Conference to celebrate the life of internationally renowned Scottish economist


THE LIFE of an internationally renowned Scottish economist will be celebrated by leading politicians, policy makers and academics at a conference in her honour.


The late Professor Ailsa McKay, who died in March 2014, is recognised for her key role in influencing government policy decisions that affect the lives of women, children and families.


The conference will take place on on 22 and 23 January at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU). Politicians, international scholars and civil society leaders will be in attendance as well as Deputy First Minister John Swinney MSP and Alex Salmond who are expected to give talks on her work.


Professor Ailsa McKay at Glasgow Caledonian University


The conference will highlight Professor McKay’s work in championing the position of women in Scotland’s economy through gender budgeting; her call for a transformation in childcare, whereby she urged greater investment in childcare provision as a common good and a source of employment as well as improving women’s access to paid employment by increasing provision of affordable childcare; and the promotion of a citizen’s basic income.


The conference is organised by the Women in Scotland’s Economy (WiSE) Research Centre, which was established by Professor McKay at GCU. The keynote address will be delivered by the esteemed Professor Marilyn Waring of Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand and Honorary Doctorate of GCU.


Jim Campbell, Acting Director of WiSE- the group which she founded at GCU, said: “Ailsa aspired for gender equality, challenged existing norms, and worked to improve the quality of life for women, their children and families.


“WiSE was Ailsa’s vision and the work of WiSE continues. We are honoured to celebrate her life and the outstanding contribution she made in Scotland and on an international platform to enrich the lives of women and our society.”


Other key speakers include GCU Visiting Professor Diane Elson; Honorary Professor and Chief Economic Advisor to the Scottish Government, Dr Gary Gillespie; and distinguished academic colleagues from other UK, European and Canadian universities.


Professor McKay passed away on 5 March 2014 following a year long battle with cancer.


Alex Salmond previously praised McKay’s “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.”


While First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described her as “an inspirational economist and feminist.”Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont described her as a “woman of great wisdom”


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