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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Scotland council hires man as period dignity officer, stirring criticism

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Scotland made historical past this week when it grew to become the primary nation to supply free pads, tampons and different interval merchandise nationwide. However now it’s already on the middle of fierce criticism — after a crew of native councils close to the capital Edinburgh employed a person as the world’s first “interval dignity officer.”

The councils and faculties within the Tay Cities area chosen Jason Grant — a former tobacco salesman and health coach — to lift consciousness across the new regulation and promote entry to free menstrual merchandise at faculties and within the communities. Candidates ought to have “a profitable observe document of participating and empowering a wide variety of individuals … particularly, younger individuals who menstruate,” the job description mentioned.

In a world first, Scotland gives tampons and pads without spending a dime

Grant’s hiring was truly introduced final week — however the firestorm round his appointment didn’t begin till after the regulation went into impact on Tuesday, drawing world consideration.

Having a person as a interval dignity officer is “ridiculous,” world tennis star Martina Navratilova mentioned on Twitter.

Scottish columnist Susan Dalgety mentioned: “Marvel if he’s ever skilled the horror of a blood stained gown in public, or the gut-wrenching concern of a missed interval? No, didn’t assume so.”

In an interview with the native Courier newspaper earlier this week, Grant mentioned that he knew his hiring would seize headlines however that he needed to be seen “as a optimistic male position mannequin.”

“For me it’s about driving the dialogue from a younger age so girls and boys are included and there’s no hiding it away as a result of that retains it as a taboo subject,” he mentioned.

Scotland’s Parliament authorized laws to make menstrual merchandise free and out there in public areas in 2020, constructing on an current coverage that supplied free pads and tampons at faculties and universities. The brand new regulation will develop entry to incorporate locations similar to youth golf equipment, pharmacies and group facilities.

The insurance policies are a part of a world motion to eradicate “interval poverty,” a time period used to explain the “wrestle many low-income girls and ladies face whereas making an attempt to afford menstrual merchandise,” based on the United Nations Inhabitants Fund.

“The time period additionally refers back to the elevated financial vulnerability girls and ladies face due the monetary burden posed by menstrual provides. These embrace not solely menstrual pads and tampons, but in addition associated prices similar to ache medicine and underwear,” the U.N. company says.

A latest research discovered that 1 in 4 girls enrolled in Scottish instructional establishments had hassle accessing menstrual merchandise earlier than they have been free.

On Tuesday, Ian Blackford, chief of the Scottish Nationwide Get together, informed Sky Information that having a lady in Grant’s place could be “much better,” including that the transfer to make interval merchandise free is a coverage of which all Scots needs to be proud.

Monica Lennon, a member of the Labour Get together answerable for driving the four-year marketing campaign on menstrual fairness, struck a extra diplomatic tone, saying, “there’s a job for males taking up management roles and contributing to optimistic and respectful conversations while guaranteeing that the voices of ladies, ladies and individuals who menstruate are by no means crowded out,” Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported.

“I believe being a person will assist me break down boundaries, cut back stigma and encourage extra open discussions,” Grant mentioned in a information launch asserting his appointment.

“It’s time to normalize these subjects and get actual across the topic,” he mentioned.

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