Aditi Gupta: The Inspiring Story Of Menstrupedia Founder


Aditi Gupta - Founder of Menstrupedia
Tuhin Paul, Aditi Gupta and Rajat Mittal

Menstruation is a word that most people shy away from speaking about. Not only women are uncomfortable in talking about it, they are often subjected to restrictions and taboos breeding from mere ignorance. But, one woman has finally mustered up the courage to debunk the myths and voice the importance of education regarding Menstruation.

Aditi Gupta, a girl from Garhwa, Jharkhand, is shattering the myths and educating women and girls about menstrual health and hygiene through a unique initiative, Menstrupedia.

Being the change

Aditi Gupta and Tuhin Paul started Menstrupedia as a thesis project while they were studying at National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. Aditi had experienced several problems when it came to menstruation and she had understood the need of education for the same. While in a relationship with Aditi, Tuhin became more aware of the inconvenience that women faced during their periods and was shocked at the absence of proper awareness on menstruation and the appalling myths about it.

Aditi studied the extent to which menstruation awareness and information was available to the girls. They realized the flaw in the communication design and felt the need of an appropriate menstruation guide for young girls to ensure that they have proper knowledge.

Aditi says,

“We created a prototype where we explained menstruation through comic medium using characters and stories and tested it with young girls. We received a very positive response. So, one inspiration was this that what we are doing at Menstrupedia has a thorough yearlong research to back it.

Aditi Gupta - Founder of Menstrupedia

A comic was developed to test the medium. We took this comic in to schools in Mehsana, Gandhinagar , Ahmedabad and Ranchi. We received a very positive response from girls, parents as well as teachers.

After working 3 years in e-learning industry and having saved some money as an initial investment, we quit our jobs and started working full time on Menstrupedia from August 2013.”

Aditi and Tuhin were joined by Rajat Mittal, a graduate from DAIICT and a post graduate in Computers from Arizona State University in 2013, who became the third founding member. Menstrupedia website was launched in October, 2012. It is now a team of 6 people including the three co-founders, and is supported by volunteers on a pro-bono basis.

Menstrupedia offers an illustrated reference guide that provides essential information related to menstruation in a concise and easy to understand manner. The Menstrupedia Comics is available in in 7 languages and in 30 schools in India.

Menstrupedia has a questions section where people can ask questions related to menstruation or any other related topic. They also have Menstrupedia blog which is a completely collaborative space where people from all walks of life write share their stories and experience on menstruation and issue related to it.

It is trying to set straight the various myths, thus providing women a platform to learn about puberty, menstruation and hygiene.

Mentrupedia has challenged a lot of stereotypes. Its uniqueness, which is also its USP, encountered several qualms and apprehensions in the beginning.

One hardship that we initially faced was raising funds. The moment we’d say that we want to do something related to menstruation and creating an educational tool, people would tell me that there is absolutely no market or ask if we were an NGO. We had a hard time convincing investors that this is something that’s going to work. When we launched our crowd funding campaign, we only had two months of run time to survive. We had to cut our monthly budget. We moved to a one room flat to cut the costs and bring out the book. But on the other hand we received an amazing response from people and our users loved what we were doing. It was kind of a litmus test for us but finally we raised more than we wanted to raise.”, says Aditi.

A B.Tech. Graduate with a post graduate degree from National Institute of Design, Aditi has been actively working to spread awareness through Menstrupedia. In her free time, she creates craft work out of common household waste.

“This is a great creative solution to a tough cultural challenge,” Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft Founder Bill Gates and Co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said about the comic book.

Menstrupedia has partnered with Whisper India, and has led some great initiatives like the “Touch the Pickle”  movement in 4 different cities where actress like Kalki Koechlin, Neha Dhupia, Shraddha Kapoor, Mandira Bedi, Tanvi Azmi and Parineeti Chopra spoke about period taboos and the importance of breaking the silence around the subject.

Touch the Pickle campaign of Procter & Gamble won the Grand Prix for the inaugural Glass Lions for gender-equality category at the Cannes Lions International Festival.

Aditi and Tuhin got a standing ovation at the end of their talk at TEDx Bangalore.

“We want to translate the book into all regional languages. We have also collaborated with some other countries, so that we can create an ecosystem to sell out educational material in countries with similar problems. We are also coming with a store where we’d sell period bags, t-shirts, sanitary napkins and other stuff that women would need.”, says Aditi.

Menstrupedia is a crowdfunded initiative and has reached more than 14 Lakhs users through its online and offline efforts. Approximately 8000 books have been sold till now and 4000 books have been made available to girls free of cost. Aditi is also starting an online store for selling menstrual products and merchandises around feminism, gender equality and women empowerment.

Aditi believes that we as a society are capable of change and that we are slowly getting there.

There is a lot to be done and it will take time to change the mindset as a whole, but the way we are moving forward, I think it is a step in the right direction and it is very encouraging. From here, it will always move forward. To change the mindset of a family, it only takes one generation. For example, my mother would have a lot of menstrual myths but if I am aware, I will not pass the same set of myths or prejudices and restrictions to my daughter. And that takes care of it thereafter. One generation is my hope. ”

Making a difference

Aditi has not only created a unique platform for providing the much needed knowledge about a woman’s body, but she is also changing the way menstruation is looked at by people. She believes that being a woman is not a setback in life.

“A feedback that I usually get from my users is : “where was this book when I was growing up?”. This has been a motivation for us to keep doing better and better and create a better educational tool for girls to talk freely about periods.”

Aditi was named among Forbes India 30 under 30, 2014 for her work towards breaking the taboo around menstruation.

When asked what she would advise to young entrepreneurs, she said,

“Plan well in advance for raising funds to support the venture and have backup plans as well. Conduct extensive research to understand the user needs properly as this will form a strong foundation to the concept. Keep the focus on the user need rather than the product. Product is supposed to change and adapt to the user needs. Use social media to aggressively market the concept and connect with your supporters.”

Aditi says, “Every women/girl who raise their voice against menstrual taboo inspires me. 

Menstruation does not make a woman weak. It simply makes her a woman.




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