Aditi Gupta, a renowned Indian author and the co-founder of Menstrupedia Comic, has been instrumental in challenging societal taboos and promoting awareness about menstruation.
Her journey from an engineering graduate to a passionate advocate for menstrual hygiene and education is not just inspirational but also vital in a country like India, where menstrual stigma and myths persist.
Aditi Gupta was born in Garhwa, Jharkhand, India. She pursued her post-graduate studies in new media design at the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.
It was during her time at NID that she met her future husband, Tuhin Paul, and embarked on a journey that would change the way people perceive menstruation in India.
One of the driving factors behind Aditi's mission was the realisation that, despite being highly educated, many people remained unaware of the intricacies of menstruation.
Even she herself had her first menstruation at the age of 12 but was taught about it in school at the age of 15, which is a common experience for many girls in India.
She had to adhere to numerous age-old traditions, such as not being allowed to enter places of worship, sit on other people's beds, and wash and dry her clothes separately. Moreover, she was forbidden from using the available sanitary napkins as it was considered a threat to her family's honour.
Aditi Gupta's personal experiences and observations compelled her to take action. She spent a year conducting in-depth research on menstruation, collecting information from doctors and girls. This research laid the foundation for her groundbreaking initiative, Menstrupedia.
In November 2012, Aditi and her husband, Tuhin Paul, founded Menstrupedia as a thesis project during their time at NID, Ahmedabad.
The platform initially started as a website and has since evolved into an informative platform that educates pre-teens and teenagers about puberty, sexuality, and menstruation.
Menstrupedia has been a game-changer in India and beyond, providing a user-friendly guide to menstruation, hygiene, and puberty while dismantling myths associated with them.
The website hosts an array of comic books, blogs, a Q&A section, and a Learn section. Notably, Menstrupedia's comics are available in fourteen languages and have reached more than 18 countries.
Aditi Gupta has been at the forefront of ensuring that the knowledge Menstrupedia offers reaches the masses. She has successfully implemented Menstrupedia's materials in schools across five states in North India.
These comic books have been embraced by students, parents, and teachers, breaking the silence surrounding menstruation and empowering young individuals.
In collaboration with Whisper India, Aditi Gupta and Menstrupedia have initiated several campaigns, including the "Touch the Pickle" movement.
This movement aimed to shatter the myths and taboos surrounding menstruation and has involved celebrities such as Shraddha Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Kalki Koechlin, Neha Dhupia, and Mandira Bedi.
Aditi Gupta's remarkable work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. In 2014, she was recognised in the Forbes India 30 Under 30 list, a testament to her influence and her unwavering commitment to menstrual hygiene and education.
Today, Menstrupedia draws around one lakh visitors every month, demonstrating the enormous impact it has made in raising awareness about menstruation.
Aditi's comic books are not only used in schools but have also been embraced by NGOs like Protsahan, Munshi Jagannath Bhagwan Smriti Sansthan, Instincts, Kanha, and even two Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh.
Aditi Gupta's story serves as a beacon of hope for individuals worldwide who are advocating for change and fighting against stigma.
Her efforts through Menstrupedia have not only transformed the way menstruation is perceived but also provided young girls and boys with the knowledge and understanding they deserve.
Aditi's journey from a small town in India to the global stage is a testament to the power of one person's determination to make a difference, one comic book at a time.