A 19th Century nurse, poet and songwriter from Skeabost on the Isle of Skye has topped a social media poll of Outstanding Women of Scotland through the ages.
Màiri Mhòr nan Oran (Mary MacPherson) was announced the overall winner of the online poll to coincide with International Women’s Day on Tuesday, 8th March.
Since launching the 2016 Outstanding Women of Scotland campaign on St. Andrew’s Day, cultural charity the Saltire Society has been celebrating women from throughout Scottish history via a series of daily Tweets. Fellow Twitter users were asked to vote for their favourites from a list of more than 80 outstanding women from Scottish history.
A wide range of Historic Scottish women have been celebrated as part of the campaign, from Mary King, who famously has an Edinburgh close and visitor attraction named after her to Dorothy Donaldson Buchanan, the first female member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.
Màiri Mhòr nan Oran was born on the Isle of Skye in 1821 and, after being briefly arrested and imprisoned for theft in 1872, turned to poetry to protest her innocence and express her anger through Gaelic verse. Following her release from prison, she lived in Glasgow where she worked as a nurse and became well known for her poetry and songs. She was a supporter of land reform and, amongst other things, used her verse to urge Skye crofters to resist their landlords, including through perhaps her best known poem “Incitement of the Gaels”. Màiri died following a short illness in 1898. A plaque to her memory was unveiled in 1966 at Skeabost in Skye and there is a more recent plaque outside her last home in Portree, erected by the Portree Local History Society.
Nominations for the Saltire Society’s ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ 2016 campaign are due to close on Friday, 11thMarch. Nominees must be living, contemporary examples of Scottish women who have made a significant contribution to Scottish culture and society. The 2016 inductees will join the ranks of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Singer and writer Anne Lorne Gilles, and Strathclyde University Engineering Professor Rebecca Lunn., who were inducted at the inaugural celebration in 2015.
Commenting on the results of the Twitter poll, Saltire Society Programme Manager Sarah Mason said:
“In the lead-up to International Women’s Day, it’s been great to have had so much interest and interaction from social media users in relation to this poll and the wider ‘Outstanding Women of Scotland’ campaign. The historic Scottish women we have been celebrating since launching the 2016 campaign on St. Andrew’s Day came from a wide variety of backgrounds. They included a campaigner for women’s rights and birth control, musicians, an astronomer, a theatre director, writers, a weather presenter and many others.
“I’m particularly pleased that the overall winner is someone who is perhaps less well know than many of the other more prominent figures on our list of outstanding women of Scotland through the ages. Hopefully, more people will now be encouraged to find out more about the outstanding women from history who have made a contribution to Scotland.”
For further information please contact Sarah Robertson on 0131 603 8996 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Saltire Society
The Saltire Society seeks to encourage everything that might improve the quality of life in Scotland. It works to preserve all that is best in Scottish traditions and to encourage new developments which can strengthen and enrich the country’s cultural life. It acts as a catalyst, celebrant and commentator through an annual programme of awards, lectures, debates and projects. Founded in 1936 is a non-political independent charity with membership branches throughout Scotland.
Membership of the Saltire Society is open to all individuals and organisations who support the aims of the Society.
Outstanding Women of Scotland
Nominations for the 2016 awards are invited until 11th march 2016. More information can be found herehttp://www.saltiresociety.org.uk/discuss-and-debate/saltire-women