Saturday 30 July 2016

2016 Outstanding Women of Scotland Inductees announced!

Ten Scottish women from the fields of the arts, culture, politics, activism, law and science have been honoured and inducted into the esteemed Saltire Society ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ community at a special event in Glasgow today.


Singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist, Annie Lennox, OBE said she was “deeply touched to be considered deserving of such prestigious company” as she was inducted into the ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ community.

This year’s ten inductees also included bestselling writer JK Rowling, global health and education campaigner Sarah Brown and female pioneers from the arts and heritage Alice Strang and Magdalena Sargarzazu alongside scientist Professor Karen Vousden, journalist Lesley Riddoch, politician Dr Philippa Whitford and retired Supreme Court judge Lady Cosgrove.

You can read more about all out inductees HERE.

Following a tremendously successful inaugural ceremony in 2015, with inductees including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scotland’s recently appointed new Makar Jackie Kay, members of the public were invited to submit nominations for a second year. Once again, the key criterion for consideration was that those nominated should be living contemporary examples of Scottish women who have made a significant contribution to Scottish culture and society.

Created in partnership with Glasgow Women’s Library, the ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ community aims to recognise and celebrate remarkable Scottish women from all walks of life who have made an outstanding contribution to Scottish society.

Taking place at Glasgow Women’s Library, the special ceremony saw a female member of the Society of Young Publishers Scotland present each inductee with a limited edition print from Edinburgh-based visual artist and illustrator, Anupa Gardner.

Full details of this year’s ten inductees are as follows:

  • Singer-songwriter, political activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox OBE
  • Acclaimed novelist, screenwriter and film producer, J.K. Rowling OBE, FRSL
  • Curator of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Alice Strang
  • Former full time Canna Archivist for the National Trust for Scotland, Magdalena Sargarzazu
  • Surgeon, Member of Parliament and SNP Health Spokesperson, Dr Philippa Whitford
  • Campaigner for global health and education, and founder and president of children’s charity, Theirworld, Sarah Jane Brown
  • Broadcaster, journalist and campaigner, Lesley Anne Riddoch
  • Medical researcher and director of the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute (Glasgow), Professor Karen Heather Vousden, CBE, FRS, FRSE, FMedSci
  • The first women to be appointed a Senator of the College of Justice, Lady Hazel Josephine Cosgrove, CBE

Amal Azzudin is an award winning campaigner for human rights and social justice and was presented with a special award to mark the Saltire Society’s 80th anniversary year.

Commenting on her induction, Sarah Jane Brown said:

“I thank the Saltire Society for the honour of including me amongst a list of wonderful women in Scotland from all walks of life and such breadth of achievement. If you can see it, you can be it.

“So congratulations to the Saltire Society for highlighting the success of many women who can all set an example for other women to come along and exceed. May your list get longer and longer of brilliant women doing amazing things across Scotland and in the wider world.”

As part of the celebrations, the Society has produced a pamphlet similar to those featured in its popular Saltire Series containing biographies and a personal note from each of the inductees outlining who and what has inspired them in their lives and careers. The pamphlet is available online at

Speaking about her induction, Dr Philippa Whitford MP said:

“I am absolutely delighted to be named as one of this year’s Outstanding Women of Scotland and would like to thank those who nominated me. It was a huge surprise when I found out I had been chosen to receive the accolade and I am very honoured to be inducted into the Community with such an esteemed group of women.

“After a long career as a Breast Cancer Surgeon and a comparatively short one as a Politician, I have had the privilege of working to make a difference to peoples’ lives for over 30 years. As it stands, both surgery and politics are still very male dominated worlds but recognition of the achievements of women in these fields helps encourage girls and young women to ignore stereotypes and to follow their aspirations no matter which career path they wish to pursue.”

Commenting on the ceremony, Glasgow Women’s Library Enterprise Development Manager, Sue John, said:

“Glasgow Women’s Library is proud to work with the Saltire Society to honour these Outstanding Women of Scotland. Some are household names, while others are less well known in our day-to-day lives. What they all have in common is the extraordinary contributions they make not only to Scotland but to the wider world. They are role models for us all and I look forward to celebrating their achievements with them on this special occasion.”

Speaking on behalf of the Saltire Society, Programme Manager Sarah Mason said:

“Once again this year, it is a great privilege to honour these truly inspiring women. The Saltire Society exists to promote and celebrate Scottish culture and heritage. Over the years, the contribution of Scotland’s women to the cultural life of this country has been truly remarkable but sadly too often underestimated or overlooked. In growing the Outstanding Women of Scotland community year by year, I hope we can begin to address that shortcoming.”


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