THERE’S nothing publishing likes more than a good anniversary. And in a few weeks’ time, there’s an important one coming up: on February 8, it will be 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was passed, giving (some) women the vote for the first time.

I say some. In order to vote, women needed to have certain property qualifications and had to be over thirty. In the same bill, by contrast, all men over twenty-one were given the vote: it would be another decade before the female age of voting matched those of men.

But hey, let’s not let such minor details get in the way of a good anniversary. Earlier this month, Jane Robinson published Hearts and Minds, a history of how women won the vote; next month, Diane Atkinson launches Rise up Women!, her account of the suffragette movement. And this Saturday, at Salisbury Arts Centre, broadcaster Jenni Murray will be discussing her latest book, A History of Britain in 21 Women.

Murray’s book begins by quoting Thomas Carlyle, who famously claimed, ‘The history of the world is but the biography of great men.’ She goes on to challenge this archaic assumption, using the lives of 21 great women to readdress the balance, from Boadicea to Margaret Thatcher, Mary Wollstonecraft to Mary Quant. As with any list, it’s set up for discussion and debate. Why Nicola Sturgeon rather than Queen Victoria? Where are Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Anscombe or Kate Bush? But whatever the arguments for including this or that individual, Murray’s essential point, about the overlooked role women have played in the development of our nation, is well-made.

I wonder what the suffragettes of 1918 would make of the way the world has shaken down since then. I suspect they’d conclude that we still had a long way to go. The #metoo campaign, following the allegations about film producer Harvey Weinstein, has made public what women have known for years about behaviour in the workplace. Equal pay has become another touchstone issue: earlier this month, the BBC’s China editor, Carrie Gracie, resigned after discovering that her male counterparts were being paid 50 per cent more than her.

A few years ago, Always ran a powerful #likeagirl campaign. On one of the videos, they asked men and women to run ‘like a girl’, all of them jogging in an exaggerated and ridiculous fashion. But when they asked young children to run like a girl, they just ran. As a father of two young daughters, I hope they will grow up and have the courage to continue just running, too. This particular race, sadly, is far from over.

Jenni Murray is at Salisbury Arts Centre on Saturday at 7.30pm.