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The Red Revolution by Ira Guha

  • June 3, 2024
  • 5 min read
The Red Revolution by Ira Guha

Entrepreneur, Asan – Company focused on providing affordable and sustainable menstrual products.

Ira Guha, Founder of Asan, has assisted over 15,000 women in 60 villages to switch to menstrual cups, promoting proper hygiene and sustainability. Her efforts have significantly improved menstrual health and hygiene practices.

Menstruation is still a taboo topic in today’s society, especially in rural areas where women who have their period are often discriminated against and treated like outcasts; witnessing this, Ira Guha started a revolution that helped hundreds of thousands of women from the rural areas of India. Her story made from threads of determination, compassion, and a commitment to empower has birthed Asan – a menstrual cup. This is not just a business; it’s a movement”. And the more hands that are on deck, the louder we can speak as one.

Ira Guha: Ultimate Vision behind Asan!!


“I recall the faded voices, the secretive mutterings, and the quiet imprecations that we wear what would not give us away,”

 Ira holds a degree in Politics from Cambridge University and a Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School. She has been working at a consulting firm in London. It was during a home visit together with her family members and friends that Guha jumped to actualization when discussing issues raised by the powerful movie known as “Padman”

However, her defining moment was when she overheard her cook complaining of being inflicted with rashes as a result of using substandard sanitary pads.

It was when she introduced the menstrual cups to her cook, a product she had been using for herself in the UK, that she saw their positive effect in her life. This, along with her sense of memory of developing discomfort at a state-level basketball match in Chhattisgarh, where she was compelled to keep the pad in her bag because of the lack of better facilities to dispose of such products, made her determined to bring the change.

She expresses, “Seeing the discomfort and indignity she had to bear for such a long time for no reason but the lack of a proper product made me change — for good”.

The Struggles for Menstrual Hygiene!

“I would think of so many women who could benefit from this solution, and that gave me the drive to continue.”

Upon chatting with women around her and from her own experience, she came up with The Asan Cup; the medical-grade silicone menstrual cup that aims to provide comfort, hygiene, and liberation for women.

She had to overcome a number of obstacles to implement it. As part of her struggles, she had to look for funding, fight cultural practices that confined women to the home, and deal with society to accept a product that was against the normal practice of menstrual hygiene.

Even Guha had some moments of doubt about whether she was capable of making the right change for Tendulkar’s team. Guha used her knowledge and contacts to help update the Asan Cup by hiring an engineer at Harvard Innovation Lab to work on improving the design and production of the cup.


Following Freedom- Coming up with The Asan Cup

“We didn’t merely bring a product into existence; we infused a positive change in the lives of women through designing a solution for their menstrual cycles.”

“Guha and her team invested significant effort and creativity to guarantee a quality product that is safe, comfortable, and efficient.” The creation of the Asan Cup was a true passion born of close attention to the fine nuances of the game. They engaged in research and experimentation for the product and involved women of different groups to enjoy using the cup without worrying about side effects.

“It wasn’t just about providing the cups; it was about inspiring change, talking about women and not cups,” Guha expresses, the light of the fervor of her mission in her eyes.

This approach not only helped in propagating the product but also empowered the women they were targeting by providing them with access to affordable menstrual products eliminating the exploitation and stigmatization that characterized the conversation around the topic.

Stepping Stones

“That cup represents hope for every woman and a strong, empowered life no longer bound by embarrassment or fear of having her period”

Asan has been characterized by so many achievements. Starting from the moment when Asan delivered the first few hundred menstrual cups and up to the present day when it provided 15,000 free menstrual cups for women in need, Asan has been recognized and appreciated by other organisations and individuals that share the attitude towards the importance of menstrual products.

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A post shared by Asan (@asancup)

Guha and her team have also been increasingly working towards expanding Asan’s capacity and its range of menstrual cups and educational programs. They are partnering with local organizations, non-governmental organizations, and governmental departments and bodies so that together, they can extend their influence to the targeted areas.

Guha was also among the three Indian recipients of the prestigious Cartier Women’s Initiative Fellowship, which recognizes women entrepreneurs who are solving global challenges and provides them with financial support and access to a network of resources to help scale their impact.

“We will not stop until we can all women regardless of their status embrace their menses as a natural biological process which they should be proud of.”

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