Scotland recently made a huge move to bring awareness and resources to women’s health issues—including menopause. At first blush, it sounds great. But a snag in the execution made a lot of people unhappy.
Scotland’s Period Products Act is a groundbreaking piece of legislation to educate the public to normalize conversations about menstruation and menopause, plus provide sanitary products free of charge.
The legislation also created the position of “period dignity officer” to promote and be the face of the new program. And this is where the criticisms begin: Scotland’s first period dignity officer is a man named Jason Grant.
As a result—and to the surprise of no one—the public, along with several celebrities, criticized the move. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was particularly vocal.
She later added, “Does he menstruate? I somehow doubt it.”
Caution: Mansplaining Ahead
Grant is a former personal trainer and tobacco salesman who now has the job of promoting access to free sanitary products in schools and colleges across the Scottish Tay region. His job description also includes discussing issues around periods and menopause. The question is: why?
Grant and Scottish officials say having a man in the position will help break down barriers, reduce stigma, encourage more open discussions, and normalize topics like menstruation and menopause.
Unfortunately, it also sounds a lot like mansplaining.
Susan Dalgety, a columnist for The Scotsman, told Sky News, “it’s great that Scotland is the first country in the world to offer free period products…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.”
Grant also chose an unfortunate shirt to wear for his press photos.
“Jason has said being a man will help him reduce stigma and that it is time to normalize topics like menstruation and menopause,” Dalgety added. “Periods are normal life for women, we don’t need some bloke in a blood red polo shirt raising our awareness.”
Most girls don’t feel comfortable talking about their periods with male friends or their fathers, Dr. Beth Wallace pointed out. So, why would they put a man in charge of this conversation?
The organization was created to ensure every woman had access to free sanitary products and bring awareness to menopause, and we are pumped that Scotland is leading the charge. But, it should be a team of women working on this project. Placing a man in charge is simply tone-deaf.