Famous Scottish Women

You will undoubtedly find a big list of inspiring men who made their mark in the Scottish history. But the more you delve into their history; you’d find that there are incredible stories of Scottish women who deserve the same spotlight for their bravery. Women like Elise Inglis, a pioneering Scottish doctor who helped raise thousands to set hospitals that cater to women’s health, are what make up most of their history books! The Scottish women are known for their willingness to use whatever small talents that they possess for the greater good of somehow putting their country on the map. Their burning desire to succeed and their commitment to do whatever it takes to shape their lives and the life of their future generations’ is what makes the Scottish women stand out!

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Scottish Women

 1 
Mary, Queen of Scots
(Queen of Scotland (1542 - 1567))

Mary, Queen of Scots
46
Birthdate: December 8, 1542
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Linlithgow Palace, Linlithgow, Scotland
Died: February 8, 1587

Mary, Queen of Scots was the ruler of Scotland till 24 July 1567. After an uprising against her, Mary sought protection from her first cousin, Queen Elizabeth I of England. However, the Queen perceived her as a threat and kept Mary in confinement for eighteen and a half years. Ultimately Mary was beheaded for plotting to assassinate the Queen.

 2 
Karen Gillan
(Actress)

Karen Gillan
18
Birthdate: November 28, 1987
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Inverness, Scotland

Karen Gillan is one of the most popular and successful actresses from Scotland. She is best known for playing Nebula and Ruby Roundhouse in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and Jumanji film series respectively. Also a filmmaker, she wrote and directed The Party's Just Beginning, apart from acting in the film. She is also a philanthropist.

 3 
Annie Lennox
(Singer-songwriter of)

Annie Lennox
16
Birthdate: January 25, 1954
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland
Known for her androgynous look, four-time Grammy-winning artist Annie Lennox became an international sensation with Eurythmics, a duo she formed with Dave Stewart, delivering hits such as Sweet Dreams. Her song Into the West from The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King received an Academy Award.
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 4 
Rose Leslie
(Actress)

Rose Leslie
35
Birthdate: February 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Aberdeen, Scotland

Rose Leslie is a popular Scottish actress who gained international fame after portraying Ygritte in one of the most popular TV series of all time, Game of Thrones. Thanks to her popularity, she serves as an icon and inspiration to several aspiring Scottish actresses and models.

 5 

Kelly Macdonald
12
Birthdate: February 23, 1976
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Kelly Macdonald is a Scottish actress known for playing Diane Coulston in the 1996 black comedy-drama film, Trainspotting. Kelly Macdonald received critical appreciation for portraying Gina in the made-for-television drama film, The Girl in the Café, for which she won the Primetime Emmy Award. Eastwood High School, where she studied, has a theatre and drama studio named in her honor.

 6 
Susan Boyle
(Singer)

Susan Boyle
16
Birthdate: April 1, 1961
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Blackburn, West Lothian, Scotland
Susan Boyle shot to fame with her rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables in an audition for Britain's Got Talent. Her first album, I Dreamed a Dream, was the best-selling debut album in U.K. history. She has also performed at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant.

 7 

Michelle Gomez
3
Birthdate: November 23, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
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 8 
Mary II of England
(Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland (1689-1694))

Mary II of England
5
Birthdate: April 30, 1662
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 28, 1694

Mary II of England was Queen of England, Ireland, and Scotland from 1689 to 1694. Although she co-reigned along with her husband William III of England, she also took major decisions by herself whenever William was abroad. Mary has been portrayed in films, such as Orlando and England, My England.

 9 
Emeli Sandé
(R&B Singer Best Remebered for her Album 'Our Vision of Events')

Emeli Sandé
3
Birthdate: March 10, 1987
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, England

 10 
Nikki Cross
(Wrestler)

Nikki Cross
3
Birthdate: April 21, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Known as Nikki Cross and Nikki A.S.H., Scottish wrestler Nicola Glencross had been a 3-time WWE Women’s Tag Team Champion. She is best known for her victory at the 2021 Money in the Bank Ladder Match. She has a master’s degree in history and is also a certified fitness trainer.

