Celebrating Women’s History Month 2022, Ruth Maguire MSP joined colleague Jenni Minto in a debate held in The Scottish Parliament, supporting activists campaigning for a statue of Dr Elsie Inglis to ensure her memory is forever remembered. 

Dr Elsie Inglis, born in 1864 and died in 1917, was a pioneering Scottish doctor and surgeon, who became the founder of women’s medical practices and hospitals located within the city of Edinburgh. Her work and achievements during the First World War included becoming a suffragist and founder of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service as well as sending qualified teams of female nurses to Belgium, France, Serbia and Russia.

In March, campaigners were welcomed to Holyrood to watch the debate, where MSPs backed their calls for the life and work of Dr Elsie Inglis to be commemorated in the form of a statue.

Speaking in the Parliament Chamber Ruth Maguire MSP congratulated Jenni Minto on securing the debate to celebrate, and reflect on, the incredible achievements of Dr Elsie Inglis.

In her speech Ruth reflected on the theme of this years International Women’s Day, #BreakingtheBias, and how fitting it was to commemorate the life of Dr Elsie Inglis.

Ruth said:

“Yesterday, we marked international women’s day, on which we celebrated women’s achievements, raised awareness against bias and took action for equality. It is only fitting that, today, we celebrate Dr Elsie Inglis by commemorating her achievements to raise awareness against bias and take action for equality. In a period when women were expected to be compliant in a masculine world, she challenged that attitude and became a surgeon, philanthropist, patriot and leader of the movement for the political emancipation of women.”

Later Ruth Maguire MSP congratulated activists on their action to ensure Dr Elsie Inglis legacy is not for forgotten.

Ruth Maguire MSP said:

“Like Elsie herself, Fiona Garwood and Thea Laurie decided not to sit still and pursued a pandemic project, picking up the mantle to fundraise for and build a memorial for Dr Elsie Inglis. I congratulat​e them both, as their campaign has mustered support from notable organisations and individuals, including medical and nursing organisations, historians and, in particular, Girlguiding Edinburgh.”

Commenting SNP MSP Jenni Minto said:
“Dr Elsie Inglis was a remarkable woman. It is no exaggeration to say she was a war hero, a pioneering medic and a crucial advocate of women’s rights
 
“The radiance of her legacy shines across the world in women’s health, in women’s rights and in humanity.
 
“It only right that Dr Inglis is recognised and commemorated with a statue, where people will be able to celebrate Elsie Inglis incredible life and recognise her for the role model she is.”
 

A transcript of Ruth Maguire’s speech can be found on the Scottish Parliament website here, along with other Member’s contributions.

Watch Ruth’s speech here:

To find out more about the campaign to ensure that the remarkable Dr Elsie Maud Inglis is forever remembered visit https://www.elsieinglis.org.