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Recognising inspiring women in our buildings

An image of Caroline Baird

Wednesday 8 March is International Women’s Day. Today is all about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and a call to action for accelerating women's equality. This is something we want to do every day of the year.

That is why we’ve recognised some inspiring women through our work to name our head office - Agnes Husband House - and our meeting rooms across both our offices in Dundee and Glasgow.

It was really important to us that we celebrated people who were connected to the cities we are based in and that they helped exemplify our culture of dignity, fairness and respect through the work they do, or have done in their lives.

We made we had a diverse group of women from a range of background. These women championed causes that reflect Scottish Government aims that we contribute to including tackling poverty and promoting equality. We also have women who have been innovators and leaders in professions that are represented across our workforce.

Two of those women are wonderful colleagues in Social Security Scotland.

Here are some of their stories:

Safina Mazhar is one of our colleagues, and a published author. Outside of her day job with us she works in the community in Glasgow to promote diversity in children’s novels. She has supported local school children to write their own stories that feature characters that look like them, sound like them and have names like theirs. The short stories focus on Black and Minority Ethnic characters that the children can identify with.

Caroline Baird MBE (née Innes) is another one of our colleagues who has achieved amazing things. She was born with cerebral palsy and is a celebrated sprinter. She went to university in Dundee and was a successful Paralympian winning 4 gold medals and a silver medal at the Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000) Games.

Claire Cunningham is a choreographer and performer based in Glasgow. One of the UK’s most acclaimed and internationally renowned disabled artists, Claire’s work is rooted in her relationship with her crutches, her own specific way of moving and her lived experience of disability.

Margaret Irwin (1858 – 1940) was born and brought up in Dundee. She campaigned for equal rights for women workers and for the creation of the Scottish Trades Union Congress. She was elected as its first secretary.

Jackie Kay, CBE, FRSE, FRSL is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist. Her best known works centre around identity and race and draw inspiration from her own background as the child of a black father and white mother, raised by adoptive white parents in Scotland. Kay has won a number of awards, including the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998 and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award in 2011.

Dr Margaret Blackwood (1924 – 1994) was born in Dundee and campaigned for people with mental or physical disabilities to have the same rights, voice and opportunities as the able-bodied. As a result, financial benefits for disabled people, including mobility and attendance allowance, were introduced in the 1970 Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act.

Their stories are displayed outside each of their respective rooms to inspire and give a tangible way to tell the story of the culture we want to create in Social Security Scotland.

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