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An inspiration to us all; To mark International Women's Day, here are three females who deserve loads of praise.

Byline: BY KAREN STEWART

NEARLY a century after women first started fighting for their rights, International Women's Day is still going strong.

Celebrated on March 8 every year, the worldwide events give millions of females the chance to reflect on past achievements as well as focusing on what still needs to be done to achieve equality.

Fighting discrimination, low pay, segregation and oppression, women have managed to make their mark on the world - with Scotland being no exception to the rule.

We have seen authors, musicians, politicians, law makers and entrepreneurs who've made a name for themselves at home and abroad.

Here, we celebrate three of the most successful women in Scotland.

JK ROWLING

An inspiration to single mums everywhere, JK Rowling has become an international best selling author through sheer grit and determination.

In 1994, JK - otherwise known as Jo - ditched her teaching job to write Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone while living off benefits.

Taking her toddler daughter Jessica to cafes in Edinburgh, the young mum would scribble down as much as possible while her little girl was asleep.

Ayear later, the book was finished but rejected by all 12 publishing houses who were sent the manuscript.

It took another year before JK got her big break and the book was eventually published through Bloomsbury.

Since then, she has written a further six books and the series has been translated into 65 different languages.

JK has also traded in her pokey flat in Auld Reekie for a house in the up-market Merchiston area of the city, but also owns a 19th century estate house on the banks of the River Tay and a Georgian house in Kensington, London, worth pounds 4.5million.

MARGO MACDONALD

Political stalwart Margo knows all about fighting for rights.

The veteran MSP, who has been politically active for more than 35 years, is now campaigning for the right to choose where and when she will end her life.

Still a force to be reckoned with in the Scottish Parliament, the 66-year-old has suffered from Parkinson's for more than 13 years. But instead of waiting for the condition to strip her of her dignity, Margo wants assisted suicide to become available in the UK.

Starting her career off as the blonde bombshell who won the Govan byelection for the SNP back in 1973, she is now an independent MSP who has been re-elected to the Parliament twice - in 2003 and again in 2007.

Her Bill to introduce a new Dutchbased system, which would allow assisted suicide, is due to be put to the Parliament later this year. Married to former politician Jim Sillars, she is bravely battling not only with fellow politicians, but a degenerative disease which will eventually wreak havoc with her body and leave her dependent on others.

ELISH ANGIOLINI

The law graduate from Govan, Glasgow, made history when she became Scotland's first female Solicitor General.

Her appointment in 2001 stunned the legal world. Not only did she become the first female but the first solicitor as opposed to advocate to be chosen for Scotland's top legal role.

She admitted it was "a major step forward, perhaps even revolutionary".

Initially, it was thought that Elish would instead be known as Lady Advocate, however, she retained the title of Lord Advocate.

Married with two children, she spent much of her working life with the procurator fiscal service before winning the powerful role.

She served as Deputy Procurator Fiscal for six years before working for the Crown Office in 1992. In 1995 she was appointed Assistant Procurator Fiscal in Glasgow and then regional prosecutor for the Grampian, Highlands and Islands in 2000.

Despite never actually practising as an advocate, and not being qualified to appear before the High Court, she achieved the senior post.

More recently, Elish has fought to improve the court experience for vulnerable witnesses, particularly rape victims. In 2008 she announced a shake-up of the way in which sex offence cases will be handled.

Next year she will celebrate her 50th birthday.

'Taking her daughter to cafes, JK scribbled down as much as possible while her little girl was asleep'

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THREE SUPERWOMEN: Margo MacDonald, Elish Angiolini and JK Rowling have all had successful careers and are an inspiration to other women
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 3, 2009
Words:712
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