Women of Skye

New Zealand’s first Plunket nurse, Joanna MacKinnon (b. Balmeanach, Isle of Skye 1878). MacKinnon is presented with her Plunket medal by Lady Plunket in Dunedin in August 1909. Photograph courtesy The Encyclopedia of New Zealand.

In February 1918 some women received the right to vote in the UK after years of intense campaigning. Although women had to be over thirty and meet minimum property qualifications, the Representation of the People Act, 1918, fundamentally marked a shift in the voter demographic (8 million women could now vote) and paved the way for further changes towards voting equality.

To mark the centenary of this, ATLAS Arts hosted a series of events in 2018 that focus on women. This included participating in Scalarama 2018 to celebrate everything F‑rated as part of our Screen-It programme, from the first women filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché, to Scotland’s pioneering, Margaret Tait.

In October we held a Wikipedia edit-a-thon’ to address the gender imbalance on Wikipedia, with the specific aim to create articles for women of Skye who have been overlooked, as well as improving existing content for those who already feature.

In working with Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre and Portree Community Library we were able to explore first-hand accounts, secondary sources, including their own publications of historic women as well as those who are alive today.