We are devastated to hear of Emma’s passing. On behalf of the University of Edinburgh’s Gender Politics Research Group, we extend our condolences to Emma’s colleagues at Engender, her partner Kenny, and her family and friends.
Emma was a true force in the Scottish women’s movement – brilliant, incisive, determined, but always approaching her work with a glint of humour. Gender politics researchers at Edinburgh have worked with Engender since its inception – and it was always a delight to work with Emma on research projects, panels, and events. You knew if you saw your name next to hers that you were in good hands (and that you would have a good chat afterwards!). And she was unfailingly kind and generous with her time – giving advice, bringing people together, making connections – whether formally in policy spaces, or informally over a cuppa and cake (where she memorably let one of us – on maternity leave at the time – rant for an extended period about the reduction of buggy spaces on buses, then gave us reams of advice about how to get things done!). The big things that she did matter immensely, but it was also the little things – the note she’d send you, for example, in a private message during a formal Zoom meeting asking how your kids were.
It is hard to find the words to capture this loss – for those who loved her, and for the wider movement. Even speaking of Emma in the past tense seems an impossibility. Her legacy is immense – envisioning a different, and feminist, future for Scotland. The tributes that we have seen over the past several days reflect the far-reaching impact that she had on so many people, and their commitment to upholding her legacy and continuing to push for change.
We are grateful to have known her. Rest in power, Emma.
Meryl Kenny, Fiona Mackay and Claire Duncanson (on behalf of the University of Edinburgh’s Gender Politics Research Group)