THE suffragist movement in Clackmannanshire had a pioneer at its helm, who did not approve of any violence or militant tactics many suffragettes advocated for women gaining the vote.

A change in the law in 1907 allowed women to be elected to town councils, meaning that Mrs Lavinia Malcolm of Dollar, wife of Dollar Academy English teacher Richard Malcolm, became the first elected woman councillor in Scotland on November 6 that year.

Mrs Malcolm had been born in Forres around 1847, daughter of an ironmonger, and came to Dollar to visit relatives when she fell in love with the teacher.

Following the death of their only child, Dicky, when he was eight years old, the Malcolms threw themselves into politics.

Dollar had become a police burgh in 1891 and Richard served as provost from 1896-9.

However, it was a group of Richard’s friends from the Liberal Association who put her name forward and she was duly elected to both town and parish councils. Mrs Malcom also took up a position on the local school board in 1909.

In 1913, she presented the provost’s gold chain to James B Green, but following his resignation over the purchase of a village hall the same year, it fell on Mrs Malcolm to takeover and she was unanimously elected. This meant she was the first ever lady provost in Scotland.

Many years before, her grandfather, a leather merchant, had been provost of Forres for a time. This notwithstanding, she was also one of the first women to be appointed justice of the peace.

At the Convention of Scottish Burghs in 1914 Mrs Malcolm submitted a report on the work of the National Association for the Prevention of Infant Mortality and the Welfare of Infancy and was one of the first women to attend the convention.

Although there were improvements in infant mortality rates, further improvements in housing, sanitary conditions, and a living wage, she said, were required.

Re-elected after World War I, she had to step down after serving six years, and Green took over once more. She died the following year, but her place in history was secured. She is buried in the local parish churchyard.

Women finally got the vote in 1918, but only for those over 30 and who owned property.

It was not until 1928 with the Representation of the People Act that they were given the same voting rights as men when it was extended to all women over the age of 21.