Madhavi Jadhav – a petroleum engineer by profession but a changemaker by choice. She quit her cushy job as an engineer to address a social issue, which is a taboo in Indian society.
30-year-old Madhavi from Pune has chosen to remove the stigma associated with having open discussions on puberty related issues like periods, condoms and sex.
When she was eight, an advertisement in the TV about sanitary napkins nagged her inquisition and when she asked her mother as to what it is, her mother snapped at her saying she will understand it all at the right age. But what was the right age?
Her mother couldn’t explain it that day as she had never used one for herself. Nor could she explain a curious little girl, as to why she got her periods. “I was asked to seek the answers in my biology textbook. Talking about them was a taboo,” she recounts.
Madhavi soon understood that hesitation to about periods exists even today which made her take a call. She resigned from her job after a casual talk with her niece and went ahead to set up her portal, www.thatmate.org, which talks about things that generally parents don’t want to talk about. That Mate now works towards busting myths about sex, periods, pregnancy and more by collaborating with schools, NGOs and government bodies by conducting workshops for young adults.
Madhavi Jadhav is soon to launch a trilingual comic book –Growing Up, which aims to eliminate taboos associated with puberty and sex education, in December. The comic book will be available in three languages – Marathi, Hindi, and English. She also plans to bring out the second edition of this book, which will talk about sexual abuse.
The 35-page comic book has relatable characters, talking about periods, pregnancy, periods and more.
“I think, it becomes a handbook for all those kids, who can’t have their doubts cleared by their parents. Sadly enough, even today, sex is a must-not-named word. We need to educate our children about it all, as it eventually boils down to the issue of their safety. Every day at least eight cases of sexual abuse are reported, and this data is of child abuse, that we are talking of.” She says.
Though she has faced a lot of criticism from relatives. But then she also says that she had received enough accolades from a lot of people she has worked with. She has also given a talk at TEDx PICT (Pune) which she says is a huge booster to her morale.
Madhavi Jadhav surely knows that her journey won’t be a smooth sail but she’s all geared up to punch in the face of taboos and myths