Major golf event will offer free sanitary products to all spectators

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 20, 2019 17:47

Next month’s Solheim Cup, the women’s version of the Ryder Cup in which Europe take on the USA, will be the first major golf competition to tackle period poverty and it will feature an all-female police command structure.

Female fans at the event at Gleneagles will find that sanitary products are accessible and completely free of charge.

The event will see the top female golfers from Europe and the USA face each other in team competition on Gleneagles’ PGA Centenary Course from September 9-15. Around 100,000 spectators are expected to be at the venue during that week.

The news comes as the On the Ball campaign has led the fight for free period products at football grounds. Having started their campaign at Scottish champions, Celtic, 91 clubs – including ones in England, Wales, Ireland, Germany, Brazil and the United States, are now On the Ball.

The group, which comprises of three female fans, Orlaith Duffy, Mikaela McKinley and Erin Slaven, have warmly welcomed the move by Solheim Cup organisers.

The On The Ball group

“We are delighted to see that the Solheim Cup team has made the decision to provide free period products for fans,” said a spokesperson for the campaign. “It is the biggest competition in the world in women’s golf and it’s fitting that they are leading the way in the sport.

“We’re delighted that this is happening this year – here, in our home country, at Gleneagles. We faced opposition when we started our campaign but people now understand the impact lack of accessibility to period products can have on womens’ lives and in particular experiences at sporting events. Period products are just as important as toilet roll and soap so it’s fantastic to see clubs and now such prestigious competitions make them readily available for fans.

“Sport has always been a way of breaking down barriers and by providing a truly inclusive environment for women, it is again leading the way on this issue. We hope this move will inspire other sports and competitions to consider making the same simple, forward-thinking change!”

Scotland’s communities secretary Aileen Campbell added: “The Solheim Cup is one of the most prestigious events in women’s sport and it’s fantastic it is leading the way in providing free period products during the event.

“It is important that high-profile sporting events support equality and remove the stigma surrounding periods.

“The Solheim Cup team joins a number of organisations across the third, private and public sectors who are taking action to make period products available for free to those who need them.”

Meanwhile, the tournament will also become the first ever major event in Scotland to feature an all-female police command structure.

Chief Superintendents Sharon Milton and Suzie Mertes, and Superintendent Maggie Pettigrew, will take control of safety proceedings.

Police Scotland provides policing support to major events and the role of the command team is to oversee the policing response, ultimately to ensure public safety.

All three officers are vastly experienced in commander roles at major events in Scotland.

In 2005, Chief Superintendent Milton policed the G8 Summit at Gleneagles while more recently, she was Gold Commander at the Women’s Tour of Scotland cycling event.

Chief Superintendent Mertes was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in 2018 and has held numerous commander roles at major events, including T in the Park and the Ryder Cup, while Superintendent Pettigrew was also a commander at the Ryder Cup in 2014 and the Open.

Sharon Milton said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles this year and it is fantastic to have a strong team, including for the first time we believe a command team made up of female officers, on hand to provide policing support to this major event.

“This is a great event for the area and we have been working closely with the event organisers and our partners to ensure golf lovers, their friends, and families have a wonderful experience at the championship.”

Paul Bush, director of events at Visit Scotland, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming three highly-respected officers to Gleneagles as the command team for the Solheim Cup, and it is hugely positive that the command is entirely female.

“We are confident the command team will help us deliver a safe and memorable tournament for everyone who attends the event next month, and together we’ll further showcase Scotland’s credentials as the perfect stage for major events.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir August 20, 2019 17:47
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  1. Philip Arlington August 23, 20:09

    Handing out free stuff to middle class Westerners does not help people living in absolute poverty. It is narcissistic virtue signalling and self-aggrandisement.

    As for the police, why should any man thinking of joining the force have any confidence that equal opportunities apply to him too when the people at the top are celebrated by the media for promoting only women even though there are now loads of women at the top? Will it still be a good thing to have all female leadership at an event if at some perhaps not very distant future date only a small minority of officers in the senior ranks are male?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Aileen August 21, 12:02

    Well done Mikaela M.!!

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