Imagine having to hide the fact that you are menstruating because society saw it as a taboo and your family, even the women felt the subject was forbidden.
Young women are being told to not sit on a sofa, a bed & even being told to wash their sheets regardless of a stain but solely on the account of being on their period.
Aditi Gupta was one of these women. “When I got my first periods, I was told to keep it a secret from others — even from my father and brother. Later when this chapter appeared in our textbooks, our biology teacher skipped the subject,” Gupta explained in her TED Talk, A Taboo-Free Way to Talk About Periods.
12% of women in India had access to proper hygienic sanitary napkins. Leaving Gupta and other girls to care for themselves, which caused many like herself to suffer from rashes and infections since no one provided proper health education on the subject.
It wasn’t until she met her husband who changed her perspective on periods. “He was astonished to know that girls get painful cramps and we bleed every month,” Gupta. This then created him to grow even more curious and do research on the subject. “When he shared his findings with me, I realized how little I knew about menstruation myself. And many of my beliefs actually turned out to be myths,” Gupta shared.
“So school does not teach girls about periods, parents don’t talk about it. Where do the girls go?” Gupta & her husband decided to take action. “We decided to create a comic book, where the cartoon characters would enact these stories and educate girls about menstruation in a fun and engaging way.”
When Gupta released the prototype for this many girls found to love the book! “Parents and teachers were comfortable in talking about periods to young girls using the book, and sometimes even boys were interested in reading it.”
“We made the final version of the book, called Menstrupedia Comic and launched in September last year,” Gupta explained and now “so far, more than 4,000 girls have been educated by using the book in India and 10 different countries.”
Gupta has removed the stigma around talking about menstruation. Her wishes are, “I dream of a future where menstruation is not a curse, not a disease, but a welcoming change in a girl’s life.”