As mother to two Wimbledon champions – not to mention world number ones – no one would have blamed Judy Murray if she had simply put her feet up and basked in the phenomenal success of her sons, Andy and Jamie.

After all, it was Judy who put them on the road to tennis glory, coached them hard and instilled the skills and belief necessary to give them the chance to train and compete at elite level, making countless personal sacrifices along the way.

But rather than just celebrating her boys' success, Judy has used it as a springboard to create opportunities for Scots of every age, background and level to play the game her family love so much.

Though she is undoubtedly a fantastic and passionate communicator, Judy is a woman who walks the walk as well as talking the talk. She set up and runs two fabulous initiatives, Tennis On The Road and She Rallies, travelling the length and breadth of Scotland and beyond in a van to encourage children – particularly girls – to pick up a racquet.

At the same time, she uses her lifetime of coaching experience to train and motivate the next generation of parents, community volunteers and coaches who will pass on the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm.

Tenacious to the end, Judy is a fixer and a problem solver who refuses to give up, as highlighted in how hard she has fought to make her dream of building a tennis centre a reality, despite opposition. The Scottish Government backed the ongoing development last year.

As an activist for women in sport, meanwhile, Judy is peerless and fearless, whether it's calling out inequality and sexism and speaking truth to power, or rolling up her sleeves and knocking on doors to drum up funding to grow grassroots tennis for girls.

This feminism has rubbed off on her sons, too, with Andy in particular evolving into an articulate and passionate advocate for gender equality in the still largely male-dominated tennis world.

Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam winner and arguably the greatest player of all time, talked recently about how much she respected Andy's feminist stance, but also Judy's influence and persistence. "He's definitely his mother's son," she smiled.



She took me from nought to 10k in 10 weeks when I panicked after reaching the age of 30. Twelve years on and I've got Ann Lister to thank for those first walk-run sessions that led to many finish lines and a healthier body and mind.

While, sadly, the council-managed Women's Running Network no longer exists in Glasgow, Ann is still motivating women (and now men) of all ages and shapes to run at weekly groups, most of which are in the health-challenged east of the city.

She is turning 70 this year so I'd like to say a heartfelt Happy Birthday to Ann – Glasgow's miles better because of you.



There are few individuals who have shown greater resilience and determination over the course of their career than Katherine Grainger.

It was the Glaswegian's journey to Olympic champion that captured everyone – three consecutive Olympic silver medals suggested she was destined to forever be the bridesmaid so when she finally struck gold, at London 2012, her joy was unbridled.

Grainger's remarkable effort to add a fifth Olympic medal in 2016 – another silver – made her Britain's most-decorated female Olympian.

I was in the Olympic Village when Grainger won gold in London and I remember thinking this is what sport is all about – for all the hard work, sacrifices and disappointment, it is all worth it.

Following her retirement, she was appointed chairwoman of UK Sport, one of the most powerful positions in British sport and, with this, she became one of only a few women to occupy such a position of authority and I think she's shown so many female athletes that they don't need to fade away into obscurity post-retirement.




More than a century after she led rent strikes against profiteering landlords in the city during the First War One, Glasgow will officially honour Mary Barbour by unveiling a statue of the Labour councillor and social pioneer in Govan on International Women's Day.

Kilbarchan-born Barbour's 1915 mass rallies of women, children, and shipyard workers shook the windows of Downing Street, with the Government acting swiftly to cut rents not just in Scotland but across the UK.

The Govan tribute, much of the cost of which has been raised through local donations, will be only the fourth statue of a woman in Glasgow.



The tattoo of Sicily on her hand is a mark of Rose Reilly's sporting success and the mutual affection generated by her spell as a professional footballer in Italy in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

Reilly deserves a place in any list of sporting greats for winning eight Italian championships, four Italian cups, and a World Cup winner for her adopted Italy.

But ahead of International Women's Day we salute the courage and determination that took her from Stewarton in East Ayrshire to the continent, blazing a trail for others to follow and take their spots in the still-undervalued area of women's football.



The breakthrough political achievement of Winnie Ewing stretches back just more than half a century.

The Hamilton by-election of 1967 launched the lawyer on a career that included two spells as an MP, a period as an MSP and, most pertinently in the current Brexit-dominated climate, a 20-year stint as a member of the European parliament, all for the SNP.

In Europe, she displayed her skills in words and action, arguing for a communality of purpose and for investment in the Highlands and Islands. In proving nationalism not be insular she made it appeal to the generations of internationally minded young Scots who would come after.



Of all the powerhouse partnerships in British politics, few can claim to have touched so many lives as that of Jennie Lee and her husband, Nye Bevan.

