100 years ago, women across the country celebrated a milestone victory, after years of hardship and disregard they had been given the right to vote. Emmeline Pankhurst and her fellow suffragettes finally felt their voices were heard, and although it wasn’t the end of their journey, it was a moment which would position them in history books for years to come.

I am 28, unmarried and do not own property, three solid facts which would have denied me the right to vote in 1918. I work in Stevenson Square in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a busy and vibrant part of the city where many of us socialise on a Saturday evening. However, a century ago women like Emmeline would gather in the square for protests and marches to highlight the unfairness and injustice they were subjected to. It is because of them, that women like me can now live and work in the area.

Whilst we have made progress over the last 100 years, there is still work to be done. The World Economic Forum predicts gender disparity won’t cease to exist until 2186. A harsh, sobering reminder that our journey is not yet over.

Forty years after the suffragettes’ victory in 1918, my Grandmother immigrated to the UK from Ireland. During the 1950s, she too faced challenges and obstacles simply because of her gender. Despite excelling in school and her exceptional talents in maths, society taught her that her role in life lay within the home. Her teachers recommended she continued her education but instead she was expected to look after her brothers, her job was confined to the house to cook and clean. Years later, without further education but encouragement from my Grandfather, she took up a number of jobs in Manchester and ended her career as a carer for the elderly, a job she loved and put her heart into. To this day, she often tells me stories of how she dreamt of working in medicine and I wonder whether my Grandmother’s talents could have been overlooked.

Sadly, this story is still not alien to women in 2018. Although many of us have had the privilege of a good education and the option to take various career paths, women and girls around the world are still deprived of development simply because they’re born female. The implications of this are concerning. An education can lift girls out of poverty and give them a chance to flourish. Many women remain trapped in deprivation without prospects. It is not just girls who can benefit from further development either; economically women can make a huge contribution to the eco-system if they get the chance to fulfil their full potential. Why would we want to limit ourselves by just using half of the world’s population?

In the past year, women from all over the world have come together to march against injustices and disparity between them and their male counterparts. We’ve made significant progress in the UK and like many others, I have been given the opportunity to build my own future, with a company that recognises my drive and ambition to improve and excel in my chosen career with the potential to reach the role I want to aim for.

However, it does not mean we can neglect the inequality that still exists. There is still a severe lack of women in senior positions in companies across the western world. The last year has taught us this isn’t exclusive to one industry but spread across various sectors. Whether inequality means a woman who is refused an education or a female who is subject to discrimination at work, we need to listen to those who are brave enough to speak out.

We owe it to the suffragettes, the generations before us and the women who continue to march for a brighter future.

If we stand together and #PressForProgress, history has taught us great things can be done and let’s hope we can close that gap a little sooner than 2186.