Group defends appointment of man as period dignity officer in area of Scotland
A group in Tayside has defended its decision to appoint a man as a period dignity officer.
Jason Grant was recently hired as a period dignity officer in Tayside, sparking a heated debate across social media.
On Monday, new legislation came into force in Scotland protecting the right to free sanitary products.
The Period Products Act means councils and education providers have to make the free items available to those who need them.
Critics said the role of period dignity officer should have been given to a woman.
Nine-times Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova described the appointment as "absurd", while British actress Frances Barber said she was "fuming".
Susan Dalgety, newspaper columnist for The Scotsman, tweeted: "I have no idea why anyone thought it was a good idea to appoint a bloke as the country's first period dignity officer (terrible job title)."
In Tayside, Mr Grant is expected to lead a regional campaign across schools, colleges and wider communities to raise awareness of the new law and ensure Scottish Government funding for period provisions is allocated appropriately.
The job advert said the suitable candidate needed a "successful track record of engaging and empowering a large range of people from a diverse range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds, in particular young people who menstruate".
Mr Grant previously worked as an account manager with Imperial Tobacco and then became a personal trainer with his own business.
He was recently a wellbeing officer for Dundee and Angus College.
The 24-month role as period dignity officer has a salary of up to £36,126.
The period dignity working group, which has representatives of Dundee and Angus College, Perth College, Angus Council and Dundee City Council, said Mr Grant was “the strongest candidate for the job”.
A spokesperson for the group said: “This new role 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.
“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.”
The spokesperson said Mr Grant would not comment.
Previous reports stated Mr Grant was appointed in the “first role of its kind in Scotland”. However, various councils such as Glasgow have appointed period dignity officers.
The period dignity officer in Glasgow, who is a woman, has worked in the role for 12 months.
The Government said they were not involved in these hiring processes and did not ring-fence specific money for these positions.
A Government spokesperson said: “Subject to some statutory requirements, it is for each individual organisation to determine how to meet their duties under the Period Products Act and they have been empowered by the Act to decide through consultation what works best in their area, responding to local need and circumstances.
“Some local authorities are appointing staff to ensure they are complying with their new duties and making free products in line with the Act, ensuring there is information available on where to access the products, and also tackling issues such as the stigma that still surrounds accessing period products.”
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