Women on Wings, Simavi and Rutgers start Dutch campaign on menstruation in India

From 26 May till 8 June the campaign ‘1WEEKEXTRA’ takes place in the Netherlands. With this campaign Rutgers, Simavi and Women on Wings ask attention for their joint program in India that aims to improve the situation of menstruating girls and women in Bihar in the next three years. Next to this, it will create jobs for women and raise awareness amongst boys and men.

One week extra to school or work
Maria van der Heijden, Managing co-founder Women on Wings: “Knowledge about menstrual hygiene and availability of sanitary pads will make a substantial difference to the daily lives and future of girls and women in rural areas in India. They are often not able to take part in daily life during their monthly period. Instead of 4 weeks per month, they can only participate 3 weeks. 1WeekExtra enables girls and women in Bihar to have this fourth week. So they can go to school, go to work and develop themselves.” In this video, Maria shares her views (in Dutch).

Need for change
The campaign 1WeekExtra targets the group of girls and women in the Netherlands between 18 and 49 years to raise awareness about the issues in India about menstrual hygiene. The program in India takes place in two districts in the state of Bihar. In total 1.320.000 girls and women between the age of 12 and 49 years live here. There is a real need for change: 10% of the women in India believe that menstruation is a disease, 87% of the girls are completely unprepared when they have their first period, 28% of the girls do not attend school during their period due to lack of facilities and materials.

Creating awareness and sustainable jobs
The program in India educates girls and women about menstrual hygiene through information and training sessions with the help of local female role models. In addition, a knowledge center and a sustainable sales and distribution network of sanitary pads will be established, the latter generating income for women. The ultimate goal of the program in India is to inform 6,60,000 girls and women in Bihar to realize a better menstrual hygiene, give access to 1,65,000 girls and women to affordable sanitary pads via a local distribution network with female entrepreneurs, give 815 women work in that network and raise awareness among 2,00,000 boys and men about the importance of menstruation and menstrual hygiene.

What would you do with 1 week extra?
1WeekExtra activates girls and women in the Netherlands to give their own interpretation on the question ‘what would you do with 1 week extra?’