A campaign by a Labour-led council to raise awareness about periods has come under fire for not mentioning women but “anyone who menstruates”.
Critics have denounced the decision not to talk about women as “crazy” and “dangerous” and accused the council of “pandering to wokeism”.
The website for Monmouthshire County Council’s Chat With Flo education campaign says it offers workshops for young people, “dads/men” and “adults who menstruate”.
The council denies that its initiative excludes women but says it wants to offer support to everyone who could benefit, including transgender people.
Its poster states: “We’re here for anyone who menstruates – to educate and support.”
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Welsh Secretary and Monmouth MP David Davies said: “I am deeply disappointed that Labour councillors couldn’t bring themselves to use ‘women’ and ‘girls’ throughout its menstruation awareness campaign. It really does beggar belief.
“Such a stance is both silly and dangerous because not including either completely undermines the campaign. We need to see Labour stop pandering to wokeism and instead 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 majority of biological women identify as such. Words like ‘mother’ and ‘women’ are meaningful and significant to us. Menstruation is one of many aspects that define your life as a woman and shape your daily experience.”
She said that most women and girls experience menstruation as the “start of their own evolution as women,” adding: “If they are not encouraged to take pride in this and find solidarity with each other how can we ever expect women and girls to overcome the stigma and challenges they face regarding menstruation?
“Language such as ‘anyone who menstruates’ encourages a disassociation between women and girls and this unique part of their biology.”
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Laura Anne Jones, the Conservative shadow education minister in the Welsh Parliament, said: “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.
“Raising awareness of menstruation is crucial and this campaign could be very important, but it’s crazy to omit any reference of girls and women, which is what Labour is doing with its current campaign.
“I would ask them add in women and girls into their campaign literature and events with immediate effect. It’s 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.”
A spokesperson for Monmouthshire County Council said: “Monmouthshire County Council’s Chat With Flo period dignity campaign is designed to be inclusive as we want to offer support and information to everyone who would find it useful. Chat With Flo is for anyone who menstruates – this being girls, women and also transgender people.
“This does not exclude women and girls. Our workshops in schools reinforces this inclusivity, as does the Chat With Flo presence at events.
“Our aim to is reach out to offer support, advice about sustainable products and supply free products where needed to as many as possible and remove some of the stigma traditional associated with periods.”
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