It is 100 years ago today that women finally got the vote. A small and select bunch of women at least. The moment has made me reflect and question how far we have come as a society since then.
I was lucky that in the 1970s my parents brought me up knowing that I could do whatever I wanted. There was no gender issue. If I had wanted to do a role traditionally seen as a women’s role I know I would have had the same support as if I had wanted to do the opposite.
My upbringing was one where I felt able at primary school to challenge my teachers because I wanted to play football and be on the school team. They let me do it even though I proved I would make a better sports reporter than player!
When I went into my chosen career first as a journalist and then into PR my gender was never an issue. At least not to me and the majority of employers although back in the day I remember interviews where I was asked if I was going to start a family and more worryingly how far I would be prepared to go to get a story.
Almost 19 years ago that work took me into the police and as an ambitious young (ish) person I raised and few eyebrows if I challenged senior police officers who back then were usually men.
But for as many incidents and issues I faced there were many more supporters and people encouraging me onwards.
The world has moved on positively in lots of ways but there is still a long, long way to go. I see evidence of sexism around me everyday in society. I see young girls feeling boxed into certain roles and behaving in a particular way. I still see too few women in senior positions in organisations and in leadership roles across the PR profession.
It is disappointing that we still have to fight for equal pay, need a women in PR organisation, and have to discuss the lack of women in boardrooms.
One hundred years ago the battles may have been more fundamental and about what we see as basic human rights but the work is far from over. I hope that we can continue to show the spirit those courageous women a century ago had and challenge and make changes that improve the situation for future generations of women.