RUTH Davidson was blazing a trail for feminism at the annual gathering of the global elites at Davos last week. We know that for sure because she told us so herself.

Writing in The Scotsman, she described how she put her own professed “cynicism to one side” and can now see the good that comes out of “Davos’s annual jamboree”. She explained that she had been a guest speaker at a fringe meeting organised by Women in the World, an organisation founded by Tina Brown, who rose to media stardom after editing the British upper-class fashion and lifestyle magazine Tatler at the age of 25.

Women in the World’s inaugural summit in 2010 was attended by, among others, Queen Rania of Jordan, Christine Lagarde – the managing director of the International Monetary Fund — Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright, who was Secretary of State under Bill Clinton.

Ruth argues that that such organisations are necessary to put the case for gender equality and human rights. She contends that we need more women in positions of power in the boardroom because it makes businesses more profitable and pushes up productivity. She argues for more flexible working so that women with careers and families can reach the top.

Now I’m not averse to the world being run by fewer men and more women. It’s apparent that, so far, after a millennium and more of male monopoly over the power structures of society, men have made a hash of it. Despite mind-boggling leaps forward in science, education, communications, transport and productivity, the world is a dysfunctional place to be in the 21st century. That a guy with the attention span of a gnat and a penchant for grabbing women “by the pussy” can ascend to the most powerful position in the world kind of sums it all up.

But we have moved on in some ways. These days, most of our political leaders — whatever their private thoughts — would not dare to publicly suggest that men are born to lead and women to take care of the babies. Even Trump, who threw every misogynistic slur in the dictionary that he could at Hillary Clinton during the presidential election, stopped short at suggesting that her gender rendered her biologically unsuitable for the White House.

The struggle for gender equality has not been won — but it’s a rapidly accelerating bandwagon that every ambitious Western politician is desperate to board.

But Ruth’s vision of gender equality appears to be restricted to the Alpine mountain tops surrounding Davos. Her own party policies make sure most women who don’t breathe the rarefied air of the high summits are, along with their children, becoming poorer and more powerless. Instead of reaching towards 21st-century equality, the mass of ordinary women are being dragged back to the 1950s.

Women have borne 86 per cent of the burden of “austerity” – by March last year £79 billion had been swiped from them, compared to £13bn from men. Can anyone take Ruth Davidson seriously when she refuses to challenge the two-child benefit cap and the rape clause?

While Ruth was swanning around the swanky conference rooms and high-class restaurants of Davos, the End Child Poverty coalition published figures showing that in four constituencies in the two biggest cities of the UK, London and Birmingham, more than half of children are growing up in poverty. In Glasgow Central, 45 per cent of weans share the same bleak prospects and in 25 UK constituencies, 45 per cent of children are officially poor.

While women like Ruth batter at the doors of the global institutions, most women here are battling against a rapidly widening poverty gap under the stewardship of Ruth Davidson’s party. Tory policies are the very engine room of inequality.

Poverty across the UK’s poorest constituencies has shot up by between six and 11 percentage points under Tory rule. Among the most desperately deprived is Bethnal Green and Bow, a 10-minute walk from the City of London where trillions of pounds change hands every day and the streets are lined by Lamborghinis and Maseratis.

So, forgive me my cynicism, Ruth. For your idea of gender equality is that privileged men and women should divide up the icing 50-50 and grab most of the rest of the cake for themselves, leaving crumbs for the poorest. It’s not so much the Great British Bake Off as the Great British Rip Off.

Anyway, enough about cakes. What I really want to talk about is class. It’s the word that dare not speak its name in polite circles, the identity badge that’s not so cool to wear. We’re a long way from achieving real-life, practical equality in action based on gender, race, or lesbian, gay, and transgender rights. But every politician of every mainstream party in Scotland and the UK is agreed that we need to strive for equality in these spheres. Even Tories like Ruth Davidson are prepared to sing their commitment to equality in these areas across the Alpine hillsides like Julie Andrews in full flow.

But when it comes to class, rampant inequality is socially acceptable. Indeed, it’s positively encouraged by the entire Conservative Party, most of the mainstream media across the UK and a sizeable chunk of the Labour Party too. And while some in the in the SNP – notably Mhari Black and Scotland’s Minister for Social Security Jeanne Freeman – are clearly passionate about challenging poverty and inequality, there are some in the party who are embarrassed when the issue of class raises its head.

It is accepted, almost universally now, that inequality based on gender, race and sexuality is not just the natural order of things. It’s not acceptable to stand by and wait to see who is the fittest and who will survive a mauling at events such the President’s Club dinner.

But when it comes to poverty – and class – well, look away now. Babies born in the Calton? Well, somehow, they are inherently destined to die decades earlier than their fellow Glaswegians living in leafy suburbs. Dundonians separated by a couple of miles of riverbank along the Tay might as well be on different planets, so far apart they are in terms of health and wealth. It’s as though this is something beyond human control, even harder to harness than the weather.

People living in man-made poverty and penury are castigated for not exercising enough, for drinking too much and for failing to eat five fruit and veg a day on £72 a week benefits. Single parents are sneered at for buying £1 ready meals from freezer shops. The so-called underclass is actually a persecuted, marginalised minority who deserve equality as much as everyone else. I suspect that the day the Tories start talking about class inequality will be the day the rivers start to run uphill.

Ruth can have Davos — but as for the rest of us, it’s time to shout from the rooftops of Dalmarnock in Glasgow to Douglas in Dundee about one of the worst forms of inequality in our society.

And can we get the badges printed?