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Scots mark International Women’s Day with events

Katherine Grainger presented this year's International Women's Day Lecture. Picture: Jane Barlow

Katherine Grainger presented this year's International Women's Day Lecture. Picture: Jane Barlow

INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day has been marked in Scotland with a series of events.

The Scottish Parliament hosted a special convention, bringing together hundreds of women from diverse backgrounds.

Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger presented this year’s International Women’s Day lecture at the University of Edinburgh, while the city’s famous One o’clock Gun was fired in honour of the special day.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future.

The theme of this year’s event at Holyrood was “what women want, what women need”.

People from across the country attended the annual event, which aims to celebrate women’s achievements and increase the participation and involvement of women in influencing policy.

Those present at the event, organised by the Scottish Women’s Convention (SWC), included Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, comedian Susan Morrison and Alicia Castro, the Argentine Ambassador to the UK.

Speaking of the convention, Holyrood’s Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith said: “I was proud to stand alongside so many women today who are contributing so positively to a modern Scotland.”

She added that she was touched by tributes made at the event to Professor Ailsa McKay, an equality campaigner and economics professor who died this week.

Ms Smith said the professor “rightly deserves this recognition for the work she did to challenge discrimination and promote women’s rights”.

The MSP added: “The event has allowed us to gather together and explore the issues that matter to us. The space to do this here at Holyrood is indeed part of what women want and need.”

The Scottish Parliament has held an event to mark the day every year since 2007.

Ahead of this year’s gathering, SWC chair Angela Tolmie said that women can still face “significant obstacles” in life.

She said: “There is a feeling that in many ways, women ‘have it all’. The reality is far from that ideal.

“Significant obstacles still exist across a number of areas such as education, employment and representation in political and public life.”

At the University of Edinburgh, Olympic rower Grainger joined sports minister Shona Robison and vice chair of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games, Louise Martin, for an event to mark the international day.

As part of the event, they visited an outdoor exhibition at the university’s Old College Quad to view an exhibition of photographs. The series of pictures, entitled Inspiring, Women, Inspiring Change, will be on show until the end of this month.

Sergeant Allison Jones was selected by the Army in Scotland to fire the One o’clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle to highlight the annual day.

The 42-year-old from Coatbridge said: “International Women’s Day is a global celebration of women’s achievements. The day also focuses on the continued plight of women and girls in parts of the world where there are abuses of human rights, violence and human trafficking.

“In addition it highlights the denial of education and health care for women in many parts of the world.

“If this day can make people stop and think about women all over the world and their plight then International Women’s Day will be a wonderful success.”

 

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