Scotland’s first ever period dignity officer role scrapped after appointment of man kicks up storm
Former tennis star Martina Navratilova called it “absurd” to recruit a man for the women-centric post. Representative image (iStock)
Local authorities in a Scottish region have discontinued a period dignity officer role within weeks of controversially appointing a man for the job.
A group of colleges and local councils in Tayside had last month announced that Jason Grant had been hired to handle the distribution of free period products to schools and colleges. The role with an annual salary between £33,153 and £36,126 also involved discussing menopause issues.
However, the appointment of a man triggered a massive storm on social media with former tennis star Martina Navratilova calling the group’s move “absurd”.
Following the backlash, the group announced that the role was scrapped, citing “threats and abuse”.
“It is regrettable that given the threats and abuse levelled at individuals in recent weeks, the period dignity regional lead officer role will not continue”, a spokeswoman for the group told The Telegraph.
She, however, asserted that support would continue for the colleagues and students who were “subjected to personal attack” as their safety and wellbeing were of “paramount importance”.
“The group’s joint work to provide free period products is rooted in kindness,” she said and added, “we, therefore, ask that the same spirit of kindness is extended to those involved and that their privacy is respected.”
The appointment of Grant had followed the passage of a new Scottish law providing women and girls with free access to menstrual products. The legislation also stipulates that councils and education settings must have a period dignity officer.
Grant, who previously worked as a student wellbeing officer at a local college, fuelled the controversy around his appointment by saying he wanted to make sure people “of any gender” knew about the availability of period products.
Opponents slammed his recruitment as “institutionalised mansplaining”, saying young girls would not like to discuss periods with a man.
It was “f**king ridiculous”, Navratilova said of the appointment.
“Have we ever tried to explain to men how to shave or how to take care of their prostate or whatever?!? This is absurd,” she tweeted last month.
Local authorities in Dundee and Angus were involved in the appointment but the party’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford did not approve of it.
“As a principle, it would be far better that women are in these posts rather than anyone else,” he told The Telegraph.