WHS Essay Prize

For a new essay in the field of Scottish women’s or gender history

Women’s History Scotland awards a bi-annual prize of £100 for a new essay in the field of Scottish women’s and/or gender history.


The prize was established in 2000 to celebrate the work of Leah Leneman, one of the foremost historians of women in Scotland. A trail-blazer for women’s history in Scotland, she produced innovative studies on the women’s suffrage movement, on women in medicine, and on sexuality and divorce in the early modern and modern periods.

Women’s History Scotland wishes to acknowledge the important work of Leah Leneman and to encourage new women’s & gender historians to publish their work and to continue researching and writing in the field of Scottish women’s and gender history.

Forms of work that may be submitted include: undergraduate dissertation, postgraduate work (e.g. Masters dissertation or chapter of PhD), a piece of original research by an independent scholar.


  • The essay must be principally focused on some aspect of Scottish women’s or gender history but may deal with any time period.
  • No area of Scottish women’s or gender history is excluded.
  • The submission should be written in English and in a form suitable for publication.
  • It should be between 8,000 and 10,000 words in length. Longer or shorter submissions will not be considered.
  • The essay should not be under consideration for publication elsewhere.

To be eligible to submit an essay to the competition the candidate must not be in permanent academic employment.

The essay will be considered by a panel of judges set up by the Steering Committee of Women’s History Scotland and the prize will be presented at one of the Scottish Women’s History Network conferences. The winning essay may be put forward to be considered for publication in the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies.

Entry Details

Queries about eligibility of the entrant or essay topic should be addressed to Deborah Simonton (dsimonton@language.sdu.dk), English Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Engstien 1, 6000 Kolding, Denmark.

An electronic copy (PDF) of the completed essay should be sent to Deborah Simonton at the above address by Friday 21 December 2018.

Past Winners

  • 2016: Theresa Mackay, ‘Women at work: Innkeeping in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, 1790-1840’.
  • 2014: Alice Glaze, ‘Women and Kirk Discipline: Prosecution, Negotiation and the Limits of Control’.
  • 2013: Ellen Filor, ‘Of manly enterprise, and female taste!’ Single Women as Sustainers of Empire in the Scottish Lowlands, c. 1790-1850’.
  • 2010: Nel Whiting, ‘Gender, class and nationality in David Allan’s ‘small, Domestic and conversation’ works’.
  • 2008: Sarah Browne, ‘Finding Their Anger: Consciousness-Raising and the Women’s Liberation Movement in Scotland’.
  • 2006: Cathryn Spence, ‘Woman and Business in Sixteenth Century Edinburgh’
  • 2004: Katie Barclay, ‘Representations of Marriage in Texts Published in Scotland, 1650-1750’.
  • 2003: Katherine Glover, ‘The Female Mind: Scottish Enlightenment, Femininity and the World of Letters. A Case-Study of the Women of the Fletcher of Saltoun Family in the mid-Eighteenth Century’.
  • 2002: Rosalind Carr. ‘Transgressing Womanhood: Gender and the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745’.
  • 2001: Linda Fleming, ‘Welcome to Scotland: the Experiences of Jewish Immigrant Women in Glasgow c.1880-1939’.
  • 2000: Kay Blackwell, ‘Women on Red Clydeside: an Invisible Workforce’.