IT’S hard to believe that 100 years ago, women couldn’t vote let alone stand for Parliament.

Today, not only do female MPs sit alongside their male colleagues in the Houses of Parliament, but we have also had two female Prime Ministers leading our country.

It is thanks to the Suffragettes who fought for years to ensure that everyone can play a full and active role in our democracy regardless of background that we are where we are today.

On February 6, 1918 The Representation of the People Act was passed giving some women the vote. On November 21 the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act was passed allowing women to stand for Parliament for the first time. And, on December 14 women voted in a general election for the first time.

I became involved in local democracy to make a difference in my community. The issues that mattered to residents across Cheshire East were the same that mattered to me.

Today we have the highest number of women in history sitting in the House of Commons.

Significant progress has been made promoting equal opportunities, with the female employment rate at a near record high and the gender pay gap at a record low.

However, it is vital that we go further so that we build a stronger, fairer economy where all women have the opportunity of success and I am pleased that Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equalities is to set out the action the Conservative Government is taking to support marginalised women, including a £600,000 fund to help women who are especially vulnerable to return to work.

Rachel Bailey Cheshire East Council leader