TUESDAY marked the 100th anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in elections in the UK. Of course, there were stipulations – only women who owned property and were aged 30 or older could vote – but it was a major step forward to achieving equality between men and women and ensuring their equal rights. It would be another 10 years, with the passing of the Representation of the People (Equal Franchise) Act of 1928, before men and women shared electoral equality.

In the past week there has been huge celebration of the brave, fierce, radical women who fought – and sometimes died – in the name of equality, and I join that celebration wholeheartedly.

The Scottish Parliament held a debate to mark this anniversary and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a £500,000 fund to aid projects which encourage greater representation of women in political roles.

We can be proud to say we have our first female First Minister in Scotland and our second female Prime Minister. We should also be proud that last year the three biggest political parties in Scotland had female leaders and that we have a gender balanced Cabinet in the Scottish Government. However, there is still disparity in the number of women and men elected to political office. In Holyrood, only 45 of the 129 MSPs are women (just under 35 per cent) and at Westminster only 208 of the 650 MPs are women (32 per cent). I’m happy to say Renfrewshire Council, which covers my constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire South, does a better job, with 37 per cent of elected Councillors being women, but there are still clearly barriers to women entering front-line politics. I hope the funding provided by the Scottish Government goes some way to closing that gap and very soon.

Since 1918 there have been huge strides made in the fight for gender equality. The Equal Pay Act made it illegal to pay women less than men for doing the same job. The Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal to discriminate against women in the workplace, education and training. The Employment Protection Act mandated statutory maternity leave and made it illegal to sack a woman for becoming pregnant. There are more women in high-power positions than ever before, and the United States very nearly elected their first female president – and in fact, more people voted for her than the man who ultimately became president.

The fact that we are 100 years on from women first being allowed to vote in the UK is a fantastic opportunity for celebration, but it also leads me to reflect on the fact that despite the great strides made in the past hundred years there is still so far to go.

As I just mentioned there is still disparity in the number of men and women reaching elected office, and as of June last year only 32 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were women. The Office for National Statistics showed that as of April last year men were earning 18.4 per cent more than women, proving that despite the Equal Pay Act there is still a large gender pay gap.

And the above doesn’t even begin to touch on the horrendous policies pushed by the Tories since 2010 which hit women hardest. From the sinister rape clause which takes tax credits from mothers unless they can prove their third child was born from rape, to changing the age women can receive their state pension without bothering to tell them, to the Concentrix tax credit scandal which stripped women of their tax credits and accused them of living with exes with absolutely no proof, to the Child Maintenance Service forcing women to divulge their bank account information to ex-partners to receive their child maintenance payments, to the tampon tax, this Government has a clear track record of disregarding women and it has to stop. Women cannot continue to carry the burden of austerity on their shoulders.

Outside of politics, the huge scandal of sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment continues to show how vulnerable women continue to be even 100 years after hitting the major milestone of (kind of) getting the vote. Just this past week we learned that Uma Thurman was also a victim of abuse by Harvey Weinstein and was bullied into taking part in an unsafe stunt by Quentin Tarantino. It should be noted that Uma Thurman is one of the most prolific and powerful actresses in Hollywood. You have to wonder if that is how the powerful women are treated, how are those who aren’t in those positions treated?

In the 100 years since the Suffragettes achieved what seemed impossible, women have come together time and time again to address unfair treatment they have received. The Women’s Marches that took place after Donald Trump’s inauguration, and took place again this year, show that we are coming together once more to address the inequality we continue to face.

The Suffragettes were amazing women and their legacy will continue to inspire generations of girls and women for hundreds of years to come.