A quick glance at any list of celebrities from Scotland will often demonstrate a heavy gender bias toward men. This is some ways is not surprising, as these lists are often based on old history books, written at a time when women's achievements are foolishly overlooked in favor of white men who all seem to have large mustaches. Here, we share some examples of attractive Scottish women, who really should be known more.
Lady Agnes Campbell
Move over William Wallace! Lady Agnes Campbell was a 16th-century nobility, educated to a high level and not afraid to use that education. Her first marriage ended when her husband died in 1565 while he was being held prisoner by the Irish chieftain Shane O'Neill. Agnes went on to marry the successor to the Irish chief who had been her first husband’s captor, taking with her a dowry of 1,200 Highland troops and commanding them on the battlefield herself. She became responsible for raising Scottish support for the rebellion and impressed those on the English side with whom she negotiated with her fluency in English and Latin and was raised on political intrigue and scheming. She led her troops against the English — and she did it very well indeed, earning considerable respect from friends and enemies.
Castle Campbell, birthplace of Agnes
Modern Scottish history is peppered with a who's-who of engineers, from James Watt to John Logie Baird, but more people should know of Victoria Drummond. She was named after her godmother, Queen Victoria. Victoria was educated at home, before deciding she wanted a career in marine engineering. Victoria became the first British woman marine engineer, and the first woman member of the Institute of Marine Engineers, sailing to many different nations and constantly honing her craft. After a stint onshore, the Second World War broke out, and she tried to return to sea, the ship was attacked by a German bomber. Victoria found herself in sole command of the engine room, keeping the ship running during the attack, performing her duties heroically and far above that expected of her station - for which she was awarded an MBE and the Lloyd's War Medal for Bravery at Sea.
The Edinburgh Seven
The Edinburgh Seven were the first group of matriculated undergraduate female students at the British university. Studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh, they faced a mammoth task from the start, with elements of the university and, indeed, the wider city against them. In 1870, an angry mob gathered at the Surgeons’ Hall with the aim of preventing the Edinburgh Seven from sitting their anatomy exam. The resulting riot attracted widespread publicity and won greater public support for the women’s campaign for a university education. The campaign they fought gained national attention and won them many supporters, including Charles Darwi, they were ultimately prevented from graduating and qualifying as doctors. Sophia Jex-Blake led the campaign with six other women, collectively known as the Edinburgh Seven. The six other women are Mary Anderson, Emily Bovel, Matilda Chaplin, Helen, Evans, Edith Pechey, and Isabel Thorne.
St Margaret of Scotland
St. Margaret of Scotland, was an English princess born in Hungary. A pious woman, even from early childhood, Margaret and her family returned to England when she was 10-years-old and her father was called back as a potential successor to the throne. However, Edward died immediately after the family arrived, but Margaret and Edgar continued to reside at the English court, where her brother was also talked about as a possible king. After 1066 and the Norman invasion, Margaret and her family ultimately decided to flee to the continent. However, her family's ship got caught in a storm. Hereabouts, she met and married King Malcolm III of Scotland. They had eight children, six sons, and two daughters. Margaret's kind-nature and good heart was a strong influence on Malcolm's reign. She softened his temper and helped him become a virtuous King of Scotland and she was canonized 157 years after her death, becoming Saint Margaret. Mary, Queen of Scots, famously used Margaret’s saintly head to help her in giving birth!
The words of the " Skye Boat Song " are known to many around the world. Although much of Flora’s life remains a mystery and the subject of myth, historians agree that the Jacobite heroine helped Prince Charles Stuart in his escape after he was defeated at Culloden. She allowed him to join her party disguised as Betty Burke, an Irish spinning maid, and the pair were rowed from the small island of Benbecula to Skye. Unfortunately, the oarsmen talked about this adventure, and Flora was captured by the English and, for a time, she was imprisoned in the Tower of London but was pardoned in 1747. After she was released, she had further adventures in colonial America during the War of Independence and was also wounded by a privateer attack on board a boat sailing back home to Skye. Presently, the bronze statue of Flora MacDonald that stands outside Inverness Castle is the starting point for those starting and finishing the North Coast 500.
After studying at the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women, Sophia Jex-Blake - Elsie Inglis founded her own medical college, then later, she founded a small maternity hospital for the poor on High Street, staffed entirely by women, situated on the Royal Mile. Notwithstanding opposition from the British War Office and rejection by both the Red Cross and the Royal Army Medical Corps, Inglis founded the Scottish Women's Hospitals Committee. And was told by the War Office " My good lady, go home and sit still. " At one point, she was arrested and taken back to the UK, but returned to war just to go home - she knew she was dying of cancer. Though, she selflessly suffered her own pain while attempting to cure the pain of others. And in recent years, she has been commemorated on the £50 banknote of Clydesdale Bank.