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New OU/BBC co-production showcases some of Scotland’s most remarkable women

A new three-part series ‘The Women Who Changed Modern Scotland’ will tell the story of women who had a role in shaping Scotland over the last 50 years.

Presented by Kirsty Wark, it will highlight the women who, throughout the decades have challenged the status quo, defied sexism to seize new opportunities and in more recent years, have stepped up to lead in politics, in their communities and in the workplace.

Well-known names such as First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and actress Elaine C Smith, will be profiled alongside an extraordinary range of women who may not be household names, but their passion and commitment have changed the lives of everyone in Scotland.

The first episode will transmit on BBC Scotland at 10pm on Tuesday 21st February with all three episodes available to view on iPlayer by International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8th March).

The Open University academic consultants on the series were Dr Kim Barker, Senior Lecturer in Law and Dr Helen O’Shea, Lecturer in History.

From Shetland to Shettleston women have shaped modern Scotland – its laws, its politics, its culture, its workforce – and this series presents their remarkable stories. Often these women have faced great struggles, yet for many still, their stories remain untold. These are voices that should be heard.”

Dr Kim Barker
Senior Lecturer in Law, Head of Department

Series presenter, Kirsty Wark said:

“This series will celebrate the monumental achievements of women, many of them unsung, who some quietly, and others shouting from the rafters, did so much to transform the lives of women and men in Scotland and beyond in the last five decades.  They campaigned, they cajoled, they sang, they bravely made a path and encouraged others to follow.  Whether it was sport, stage, screen or fighting sex discrimination they made modern Scotland.”

The first episode of this series, The Disruptors, focusses on the 60s and uncovers the stories of women who forged new paths in a society that largely favoured men.

Among the stories featured are a campaigner battling the football establishment to win recognition for the women’s game, political pioneers Winnie Ewing and Margo MacDonald, a group of women who wrote for Jackie magazine in Dundee, and the women behind the drama series Sunset Song, a TV adaption of the novel, which broke new ground in its portrayal of the complex inner life of a young Scottish woman.

There are also inspiring interviews with some of the country’s first female fire fighters, trade union shop stewards, and women who revolutionised attitudes to domestic violence in ways that reverberated around the world.

The second episode, Having It All, looks at the 80s and 90s when legislative leaps enshrined new rights for women and glass ceilings were smashed, while at the same time everyday sexism and domestic violence remained rife. As well as meeting women who developed successful careers in this period, in fields previously dominated by men, Kirsty tells the stories of those who fought to change the systems and structures that were holding women back.

The third and final part, Breakthroughs and Backlash, brings the story into the modern era and sees more women taking the lead, striving to make a difference across a wide range of issues.  But this new prominence comes at a cost, and Kirsty also explores how women are encountering new forms of hostility on social media and beyond.

More information

This series was commissioned by Broadcast & Partnerships and is supported by the Faculty of Business and Law and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, with particular relevance to the following qualifications and modules for FBL students:

Qualification Pathways:

Individual Modules:

Visit our Broadcast & Partnerships site where a host of inspiring women from the world of Scottish politics contribute to two short films on OU Connect, including exclusive insights from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon: ‘Why don’t more women go into politics?’ and ‘What are the benefits of more women in politics?’.

The videos take views from established leaders from across the political spectrum (MSPs Annie Wells and Pam Duncan-Glancy) and burgeoning newcomers (Sophie Reid, Chair of Scottish Youth Parliament) to the political sphere, offering their perspectives on the challenges facing women in this space. Covering subjects from online hate to institutional misogyny, the films examine how representation has reached the point it has today, and question what’s next on the road to equality. (NB: this site may not be live or complete prior to broadcast)

Copyright - Two Rivers Media

This article was originally published on The OU news website; click to read the original article.