Scotland’s women of influence meet at Parliament


The Influence of Women is the focus of this year’s International Women’s Day to be celebrated at the Scottish Parliament this Saturday.

Hundreds of women from diverse backgrounds across Scotland will take part in the annual event which aims to celebrate women’s achievements and increase the participation and involvement of women in influencing policy.

Deputy Presiding Officer Elaine Smith MSP, who will chair the event, said:

“The Scottish Parliament is delighted to be involved once again in International Women’s Day. I congratulate the Scottish Women’s Convention on the occasion of their 10th Anniversary. This forum is important in bringing women from all walks of life into their Parliament to discuss issues that affect them in their everyday lives.”

“This year’s debate will celebrate women who have overcome barriers in education, employment, social and political life to influence the world they live in. The inspirational line-up of speakers seeks to encourage all women to support each other, challenge inequalities and realise that they too can make a real difference at local, national and international levels.”

As part of this year’s event a motion on Women and Work will be debated and contribute to the Equal Opportunities Committee’s Women in Work inquiry. It covers issues on part-time working; occupational segregation; childcare; women in business; managing unequal pay in local authorities; the impact of attitudes and welfare reforms on women and families.

Committee Convener Mary Fee MSP, who will also be speaking at the event, said:

“Our Committee is delighted to be part of International Women’s Day and we will ensure the personal views expressed by women on their experiences of access and progress within the workplace will be reflected in our Women in Work inquiry.”

The Scottish Parliament has held an event to mark International Women’s Day every year since 2007. The event is organised by the Scottish Women’s Convention which celebrates its 10th anniversary and this year’s speakers are:

  • Agnes Tolmie - Chair of the Scottish Women’s Convention and an active campaigner in the women’s movement for over thirty years.
  • Nicola Sturgeon MSP - Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities.
  • Margaret Curran MP - Former MSP and now Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.
  • Maria Fyfe - Former Labour MP for Maryhill and Chair of the Scottish Constitutional Convention working party on equal representation of women in the planned Scottish Parliament.
  • Mette Kindberg - President of UNI World-Europe Women’s Committee.
  • Mary Fee MSP - Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities Committee who are currently conducting an inquiry into Women in Work.
  • With poetry recitation by Liz Lochhead - Scots Makar, playwright, writer.


International Women’s Day held annually on 8 March is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

The International Women’s Day event will be held at the Scottish Parliament on Saturday 9 March.



Photographs of the event will be available from Scottish Parliament photographer Andrew Cowan on 0131 348 5878 and can be downloaded via

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