 11 
Margaret Tudor
(Queen Consort of Scotland)

Margaret Tudor
3
Birthdate: November 28, 1489
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Westminster Palace, London, Middlesex, Kingdom of England
Died: October 18, 1541
Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England, served as the Queen consort of Scotland, as wife of James IV, from 1503 to 1513. Following her husband’s death, she served as the regent till 1515. She was the great-grandmother of Scottish king James VI, or James I of England.

 12 
Nicola Sturgeon
(First Minister of Scotland)

Nicola Sturgeon
10
Birthdate: July 19, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland

Nicola Sturgeon is a Scottish politician. Since 2014, Sturgeon has been serving as the leader of the Scottish National Party and first minister of Scotland. Being the first woman to serve in these positions, Nicola Sturgeon is seen as a major inspiration to women across Scotland.

 13 
Lauren Mayberry
(Vocalist and Percussionist of the Scottish Pop Band 'Chvrches')

Lauren Mayberry
2
Birthdate: October 7, 1987
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Lauren Mayberry is a Scottish singer, songwriter, and musician. Mayberry, who possesses a soprano singing voice, is the lead vocalist of the popular Scottish synth-pop band Chvrches, where she also plays keyboards and drums. One-third of the band, Mayberry co-produces and co-writes the songs along with Martin Doherty and Iain Cook. A vocal feminist, Mayberry runs the feminist collective, TYCI.

 14 
Mary of Guise
(Queen consort of Scotland (1538-42))

Mary of Guise
2
Birthdate: November 22, 1515
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Bar-le-Duc, France
Died: June 11, 1560
Mary of Guise, or Mary of Lorraine, was the regent of Scotland from 1554 until her death in 1542. She was the wife of King James V of Scotland and the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots. Her main objective was to maintain healthy ties between France and Scotland.

 15 
Ashley Jensen
(Actress)

Ashley Jensen
3
Birthdate: August 11, 1969
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

 16 
Laura Fraser
(Actress)

Laura Fraser
3
Birthdate: July 24, 1975
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 17 
Effie Gray
(Artist)

Effie Gray
4
Birthdate: May 7, 1828
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Perth, United Kingdom
Died: December 23, 1897

Effie Gray was a Scottish painter. She was married to draughtsman and watercolorist, John Ruskin, before leaving him to marry John Everett Millais. This popular love triangle has been depicted in several plays and films, including the 1912 silent movie, The Love of John Ruskin. After marrying Millais, Effie Gray had a major influence on his works.

 18 

Elizabeth de Burgh
0
Birthdate: 1284 AD
Birthplace: County Down, England
Died: October 27, 1327

Elizabeth de Burgh was the wife of Robert the Bruce and the queen consort of Scotland. Born to an advisor of Edward I of England, she spent most of her childhood at the English court. After the Scots were defeated by the English at Methven, she spent her days under house arrest.

 19 

Pollyanna McIntosh
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1979
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Scotland, UK

 20 
Lorraine Kelly
(Journalist and Television Presenter Known for Presenting the Television Programme on 'Gmtv', Lorraine)

Lorraine Kelly
0
Birthdate: November 30, 1959
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Lorraine Kelly is a Scottish journalist and TV presenter. She is also known for her charity work and has been a long-time supporter of the LGBT community. In the 2012 New Year Honours, Lorraine Kelly was appointed OBE for services to charity. In the 2020 Birthday Honours, she was promoted to CBE for services to journalism, broadcasting, and charity.

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 21 
Ruth Connell
(Actress)

Ruth Connell
4
Birthdate: April 20, 1979
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Falkirk, Scotland, UK

 22 
Georgia King
(Actress)

Georgia King
0
Birthdate: November 18, 1986
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Daughter of actor Jonathan Hyde and operatic soprano Isobel Buchanan, Georgia King initially worked at a cheese shop. She almost lost out on her debut role in Jane Eyre due to an appendix operation. Fans loved her in the series The New Normal and Vice Principals.

 23 
Kate Dickie
(Actress)

Kate Dickie
4
Birthdate: July 4, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: East Kilbride, Scotland

Kate Dickie is a Scottish actress known for playing important roles in television series like Tinsel Town and Game of Thrones. For her portrayal of Jackie in the 2006 thriller film Red Road, Dickie won a British Academy Scotland Award and a British Independent Film Award. She is also known for her association with the popular theatre company, Solar Bear.

