Period officer role scrapped after backlash over appointment of man

Dundee and Angus College announced the role will not continue, alleging 'threats and abuse' to be the primary reason.

Period dignity officer role for Tayside scrapped following backlash after man appointed into role iStock/Supplied

The post for period dignity officer in the Tayside region has been scrapped following “threats and abuse” over the controversial appointment of a man to the role.

Scotland recently became the first country in the world to introduce a legal requirement for the provision of period products free of charge to those who need them.

The Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021 also makes it a legal requirement for local authorities and educational settings to employ a period dignity officer.

For the Tayside region, Dundee resident Jason Grant was appointed to the role in a move branded “ridiculous”, with many zeroing in on the need to employ women in positions such as this.

Following major backlash, which saw the likes of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, tennis icon Martina Navratilova and actress Frances Barber criticise the appointment, the role has now been axed.

Dundee and Angus College announced the role will not continue in a statement released on Tuesday, alleging “threats and abuse” to be the primary reason.

It added that those who were subjected to “personal attacks” will be safeguarded by the group, and asked the public to extend the “same spirit of kindness” to everyone involved.

A spokesperson for the Tayside Period Dignity Working Group said: “The partners involved in the Period Dignity Working Group are committed to alleviating period poverty in Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross.

The statement continued: “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.

“The working group is now looking closely at alternative ways to deliver these vital services in line with the legal requirements of the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Act 2021.

“Meanwhile, support will continue to be provided to the colleagues and students who have been subjected to personal attack.

“Their safety and wellbeing is of paramount importance. The group’s joint work to provide free period products is rooted in kindness.

“We therefore ask that the same spirit of kindness is extended to those involved, and that their privacy is respected.”

The role was advertised online with a salary between £33,153 and £36,126 a year on a fixed term contract until 2024.

Legislation to offer free period products was proposed by Labour MSP Monica Lennon and it was unanimously backed in the Scottish Parliament in 2020.

At the time of his appointment, Mr Grant stated that he would work to “break down barriers, reduce stigma and encourage more open discussions” in the role.

He said: “Too many women and families cannot afford to buy period products, so this new legislation is both transformational and long-overdue.

“With our partners, we will be looking at fine-tuning the existing distribution and availability of products, including sustainable options and even plan performing art workshops in schools and colleges to improve education around periods.”

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