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Chrystal Macmillan honoured in lecture

The disproportionate lack of women in elected office is to be the subject of the inaugural Chrystal Macmillan Lecture.

The talk will be delivered by Professor Pippa Norris, the McGuire Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and winner of this year’s Johan Skytte Prize, the most prestigious prize within political science.

Professor Norris’ lecture, Gender Equality in Elected Office: Beyond Quotas, is the first of an annual series of talks in honour of Chrystal Macmillan.

The Life of Chrystal Macmillan

Macmillan was the first ever woman to graduate from the University of Edinburgh in science, in 1896.

She went on to become a lawyer, and in 1908 made history again when she became the first woman to plead before the House of Lords, presenting her case that female university graduates should be given the right to vote.

Between 1913 and 1920 Macmillan was secretary of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance between 1913 and 1920 and helped organise the International Congress of Women in The Hague in 1915. She was called to the English Bar in 1924, one of the first group of women admitted.

Gender equality targets missed

Professor Norris’ lecture continues in that trail blazing spirit. She will draw upon her research in comparing public opinion and elections, democratic institutions and cultures around the world.

In 1995, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women set targets for women to occupy 30 percent of decision-making positions.

Yet today only two dozen countries have achieved this. Professor Norris will ask why, and suggest a plan to achieve gender-equality in elected office.

Honorary Degree

The lecture begins at 6pm in the Meadows Lecture Theatre, Teviot Place, on Monday 21 November.

Professor Norris, who taught at the University prior to Harvard, will also be presented with an honorary degree during her visit.

The first of a series of Chrystal Macmillan Scholarships for PhD research will also be launched at the event.