things about which our attitude needs to change but menstruation remains key.
Our bodies are designed to change as we grow up. Nature has different roles for men and women. While both go through puberty, the reasons and the changes are varied. Girls have to go through menstruation at a tender age and it lasts most of their life. Being one of the most populated nations, we still refuse to impart effective reproductive education to our children. Many girls are unaware of what menstruation is. They get shocked when they see blood and wonder how to deal with it. Schools also do not impart or teach anything useful to young girls. The burden is left on parents or elder siblings. Indian families are not keen on having open conversations about complicated topics such as menstruation or sex. Young girls are even asked to live in a separate room, using different vessels and not enter temples during their menstrual cycle. The men of the family are kept unaware of these things. If you buy a sanitary napkin, the store hides it in the paper as if it’s something bad! In villages, they tell girls and women to use cloth which is not hygienic. The price of sanitary napkins is high and it is also taxed by the Government.
To deal and discuss these issues, Aditi Gupta founded Menstrupedia. It is a useful and simple resource for girls to understand the science behind menstruation. Using different forms of media such as digital and print, Aditi created a comic for girls between 9-14 years. There are a lot of myths regarding periods and the bodies of women so this tackles them in a simple and entertaining manner. An Electronics Engineer and Design student, she co-founded Menstrupedia along with her husband Tuhin Paul. Boys are also encouraged to watch videos or digital journals to help them understand this mystery. Young girls feel ashamed or embarrassed when they go through periods. Menstrupedia ensures them that this is nothing to be ashamed of. It also explains that bleeding does not make them impure or untouchable!
Within 3 years, more than 1.5 million Indian girls have been helped through the website. It emphasizes hygienic ways of dealing with menstruation. Menstrupedia also wants to build an infrastructure and system to provide reproductive education to girls and women. Visitors can purchase the comic, browse through the website and even donate. These donations are utilized for teaching menstruation and its effects in schools to young girls. The ‘Learn’ section of the website is very illuminating and discusses crucial aspects of our body, diet, and health. Visit Menstrupedia today and see the innovative digital platform for yourself.