RECRUITERS in Tayside have defended their decision to appoint a man to be a "Period Dignity officer", saying he "was the strongest candidate."

The Period Dignity Working Group, which comprises Dundee and Angus College, Angus Council, Dundee City Council and Perth College, has come under fire for the appointment of Jason Grant to the £36,000 role. 

Tennis star Martina Navratilova described it as “f*****g ridiculous.”

Writer Susan Dalgety said it was "institutionalised mansplaining."

The SNP's Westminster leader Ian Blackford also criticised the decision.

Details of the appointment were first shared in the Courier yesterday, the same day that the new legislation came into force making Scotland the first country in the world to protect the right to free period products in law.

According to the recruitment advert, the post aims to “coordinate and streamline the approach to Period Dignity across Perth & Kinross, Dundee and Angus.” 

The officer's duties include “engaging with staff, partners, communities and young people in developing and delivering a campaign that stretches across our regions, raising awareness and understanding of the Period Product Act and the expanse of work happening in our respective communities.”

Recruiters were looking for someone with “energy, enthusiasm and excellent interpersonal skills” with a 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.” 

In the Courier, Mr Grant said: “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.”

Responding to the paper's story, Ms Dalgety tweeted: “Wonder if he’s ever experienced the horror of a blood stained dress in public, or the gut-wrenching fear of a missed period? No, didn’t think so.”

“I don’t disagree that boys should be taught more about menstruation, but appointing a bloke as the first period dignity officer is institutionalised mansplaining,” she added.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford told Sky News it would have been better had a women been given the job. 

He said: “I think it is important that we do have officers in place to ensure that women are supported as much as they should be.

“I think it is important we get the policy right, that we implement it, and that as a principle it would be far better that women are in these posts rather than anyone else.” 

A spokesperson for the Period Dignity Working Group defended Mr Grant's appointment: “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.”

They also made clear that Mr Grant will not be giving any interviews.