Both children of miners, he became the main architect of the NHS; she, as a Minister for Arts in Harold Wilson's Government, was the leading force behind the creation of the Open University.

As such, the former teacher, born in Lochgelly, Fife, in 1904, was to have a hand in giving millions of women and men a second chance at education.




Every time I hear the story of the Glasgow Girls, I want to stand up and cheer. I want everyone to know this story, because it provides proof it is possible to take on injustice and win.

It is a story of hope and friendship, of humanity and doing the right thing, and the players are some of the most remarkable women in Scotland.

In 2005, Amal Azzudin, Roza Salih, Ewelina Siwak, Toni-Lee Henderson, Jennifer McCarron and Emma Clifford were pupils at Drumchapel High in the north west of the city.

The teenagers sprang into action when their friend, Agnesa Murselaj, a Roma from Kosovo, was taken away after a dawn raid by the UK Border Force.

Officers in bullet-proof vests had stormed the young girl's home in the early hours, handcuffed her father and removed the terrified family in a blacked-out van to a detention centre.

Shocked by the brutal tactics employed, the schoolgirls set up their own campaign, petitioning the Home Office, meeting then First Minister Jack McConnell, and eventually forcing a change of policy and an end to dawn raids and the detention of children.

The Glasgow Girls are now young women, forging ahead in their own careers and lives. I have interviewed some of them, and remain in awe of their clear-sighted compassion and continued desire to speak up on behalf of those in need. Their voices are still strong. But the story was not just about them.

At the heart of a network to protect asylum seekers from the heavy-handed tactics employed by the Home Office, were the mighty Noreen Real and Jean Donnachie, grandmothers and neighbours, who decided they could not simply stand by and watch.

Risking criminal charges, they set up a dawn patrol at the top of the tower blocks. When they spotted the vans arriving, they called every asylum seeker in the building and told them to get out of their homes.

As the officials went up in the lifts, the asylum seekers went down the stairs, out the back door and into a local community centre where they hid until the threat was over.

Like I said, standing up and cheering. I'm doing it now.



Many believe Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell should have got the Nobel prize for physics for her extraordinary discovery of pulsars – but the award was given to her male supervisors. Now, first female president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, she remains an inspiration.

At Glasgow University, where she was the only woman in her physics class in the early 1960s, there was a tradition, she has said, "that when a woman entered the lecture hall, all the guys stamped, whistled, cat called and banged the desk."

The tale of her discovery is thrilling, involving years of manual labour building a giant radio receiver, months scanning stretches of paper, and her noticing of a reading that was jokingly named LGM, Little Green Men. These flashes, called pulsars, turned out to be new type of star, the neutron star.



I first came across Sam Ainsley's work at The Third Eye Centre and in the influential The Vigorous Imagination exhibition. It was 1987 and I was preparing my portfolio for Glasgow School of Art.

Sam was one of the influential tutors on GSA's Environmental Art course and cut a charismatic figure on campus and at private views with her sartorial leitmotifs – opaque red tights, gobstopper necklaces, bar shoes and blunt blonde bob.

I was lucky enough to be tutored by Sam for one brief blissful year before she founded the Masters in Fine Art course, where she nurtured and supported the fledgling careers of a multitude of Turner Prize winners.

Her warm but no nonsense manner made a huge impression and her constructive advice still shapes my creative processes today. Sam made you think, and you can't ask for more than that.



Born in Nairn, but brought up in Dorset, upper-class Scot Mairi Chisholm was one of the two women who, during the First World War became known as "the Madonnas of Pervyse".

Just north of Ypres she and her friend, Elsie Knocker, set up a first aid outpost in a cellar behind the Belgian lines.

They went there independently, and using funds raised by themselves, thinking they could help most there. These two women got as far forward into the frontlines as any women did during the war.

A skilled motorcycle racer, Chisholm had been recruited as an ambulance driver after a doctor saw her nipping through London traffic. By the end of the war Chisholm had been gas-poisoned and was left with a weak heart, which she said was the result of "humping men on my back".




To many of us, she was just Margo – no surname needed. The conviction politician who stole Govan from Labour for the SNP in the 1973, and had a chequered relationship with her party that ultimately led to her parting ways and becoming an independent candidate, was one of the most compelling politicians of the pre-referendum period.

Fervently socialist, passionate, charismatic, and willing to put herself on the line, it was her personality as well as the causes she put herself behind that made her stand out. Among them were the protection of sex workers, and the very personal assisted suicide bill, in part driven by her diagnosis with Parkinson's.

