Shock and sadness as tributes are paid to influential figure in Scotland's third sector
First minister Nicola Sturgeon is among those to have paid tribute to Emma Ritch, executive director of Engender, who died suddenly on Friday.
The organisation said it will shut its offices for a week as staff come to terms with the loss of their "brilliant" director.
The feminist membership organisation said Emma had dedicated her career to “realising women’s equality and rights” and had made Scotland “a better place for women”.
Engender said: “Emma has been hugely influential in the movement in Scotland, through both her paid work and in a number of voluntary roles.
“Her intelligence and insight, kindness, and passionate feminism have made Scotland a better place for women, as well as enriching the lives of those who knew her personally.
“Emma’s death is a huge shock to us all.
“We know that many Engender members and supporters will be keen to share their tributes to her life and work, and we are working on ways to facilitate this. For now, please know that we are sending all of our love to Emma’s family and friends, and anybody struggling with this news.”
Nicola Sturgeon said: "This is dreadful and devastating news. Emma was such a force for good - a passionate advocate for women’s rights and a champion of justice and equality. She was also a cherished friend to many. She will be missed beyond words. Sending love to her family, friends and colleagues."
Labour MSP Pam Duncan-Glancy tweeted: “Absolutely heartbreaking. Throughout my time Emma was an incredible source of encouragement & support.
"She was 100% committed to intersectional equality & did all she could to amplify disabled women’s voices.
“An outstanding feminist & a simply wonderful human being. Emma’s legacy in human rights and equality will live & shine on, & will inspire women & girls for decades, but she will be sorely missed by all who knew & loved her. May she rest in power."
Scottish Labour MSP and one-time leadership candidate Monica Lennon Tweeted: "Heartbroken to hear this awful news. My thoughts are with Emma’s loved ones, the Engender team and the many people who admired Emma and were lucky enough to know her.
"Thank you for everything, dear Emma. We will miss you."
Before Engender, Emma was manager of Close the Gap - which campaigns to improve women's status in the workplace - for nine years, and worked extensively on women’s labour market participation.
She also sat on a range of external working groups including the joint strategic board of Equally Safe, the Scottish National Action Plan for human rights leadership forum, the advisory group of the Scottish Women’s Rights Centre and the Scottish Women’s Budget Group.
She chaired the Rape Crisis Scotland board, was vice-convener of the board of Close the Gap, and was also a member of the Scotland Committee of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.