Nicola Sturgeon backs Evening News campaign to honour women

The First Minister today voiced her support for the Evening News campaign for the achievements of women past and present to be honoured with a statue in the city.

Thursday, 13th April 2017, 6:30 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:44 pm
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has joined other party leaders to back our campaign to pay tribute to the Capital's greatest women. Picture: PA

And further backing came from the other two women at the top of Scottish politics – Labour leader Kezia Dugdale and Tory chief Ruth Davidson.

Together, they sent a strong collective message that it was time to honour Edinburgh’s great women.

The News has launched a campaign to make sure a fitting and lasting monument is erected to at least one of our female champions – in a city where there are more statues of animals.

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Holyrood leaders Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon all back the Evening News' campaign. Picture: Jon Savage

Nicola Sturgeon said: “It’s absolutely right that Edinburgh’s famous daughters should be recognised in the same way as its famous sons.

“The Capital has produced women who have achieved remarkable things in fields, including science, sport, literature and the arts.

“As First Minister I am determined to do all I can to achieve gender equality.

Holyrood leaders Kezia Dugdale, Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon all back the Evening News' campaign. Picture: Jon Savage

“That goes further than equality in the workplace and in education. It’s also about our culture and the messages we as a society send out to women and girls – and men and boys.

“A quote I am very fond of is ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’.

“A statue of one of Edinburgh’s remarkable women would do a great deal to inspire young women living in and visiting the city Edinburgh and reinforce to them that they are only limited by their own ambitions.

“I’m absolutely delighted to lend my support to this campaign and look forward to seeing which of the city’s many important women is recognised.”

Scottish Labour leader and Lothian MSP Kezia Dugdale lamented the scarcity of women monuments in the city.

She said: “The lack of statues celebrating the achievements of women in Edinburgh is stark.

“There are just two statues commemorating women, in comparison there are three statues commemorating specific animals.

“I’m a great fan of animals but are we really saying they should be more recognised than the brilliant women of our fair city?

“There are many great women Edinburgh could celebrate including Elsie Inglis, a doctor and suffragette, who founded the Scottish Women’s Hospital Unit, the Edinburgh Seven – Sophia Jex-Blake, Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson and Emily Bovell – the first women in Britain to be matriculated to study medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869, the writer Dame Muriel Spark, who so enriched our literary landscape, and

Mairi Chisholm and Elsie Knocker, two friends who went to the front during World War One and became known as the Angels of Pervyse.

“These are just a few examples of women who have enriched our history.

“It is time for women to be honoured for their contributions to the fabric of this nation. They must be honoured not only as recognition of their achievements but also a public demonstration to all women of what has been achieved by previous generations of women.

“All of us benefit from being reminded of just how hard women have had to fight in previous generations and how much they achieved despite the obstacles.

“It’s time to stop airbrushing women out of history.”

Scottish Conservative leader and Edinburgh Central MSP Ruth Davidson added her support.

She said: “Edinburgh has been home to many remarkable and outstanding women.

“It is baffling why so few have been recognised by public statues – especially when you consider how many men are immortalised across the city.

“Even animals have more bronzes dedicated to them in Edinburgh than women do.

“It’s time we started a proper discussion about recognising some of the inspirational heroines who have made our nation’s capital their home.”

Their message is clear – It is time to celebrate the achievements of Edinburgh’s women.


Do you agree that we do not do enough in Edinburgh to recognise the achievements of the city’s women?

If so, who would you like to see honoured and in what way?

Would you be prepared to support a crowdfunding appeal to help pay for a statue?

Let us know by e-mailing Fiona Pringle at [email protected], writing to Fiona at Orchard Brae House or adding your comments on our website or Facebook page.

Amongst the favourites for the honour is medical pioneer and suffragette Dr Elsie Inglis, Marie Stopes who set up the frist birth control centre in Britain or Muriel Spark, one of Britain’s greatest 20the century writers.

Or it could be Maggie Keswick Jencks, who co-founded the Maggie’s cancer centres.