Project to put neglected Scottish heroines on map

Minnie the Minx: The Beano character's Dundee statue. Picture: Contributed
Minnie the Minx: The Beano character's Dundee statue. Picture: Contributed
Share this article
Have your say

IT may be the first map ever to feature Minnie the Minx, Anne Frank and Olympic gold medallist Katherine Grainger.

A project pioneered by Women’s History Scotland and the Glasgow Women’s ­library is attempting to record memorials to women across Scotland.

It is appealing to the public to help find lost or forgotten plaques, statues and street names that commemorate women who have contributed to civic society.

More than 300 memorials have already been logged on the Mapping Memorials to Women in Scotland website, stretching from the Shetland Islands to Dumfries and from Frank, the Jewish girl who wrote her famous diary while in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam during the Second World War, to 17th-century “witches”. The memorial stone to Frank is in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh.

Organisers are currently holding training sessions to encourage more people to ­enter their own discoveries into the database.

Some of those already recorded on the map include the Minnie the Minx statue in Dundee – home of DC Thomson, publisher of The Beano comic – a plaque to Scottish artist Elizabeth Blackadder at Edinburgh City Chambers, a stone dedicated to Marion Lillie, burnt at the stake as a “witch” in 1698 in East Lothian, and the golden post-box dedicated to Grainger’s Olympic rowing gold medal.

Helen MacDonald, of the Glasgow Women’s Library, said: “The project is about contributing to the knowledge of history of women in Scotland in a way that’s visible. The history of women in Scotland is much more hidden than men’s history, and the memorials we have to our women are not of the same size as the ones to men. You might have someone strolling through a local park with no idea that there’s a bench with a plaque commemorating an amazing woman. This is a way of highlighting these women, and giving them the credit they deserve.”

Lynn Abrams, professor of Gender History at the University of Glasgow, said women in Scotland had been poorly treated by history. “People have recently become much more aware of women in Scottish society and want to give them recognition,” she said. “In the past we have been terrible at recognising women and their achievements. Just look at the city of Edinburgh: there are 100, if not more, statues to men, two to dogs, and one to a woman. That’s just appalling.”

Abrams said the project would serve as a reminder for future generations about women’s contribution to Scotland. “It’s all too easy for us to recognise pretty ordinary men for doing things that aren’t that spectacular, and not recognise the other 50 per cent of the population. It’s ­really important for both boys and girls at school that women made history too, and this will help do that.”