Critics included former tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who said: “This is just f****** ridiculous. Have we ever tried to explain to men how to shave or how to take care of their prostate or whatever?!? This is absurd.”
Scotland correspondent @jamesmatthewsky
Tuesday 16 August 2022 15:20, UK
The appointment of a man as Scotland’s first “period dignity officer” has provoked widespread criticism.
Critics say the job should have gone to a woman and former tennis star Martina Navratilova has labelled the appointment of Jason Grant “f****** ridiculous”.
Mr Grant, a former personal trainer, has been given the job of promoting access to free sanitary products in schools and colleges across the Tay region.
The role also includes discussing issues around the menopause.
His appointment comes as Scotland becomes the first country in the world to introduce a law to widen access, free of charge, to sanitary products.
The Scottish Government’s Period Products Act means that councils and places of education must make items, such as tampons, free to people who need them
Mr Grant’s job title is Period Dignity Regional Lead Officer, the first role of its kind in Scotland.
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News of his appointment has prompted criticism on social media and elsewhere.
Critics included former tennis champion Martina Navratilova, who reacted on Twitter, posting: “This is just f****** ridiculous.”
She added: “Have we ever tried to explain to men how to shave or how to take care of their prostate or whatever?!? This is absurd.”
Susan Dalgety, a feminist and columnist for The Scotsman newspaper, told Sky News: “It’s great that Scotland is the first country in the world to offer free period products – thanks largely to the efforts of Monica Lennon, a Labour MSP who made tackling period poverty her mission.
“But I am astonished that a man has been appointed to be lead on “period dignity” in Tayside. It takes mansplaining to a new level.
“Jason has said being a man will help him reduce stigma and that it is time to normalise topics like menstruation and menopause.
“Periods are normal life for women, we don’t need some bloke in a blood red polo-shirt raising our awareness.”
According to a press release from Grainger Public Relations, Mr Grant will be employed by a “project team” comprising Dundee and Angus College, Perth College, Angus Council and Dundee City Council. Both councils are SNP-led.
SNP’s Ian Blackford: A woman would be far better
When asked about Mr Grant’s appointment in an interview with Sky News, the SNP’s leader at Westminster, Ian Blackford MP, said he favoured having a woman in the role of period dignity officer.
He said: “I think it’s important that we get the policy right, I think it’s important that we implement it and I would have thought, as a principle, it would be far better that women are in these posts than anyone else.
“It’s a policy that we should all be proud of. At the end of the day, I think there should be a priority of having women in place in these posts.”
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In the wake of the controversy, Jason Grant’s PR representatives said he wasn’t available for interview.
In an earlier statement announcing his two-year appointment, he was quoted as saying: “I think being a man will help me to break down barriers, reduce stigma and encourage more open discussions.
“Although affecting women directly, periods are an issue for everyone.
“We’ll also raise awareness of the menopause which, although a natural process for women, has wider repercussions in the world of work and family.
“It’s time to normalise these topics and get real around the subject.
“I believe I can make progress by proving this isn’t just a female topic, encouraging conversations across all genders and educating and engaging new audiences.”
The same PR company has subsequently issued a press release that states: “This new role, funded by the Scottish Government, was created to promote and implement new legislation, specifically focused on project management.”
“The role builds on some fantastic work which has been gathering speed across the Tay region for several years, led by a passionate group of people of all genders, ages and backgrounds.
“With all partners in the working group equal opportunities employers, Jason was the strongest candidate.
“By changing the culture, encouraging debate and removing the stigma around periods, we look forward to supporting the delivery of this important work across the region.”