What could be better than dedicating an entire day to celebrating women? Acknowledging the profound feats they accomplish every day of the year all the time!
While Scottish history seems long, women’s history is that much longer. Let’s have a look back and see what women in Scotland have accomplished.
Elsie Inglis, a doctor and active suffragette. After earning her degree from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Edinburgh, Elsie opened a maternity hospital for the poor called The Hospice in 1894. And Elsie did not stop there. She went on to fundraise and found the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit, allowing an all-female medical unit to assist the war efforts in France, Serbia, Romania, Russia and Corsica. Truly an inspiring woman!
Not to forget The Edinburgh Seven – a group of ground-breaking women in Scotland who became the first female students (in all of Britain!) to be admitted into a university degree programme. Their names were Sophia Jex-Blake, Edith Pechey, Helen Evans, Matilda Chaplin, Isabel Thorne, Emily Bovell, and Mary Anderson entering a medical programme at the University of Edinburgh in 1869. These women brought attention to female education and personal growth.
Betty Brown. A teacher, activist, and rent strike organiser, Betty Brown grew up in Clydebank with very little to her name. While in her forties, and with very little formal education, Betty enrolled in College to become a teacher. She taught at Gavinburgh Primary School in Old Kirkpatrick. She used her platform to become an active community politician and earned the moniker “Battling Betty Brown”. She went on to become Labour councillor and Baillie of her home town. In 1971, she marched during the Upper Clyde Shipbuilder’s sit-in and again in 1973 against the Heath government’s Housing Act. Betty went on and succeeded in having the Dove of Peace incorporated into the Clydebank coat of arms and continued to fight for local causes well into her elderly years.
These women set the stage for astounding accomplishments by Scottish women today. Women like Judy Murray, top tennis coach, Katherine Grainger, Olympic gold medallist in rowing, Eilidh Child, the current Scottish record holder for the 40 metres hurdle, Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, Ruth Davidson, first female Scottish politician to appear on the BBC panel show, Kelly Macdonald, BAFTA and Emmy nominated actress, and Karen Gillan, the next rising Scots star in Hollywood. Scottish women and women around the world are doing amazing things, let us celebrate them today and every day!