Emma Ritch: A Personal Tribute

On Monday 12th July I, like many, heard of the sudden death of Emma Ritch, the Executive Director of Engender. The shock, disbelief and grief are palpable, numbing.

Emma Ritch
Emma Ritch, photo by Beth Chalmers

I have worked at Glasgow Women’s Library for a long time, and known Engender since their inception – our organisations set up around the same time in the early 1990s. I’ve also known Emma for a long time too, long before she became Engender’s Executive Director.

Whenever I attended events, conferences or meetings and saw Emma’s name on the list of speakers or attendees, I felt joy at knowing we would have a catch up and a laugh. Emma was my ‘go to’ woman when I needed professional advice or support. She wouldn’t hesitate to have a coffee with me or respond to DMs. When Glasgow Women’s Library first experienced a social media ‘pile-on’ it was Emma I turned to – sadly, she and Engender endure such things regularly and we were able to share our experiences and, I hope, give mutual support. She helped me to be able to handle these distressing situations, and support the team I work with to do the same. Only two weeks ago, Emma was the one I reached out to again for some advice on governance.

Emma loved and supported GWL, and it was always a joy to see her at our events. If my memory serves me right, she and a group of friends were champions at our last ‘Herland: The Redstockinged Women’s Quiznight. Happy memories.

Brilliant, witty, kind, generous and feminist to the core, there are not enough words to describe Emma, but the many public tributes show the love and respect people had for her.

Dear Emma Ritch, I hope you know what a difference you made to our lives, how you made Scotland a better place, how grateful we are to you, and how much we will miss you.

On behalf of our entire team at GWL, I am sending our thoughts, love and respect to Emma’s family, friends and colleagues.

Sue John

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