 24 

Lindsay Duncan
3
Birthdate: November 7, 1950
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish actor Lindsay Duncan is known for her Tony- and Olivier Award-winning role in Private Lives. She came to be known as the star of many plays by playwright Harold Pinter. On TV, she has also played Barbara Douglas in G.B.H. and Servilia of the Junii in Rome.

 25 

Lena Zavaroni
4
Birthdate: November 4, 1963
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
Died: October 1, 1999

Scottish singer Lena Zavaroni is an example of how harmful unregulated childhood stardom can be. At 10, she became the youngest singer with a Top 10 album on the UK Albums Chart. However, after a lifelong battle with anorexia nervosa and depression, she died at 34, following a psychosurgical operation.

 26 
Phyllida Law
(Actress)

Phyllida Law
2
Birthdate: May 8, 1932
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

 27 
Elizabeth Fraser
(Singer-songwriter best known as the vocalist for the pioneering dream pop band Cocteau Twins)

Elizabeth Fraser
1
Birthdate: August 29, 1963
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Grangemouth, Scotland

Once described as “the voice of God,” Scottish singer Elizabeth Fraser gained fame as part of the dream pop band Cocteau Twins, known for its obscure lyrics and foreign words which were inserted in the songs because they sounded good. Sexually abused by her family members, she left home at 16

 28 
Gail Porter
(Scottish Television Personality, Former Model & Actress)

Gail Porter
2
Birthdate: March 23, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland

While she initially presented family and children’s shows, Gail Porter stunned everyone when a nude photo of her, which was part of an FHM campaign, was projected on the British Houses of Parliament. She was later diagnosed with alopecia and worked with charities to raise awareness about the condition.

 29 
Chloe Pirrie
(Actress)

Chloe Pirrie
1
Birthdate: August 25, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland

Scottish actress Chloe Pirrie rose to fame with her role in the miniseries, The Game. Since then, she has appeared in several TV shows and films, playing versatile roles. She began acting in school and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She won the Most Promising Newcomer at the British Independent Film Awards 2013.

 30 
Morven Christie
(Actress known for her roles in various TV shows and mini-series)

Morven Christie
1
Birthdate: September 1, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Helensburgh, Scotland

 31 
Joanne Calderwood
(Mixed Martial Artist)

Joanne Calderwood
1
Birthdate: December 23, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Scottish MMA fighter and Muay Thai champion Joanne Calderwood now competes for the UFC Women's Flyweight division. She was placed sixth on the UFC women's flyweight rankings in January 2021 and second on the World Professional Muaythai Federation rankings. She has also fought in India's Super Fight League.

 32 

Caitlin Blackwood
4
Birthdate: June 23, 2000
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Northern Ireland

 33 
Saint Margaret of Scotland
(English princess)

Saint Margaret of Scotland
0
Birthdate: 1045 AD
Birthplace: Hungary
Died: November 16, 1093

 34 

Marianna Palka
0
Birthdate: September 7, 1981
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

Scottish-born Marianna Palka is best known for her towering frame and her award-winning direction in the film Good Dick, which she also wrote and starred in. She has also gained fame with her critically acclaimed films TriBeCa Neds and Bitch. She inspired the Academy Award-shortlisted documentary The Lion's Mouth Opens.

 35 
Judy Murray
(Tennis coach from Scotland who became the captain of the British Fed Cup team in 2011)

Judy Murray
0
Birthdate: September 8, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bridge of Allan, Stirlingshire, Scotland

Apart from being the mother of tennis players Andy and Jamie Murray, Judy Murray is also a celebrated tennis coach and had initially coached both her sons. A talented tennis player in her youth, she now owns a charity, too. She was also seen in the dance reality show Strictly Come Dancing.

 36 
Andrea McLean
(Journalist)

Andrea McLean
0
Birthdate: October 5, 1969
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Born in Scotland, Andrea McLean was raised in the Caribbean. She later established herself as an award-winning journalist and broadcaster, known for her 13-year stint on Loose Women. She is also the bestselling author of books such as This Girl Is on Fire and Confessions of a Good Girl.

