Just over 100 years ago – on 6th February 1918 – the Representation of the People Act came into force in the UK, allowing women to vote for the first time. Or rather, women could vote if they were over the age of 30 and occupied a house or were married to someone who did. The same Act allowed all men over the age of 21 to vote, whether they owned property or not. It was not until 1928 that all women were allowed to vote. Historically speaking, this is not so long ago, although it is only three years since women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to vote for the first time and stand as candidates.
According to the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report, based on data from 144 countries, gender equality is 217 years away. It seems that, globally at least, we have gone backwards – in 2016 it was reported that gender parity was 170 years away. This year’s International Women’s Day theme to press for progress has therefore never been so relevant.