Meet Scotland's 'outstanding' women


Ten women have been inducted into the Saltire Society's "Outstanding Women of Scotland" hall of fame.

Arctic explorer Myrtle Simpson, forensic scientist Dame Sue Black and singer Horse McDonald were honoured at Glasgow Women's Library.

Theatre critic Joyce McMillan and political activist Remzije Sherifi were also among those recognised.

Previous inductees include First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the Scots Makar Jackie Kay in 2015.

Last year's outstanding women included Sarah Brown, JK Rowling and Annie Lennox.

The Saltire Society is a "non-political membership organisation celebrating Scottish imagination in all its forms".

It created the "Outstanding Women of Scotland" community in partnership with Glasgow Women's Library.

Forensic anthropologist, anatomist and academic, Professor Dame Sue Black

Image copyright Dundee University

Leading forensic anthropologist Prof Sue Black is the head of the centre for anatomy and human identification at Dundee University.

She first came to prominence in 1999 when she led a forensic team identifying the victims of the conflict in Kosovo.

She has also worked with disaster victim identification in major events such as the Asian tsunami of 2004 and high profile criminal cases, including the conviction of the UK's most prolific paedophile.

The Saltire Society's programme director for the Outstanding Women of Scotland, Sarah Mason, said: "Sue is an inspiration to young women, especially those whose interest and future lies in science."

Writer, performer, poet and teacher Jo Clifford

Jo Clifford is one of Scotland's most accomplished playwrights.

She has written more than 80 plays, which have been performed in theatres throughout Scotland and the world.

Jo Clifford was born in North Staffordshire in 1951 where she was raised as a boy.

She discovered theatre when she played women's roles in school plays.

The Saltire Society's Sarah Mason says Jo is a role model for transgender people in Scotland.

In the late eighties she wrote a series of major works for the Traverse in Edinburgh, which were performed internationally, and which had gender-balanced casts and gave the central role to a woman.

She took steps to formalise her female identity after the death of her long-term partner in 2005 and began to re-discover herself as an actress and performer.

Ms Mason says: "It is only in recent years that Jo has taken to the stage to perform her own pieces such as The Gospel According To Jesus, Queen of Heaven, which explores spirituality, religion, gender and sexuality."

Singer and songwriter Horse McDonald

Horse's career as a singer and songwriter stretches back almost 30 years.

She has toured with international artists including Tina Turner, BB King, Bryan Ferry and Burt Bacarach.

Sarah Mason says: "Horse is not only extremely talented artist but someone who is generous with her time and expertise to support fellow and emerging musicians.

"Her autobiographical play, Careful, lays bare Horse's experience growing up in 1970s Lanark as a gay woman. It is a play that both moves and inspires."

Freelance dance artist Rosina Bonsu

Image copyright Saltire Society

Rosina Bonsu is "a dance artist who makes dance accessible to all", according to Sarah Mason.

She says: "Rosina believes in the power of dance, not just for performance but its emotional and physical benefit to people individually and as a community."

Ms Bonsu moved to Glasgow as the artistic director of Scottish Ballet Steps Out then, in 1998, founded The Dance House.

She is currently on the staff at West College Scotland and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland teaching dance and movement.

Rosina also teaches yoga and "relaxed postures".

Writer and critic Joyce McMillan

Joyce McMillan has been a political and arts columnist, theatre critic and broadcaster for more than 30 years,

According to Sarah Mason: "She goes that extra mile (literally in many cases) to ensure that theatre criticism is still central to the world of theatre."

Joyce is theatre critic of The Scotsman and has also been involved in many campaigns for democracy and human rights, both in Scotland and internationally.

Radiographer, skier and climber Myrtle Simpson

Image copyright BBC Radio Scotland

Myrtle Simpson is a "legend" in the Scottish skiing and climbing community.

She was the first woman to ski across Greenland, with four others on an unsupported expedition and was key in establishing Scotland's first ski centres, (including CairnGorm).

At 87, Myrtle still skies regularly and competes in the Masters ski races, as well as those run by the Scottish Ski Club.

Sarah Mason says: "She is an inspiration and an example of how age can not diminish your passions."

Political activist and co-founder of the Glasgow Girls Roza Salih

According to Sarah Mason: "Roza Salih is a prime example of how age does not define your inspirational prowess."

Roza was co-founder of the Glasgow Girls, seven schoolgirls who campaigned against dawn raids on asylum seekers by immigration officials in Drumchapel in 2005.

Now 27, Roza, whose family fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq when she was a child, has continued to be politically active.

She is currently standing at the council elections for the SNP.

She says she wants "to serve the people and make them proud".

"They welcomed me to Scotland and I really want to give back to them."

Performance artist, choreographer, maker, teacher and speaker Caroline Bowditch

Originally from Australia, Caroline has become a prominent dancer and choreographer within the arts community.

Her work explores the visibly disabled body.

Sarah Mason says: "As well as performing and creating work across the world, Caroline has greatly enriched many lives in Scotland through her community integrated dance workshops and teaching."

Journalist, writer producer and community leader Remzije Sherifi

"Remzije Sherifi's life is an inspiration," says Sarah Mason.

She was one of the first female radio journalists in Kosovo at only 17. She lost her job in 1992, and almost lost her life as the Milosevic regime tightened its grip on the Albanian people who lived there.

As the war in the Balkans spread, Remzije was forced to flee and was evacuated to Glasgow on medical grounds from a refugee camp in Macedonia.

She currently runs the Maryhill Integration Network who operate a programme of activities in health, learning, art and dance to bring communities together.

Artist and teacher Sam Ainsley

Sam Ainsley is an artist and teacher and until 2005 was head of the Master of Fine Art course at Glasgow School of Art, a breeding ground for a generation of award-winning contemporary artists such as Turner Prize winners Martin Boyce, Richard Wright, Duncan Campbell and Simon Starling .

Sarah Mason says: "It was an innovative course where students learned from, and contributed to, the delivery of the programme curriculum, the experiences of their peers, and the wider art community based within the city of Glasgow."

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