 37 
Gillian McKeith
(Nutritionist, Television presenter)

Gillian McKeith
1
Birthdate: September 28, 1959
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Perth

TV star and author Gillian McKeith is known for her pseudo-scientific theories, her sex pills, and her diet plans. The host of shows such as Eat Yourself Sexy, McKeith was warned by the ASA to not call herself a “doctor” in her ads. She campaigned against the vaccine during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 38 
Mary Somerville
(Mathematician, Linguist, Translator, Astronomer, Scientist)

Mary Somerville
1
Birthdate: December 26, 1780
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Jedburgh
Died: November 28, 1872

One of the two pioneering female honorary members of the Royal Astronomical Society, Mary Somerville was a 19th-century polymath and science writer. Though she specialized in math and astronomy, she was also well-versed in botany and geology. The Connection of the Physical Sciences remains her most notable work.

 39 

Katherine Grainger
2
Birthdate: November 12, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 40 
Dawn Steele
(Actress Who Played Ange Godard in BBC's Holby City)

Dawn Steele
1
Birthdate: December 11, 1975
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland

 41 
Piper Niven
(Professional wrestler)

Piper Niven
2
Birthdate: May 13, 1991
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ayrshire, Scotland

WWE wrestler Kimberly Benson, better known by her multiple ring names, such as Piper Niven, Doudrop, and Viper, initially hid her passion for wrestling, afraid that her friends would judge her for liking a “manly” sport. She later won many titles and has been the ICW Women's Champion twice.

 42 
Laura Muir
(Middle distance runner, Long-distance runner)

Laura Muir
1
Birthdate: May 9, 1993
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Inverness, Scotland, United Kingdom

Scottish runner Laura Muir scripted history by becoming the first athlete to earn 2 golds at 2 consecutive events at any European Indoor Championship. Not known to many, she is also a trained vet. She also won a silver at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Surprisingly, her clean diet bars coffee.

 43 
Kay Lee Ray
(Professional Wrestler)

Kay Lee Ray
1
Birthdate: August 11, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paisley, Scotland
WWE wrestler Kayleigh Rae, better known by her pseudonym, Kay Lee Ray, is as much known for her wrestling skills as for her scarlet hair. While she calls herself The Forever Champion, she has been an ICW Women’s champion three times, apart from being the longest-reigning NXT UK Women's champion.

 44 
Eddi Reader
(musician, singer, songwriter)

Eddi Reader
2
Birthdate: August 28, 1959
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Glasgow

 45 

Eilish McColgan
0
Birthdate: November 25, 1990
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dundee

Eilish McColgan is a British middle-distance athlete. She competes in the 3000 meters steeplechase and 5000 meters. She represented Great Britain at the 2012 Olympic Games and the 2016 Olympic Games. She won the Great South Run in Portsmouth in 2018. She has a degree in mathematics and accountancy from the University of Dundee. 

 46 
Adrienne Corri
(Former Actress role in A Clockwork Orange (1971))

Adrienne Corri
0
Birthdate: November 13, 1931
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died: March 13, 2016

 47 
Williamina Fleming
(Astronomer)

Williamina Fleming
1
Birthdate: May 15, 1857
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dundee, Scotland
Died: May 21, 1911

Born in Scotland, Williamina Fleming moved to the U.S. with her husband, where she began working as a housekeeper for Harvard Observatory director Edward C. Pickering. Pickering secured her a job at the observatory, and Fleming went on to establish a classification and cataloguing system for stars.

 48 

Julie Wilson Nimmo
0
Birthdate: 1972 AD
Birthplace: East Kilbride

 49 
Liz McColgan
(Athlete)

Liz McColgan
1
Birthdate: May 24, 1964
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dundee

Olympic silver medalist Liz McColgan had apparently started training at age 12. The former British track and field athlete secured her first major win representing the University of Alabama at the NCAA Indoor Mile Championship. She is also two-time Commonwealth winner, apart from being a one-time world champion.

 50 
Ali Smith
(Writer)

Ali Smith
0
Birthdate: August 24, 1962
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Inverness, Scotland

Born to working-class parents in Scotland, Ali Smith grew up to earn a PhD from the University of Cambridge. While teaching at the University of Strathclyde, she developed chronic fatigue and took a break to write. Known for books such as Autumn, she often collaborates with her partner Sarah Wood.

Famous Scottish women like Flora MacDonald, who played a minor role in the American Revolution, Katharine Marjory who was a self-proclaimed fighter against International cruelty, to Gay Grossart, the painter, Scottish women have proved that they are second to none. Read on to learn more about such incredible Scottish women.