Alex Salmond pays tribute to Professor McKay

23 January 2015

The late Professor Ailsa McKay was committed to improving the lives of families in Scotland and beyond

The late Professor Ailsa McKay was committed to improving the lives of families in Scotland and beyond

Former First Minister Alex Salmond MSP praised the outstanding contribution of the late Professor Ailsa McKay during day two of the Commemorative Conference at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

Mr Salmond addressed international scholars, policy makers, politicians and academics at the event, hosted by the Women in Scotland’s Economy (WiSE) research group.

His speech followed presentations from Jim Campbell and Morag Gillespie, WiSE; Professor Chris Pierson, University of Nottingham; and Annie Miller, Citizens Income Trust, on welfare reform and citizens basic income.  Professor Sara Cantillon, who joins GCU as Director of WiSE, also spoke of how the research group would continue to build on Professor McKay’s legacy.

Reflecting on the impact Professor McKay had on feminist economics, Mr Salmond admitted that he regretted not taking forward her policies in nursery education during his first ministerial stage.

He said: “Ailsa made me understand the central economic significance of nursery education, as opposed to the social significance of nursery education.

“She was the most extraordinary, brave lady. If you can point to the impact you’ve had on the lives of others, I think, on that measure Aisla stands very high.”

In a nod to the upcoming Burns night, Mr Salmond closed his address by quoting from the Bard’s poem The Rights of Woman, ending with the line “Amid this mighty fuss just let me mention, The Rights of Woman merit some attention.”