Tribute is paid to top feminist economist

Professor Ailsa McKay
Professor Ailsa McKay

First Minister Alex Salmond led the tributes to a former Falkirk High School pupil who was a renowned campaigner for gender equality.

Ailsa McKay died on March 5, aged only 50, after a year-long battle with cancer.

At the time of her death she was professor of economics at Glasgow Caledonian University, a position she took up in 2011.

Speaking at Holyrood, Mr Salmond said: “Ailsa, as we all know, was a leading voice in campaigning for gender equality, not simply through her work, but as a founding member of the Scottish Women’s Budget Group.

“I think it is important that we note her astonishing contribution as a feminist economist, both in arguing the case for women into work, and in being the principal author and arguer for many years for the transformation of childcare that will make that possible.”

Professor Pamela Gillies, principal and vice-chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, also paid tribute.

She said: “In her far too early death, Scotland has lost an important force for good, the university has lost a greatly valued, committed and intellectually vibrant colleague and I have lost a dear friend.”

The principal added that a scholarship will be founded in her name to inspire future generations.

Ailsa McKay was brought up in Falkirk attending Comely Park and Falkirk High.

Her first job on leaving school was with the Department of Social Security in Wellside Place, before she went to Stirling University where she gained a first class honours degree, later studying for a Phd at the 
University of Nottingham.

An international expert on gender budgeting and gender analysis of economic policy, she sought consistently to highlight the role women play in the economy through paid and unpaid work. Her legacy includes urging greater investment in childcare to allow women to access paid employment.

Her views were held in high regard across the political stage at international and domestic level.

Prior to her death she had been nominated for a Saltire Society Outstanding Woman of the Year 2014 Award.

Her final contribution to Scottish politics is a forthcoming Jimmy Reid Foundation Common Weal report on welfare which she co-

She is survived by her partner, fellow economist Jim Campbell, and her children Annie and Rory; her parents, Roy McKay of Aberdeen and Beth Fraser of Falkirk along with her three sisters, Kirsty, Sharon and Linnhe.