THE first minister, a former advocate general and the national poet are among ten prominent female Scots who have been named in a new roll of honour unveiled to mark International Women’s Day.
Nicola Sturgeon joins Dame Elish Angiolini and Scots Makar Liz Lochhead as inaugural inductees to the Saltire Society’s Outstanding Women of Scotland list, which celebrates those who have contributed something “truly special” to the country’s culture and heritage.
Veteran SNP politician Winnie Ewing, poet and novelist Jackie Kay and Edinburgh Napier University creative writing professor Bashabi Fraser were also honoured.
Songwriter Karine Polwart, former president of Industrial Tribunals Scotland Doris Littlejohn, singer and writer Anne Lorne Gillies and Strathclyde University engineering professor Rebecca Lunn complete the list. The ten were chosen after nominations by the public.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I am very honoured to have been nominated. I hope that the achievements of all those featured on this list will inspire many more Scottish women, from across all walks of life, to fulfil their ambitions.
“Being First Minister is a big responsibility and I am determined to use that position to help further the ability of other women to get on and make a difference.”
Poet and dramatist Lochhead, was unable to attend yesterday’s ceremony, held at Glasgow Women’s Library, but said she was “surprised and honoured” to be included in the list.
She said: “I am very glad that the Saltire Society wants to acknowledge the huge contribution to arts, culture and life in Scotland made by those people amongst whom I am out and loud and proud and self-identify myself with as similarly gendered.
“I look forward to a time when it will go without saying that both men and women have equal prominence in all areas and such special recognitions will be unnecessary.”
The Saltire Society is a charitable organisation that was set up in 1936 with the aim of improving the quality of life in Scotland and promoting the country as a creative force in Europe.
The late Professor Ailsa McKay, a leading feminist economist who died in 2014, also received a special mention at yesterday’s event. She was the overwhelming winner of a special social media poll organised by the society last year.
Saltire Society council member Susan Garnsworthy said: “Over the centuries the contribution of Scotland’s women to the cultural life of this country has been truly remarkable.”
She said it was “incredibly fitting” to have the First Minister as one of the first inductees.
“She is a shining example not only of an outstanding woman of Scotland but also a woman who ‘made it happen’ by becoming the first female First Minister for Scotland.
“All ten of this year’s inductees have contributed something truly special to Scotland’s culture and heritage and I am delighted that we have been able to honour their many and varied achievements to date.”
Prof Lunn said: “Historically, Scotland’s engineers have had a major impact on the global economy and have helped shape Scotland’s cultural heritage. A growing number of Scotland’s inspirational young engineers are women.”
She said her inclusion recognises the “vitally important” role woman engineers have to play in the “science and engineering future of the nation”.
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