Battle for equality continues

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This week much is rightly being made of the 100th anniversary of women officially being given the vote.

This is a milestone worth commemorating, especially as it comes at a time when the rights of women and girls are being debated as fiercely as they have been for a long time.

The centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which not only gave the vote to women but also to millions of men who had previously been barred from doing so, has been marked in many ways.

One such tribute is a commemorative 50p piece, which was unveiled by the great granddaughter of leading suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.

Anniversaries are all well and good and have always keep us journalists gainfully employed but perhaps their most important purpose is to offer the wider public a chance for reflection.

If you cannot learn from the victories, not to mention mistakes, of the past then there is little point in marking these milestones at all.

It is fair to say that Britain in 2018 is a far better place for women and girls than it was in 1918, yet there is still much wrong with modern society.

It isn’t right that so many women have been subjected to sexual harassment or have been put into situations with which they are uncomfortable.

It isn’t right that there are a significant number of professions where women remain grossly underrepresented.

It isn’t right that women still feel that they must choose between their careers or having a family.

I say this, not as a beard- stroking, skinny latte- supping pseudo-feminist, but as the father of a daughter who, in the next eight to 10 years, will go from being a little girl, whose major concerns centre around what she will spend her pocket money on, to a teenager who will be stepping out into the world.

Like every parent, I want her to feel safe and have the same chance as every other young person.

Our ancestors fought wars and political battles to ensure that our children – both girls and boys – are afforded the same opportunities.