The husband of a prominent women's rights campaigner who died suddenly has said she was proof that "one person can make a difference" in a touching tribute as she was honoured by a Scots university.

Emma Ritch, who was Executive Director of the policy think tank Engender, suddenly passed away in July this year.

She dedicated much of her life to advancing feminism in Scotland and was a member of a number of influential organisations shaping policy on women's rights both in her native country and across the globe. 

She was awarded a posthumous doctorate by Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) today in recognition of her outstanding contribution to gender policy and advancing women’s rights and economic status.

“If you doubt one person can make a difference, Emma did it every day," said her husband, Kenny Ritch.


"Driving national equality policy change, inspiring a life of work in others by taking the time to encourage and make sure their voices were heard, picking a friend up when the world is unkind.

"She did all of these things (often wearing stripy socks) and none were more important than the other.

“I know she would congratulate all of you on achieving your degrees and wish you all, and of course everyone in the audience today, future success.”

Ms Ritch was a regular guest lecturer at GCU and contributor to modules on gender; women work and income; human rights; and public policy.

She was also a strong supporter of the University’s WISE Research Centre and a committed advocate for feminist economics, held in high regard in feminist policy and politics in Scotland and internationally.

Also receiving an honorary degree was Paralympian rugby star Michael Kerr, who was recognised with a Doctor of Science for his sporting achievements and support for the development of sport for athletes with a disability.

A World Champion and Double Paralympian (2012 and 2016) in wheelchair rugby, the athlete suffered an accident when he was younger that led to him becoming wheelchair-bound.

He has since created the Michael Kerr Active Project, a charity to help other people who have suffered life-changing injury.

He said: “It’s a massive honour to have your achievements recognised in this way."