A Menstruation campaign to raise awareness of periods has been slammed for “erasing” women and girls.
Labour-run Monmouthshire County Council is coming under fire after failing to mention women but instead offering support to “anyone who menstruates”.
Monmouth MP David Davies accused the council of taking its desire to be ‘inclusive’ a step too far by “alienating and silencing” women.
The Chat with Flo period dignity initiative is holding workshops across the county aimed at young people (school age), “dads/men” and “adults who menstruate”.
A poster states: “We’re here for anyone who menstruates – to educate and support.”
Mr Davies said the decision not to talk about women was “dangerous”.
He said: “While I welcome the principle behind this menstruation awareness campaign, I am deeply disappointed that Labour councillors couldn’t bring themselves to use ‘women’ and ‘girls’. It really does beggar belief.
“Such a stance is both silly and dangerous because not including either completely undermines the aims of the campaign. By referring to menstruating females as young people, it seems the Labour-run council is content with erasing femininity and women for inclusivity.
“We need to see Labour support efforts to give women and girls a voice, not seek to silence them.”
A working mum from Monmouthshire, who did not wish to be named, said the failure to mention women and girls “excludes the very audience” the campaign is trying to support.
“I support the aims of the Period Proud Wales Action Plan from which this campaign appears to stem, some of which are to raise awareness regarding period health, provide education and support and to reduce the stigma around periods. This is needed to support women and girls in Wales,” she said.
“However, I am concerned that in an effort to use 'inclusive language', the relevance of the campaign to women and girls is overlooked and the aims of the campaign itself are undermined.
“I believe this campaign has taken the desire to be 'inclusive' a step too far and the incorrect and misleading language used could in fact lead to confusion. Might a young boy question whether he will one day menstruate? Might it alienate women and girls from engaging with the subject because they don't feel included as part of the conversation or worse still too afraid to express menstruation as an important part of their own biology and development as women?”
Laura Anne Jones MS, Conservative shadow education minister in the Welsh Parliament, urged the council to add women and girls into campaign literature “with immediate effect”.
“It is extremely disappointing that Monmouthshire County Council’s campaign has not mentioned women and girls in their menstruation campaign – when it’s women and girls who will be menstruating,” she said.
“Raising awareness of menstruation is crucial and this campaign could be very important. But it is crazy to omit any reference of women and girls, which is what Labour is doing with its current campaign.
“I would ask them to add women and girls into their campaign literature and events with immediate effect. It is imperative when talking about women’s health matters that politicians of all persuasions stick to biological facts and to not use language that erases women.”