In 2014, just five months before the independence referendum, she died of the disease. Her passing, said her husband, Jim Sillars, represented the loss of "the brightest light in the Scottish political firmament."



Few of us thankfully will ever have to find out how we would cope in the face of our worst fears. Bea Jones is a mother whose daughter was taken from her in appalling circumstances. Moira had been minutes from home when she was abducted and murdered in Queen's Park, Glasgow.

Her death near broke her mother. Somehow, in the depth of her grief, she realised that other families going through similar pain were struggling to afford all the unexpected expenses a sudden death can cause.

In her daughter's memory, Bea Jones set up The Moira Fund, to help others like her family. She is a woman whose grief is a constant burden to her and yet she hasn't buckled under its weight, but carries it with her as she forges on, trying to make the system better for others.



Although at the senior end the legal profession remains a male-dominated one, women have been blazing a trail in the law for the best part of the last century.

At the forefront of the movement was Margaret Kidd, who in 1923 became the first woman to be admitted to the Faculty of Advocates, which at that point had been in existence for almost 400 years.

She continued to serve as an inspiration throughout her long career, becoming the first female advocate to appear before both the House of Lords and a House of Commons Select Committee, the UK's first female King's Counsel and the first woman in Scotland to become a Sherriff Principal.




Tenacity is the word that springs to mind when describing Samantha Kinghorn. What the 22-year-old has achieved in a sporting arena over the past six years is nothing short of impressive.

First, let's rewind to 2010. Kinghorn, then 14, was paralysed from the waist down in an accident on her family's farm near the Berwickshire village of Gordon.

Not long after being discharged from hospital in 2011, Kinghorn went to a taster session being held at the Red Star Athletics Club in Glasgow where she enquired about trying wheelchair racing.

Her now coach Ian Mirfin, having been involved in para-sport athletics for more than three decades, knew that only a select few followed through. He told her to think about it and let him know.

Some months later, Mirfin received an email of the blue. It was from Kinghorn. The message was succinct and clear: "Hey, remember we spoke? That's me ready to go now."

Since 2012 Kinghorn – who competes in the T53 class of wheelchair racing – has enjoyed a meteoric climb through the international ranks, including winning three European golds and racing at both the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Last summer, she made history by becoming a double world champion and set a new 200m record. Kinghorn then made her debut in the Chicago Marathon in October – the equivalent of Usain Bolt swapping sprints for long-distance running – and beat the Scottish record by almost 20 minutes.

In April, Kinghorn will represent Team Scotland at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, competing over 1500m and in the marathon. Yet, for all her stellar achievements to date, you get the feeling this remarkable young woman is only just getting started.

Even bigger things are still to come.



The expertise of Professor Dame Sue Black has been crucial to many high-profile criminal cases, including the conviction of Scotland's largest paedophile ring in 2009.

Black is director of the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification (CAHID) and co-director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science, both based at Dundee University.

She headed the British Forensic Team's exhumation of mass graves in Kosovo in 1999 and assisted disaster victim identification following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.

Black has spearheaded the development of new forensic techniques, such as identification of child abusers through vein and skin patterns of the hand and other parts of the anatomy. Her work led to the conviction of Richard Huckle, the UK's most prolific paedophile, in 2016.



The indomitable Lady Agnes Randolph successfully defended her home, Dunbar Castle, from a siege led by the Earl of Salisbury in 1338.

Her husband, Patrick, 9th Earl of Dunbar and 2nd Earl of March, was off fighting elsewhere, leaving "Black Agnes" – as she was known for her dark hair and complexion – with only servants and a few guards.

The Earl, an English commander, didn't expect much of a fight. He would leave five months later, with tail firmly between his legs.

His troops were frequently taunted by Agnes, who ridiculed their efforts and would employ her maids to dust down the ramparts with dainty white handkerchiefs after an attack. A battering ram driven into the doors was smashed by a boulder Agnes had dropped from above.

Almost 700 hundred years later the triumph of a bold Scotswoman over an army lives on.




One of the great novelists of the 20th century and one of the truly global figures in modern Scottish literature, Dame Muriel Spark was brave, bold and true to herself in both life and art.

Still underrated in her home country, the Edinburgh-born writer, who died in 2006, is best known for her 1961 masterpiece The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

But there is so much more to Spark as her 22 novels and countless short stories, essays and poems – which still seem so fresh and relevant today – reveal.

Few can carry off such simultaneous wit, humour and profundity, and fewer still can do all this with such humanity. She was the creme de la creme.


Who are the women who have inspired and influenced you? Let us know by emailing susan.swarbrick@heraldandtimes.co.uk