I WONDER, when 15,000 women marched through the streets of New York City in 1908, what they thought while they were striding along in the solidarity of sisterhood.

They were out on the streets to demand shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. The march planted the seed for the first National Woman's Day, the following year.

Luise Zietz, who suggested that the day become international, what were her priorities, in 1910, when she spoke to the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen? A politician and women's rights advocate, suffrage would have been high among them.

Could she have imagined that the following year would see International Woman's Day marked by more than a million people in four countries? Would it have crossed her mind that 109 years later, with a slight name tweak, International Women's Day would still be going strong, marked by millions of people in dozens of countries?

Perhaps she might have thought it would no longer be necessary.

Yet 109 years later, we need it just as we ever did. The gender pay gap still yawns wide. Women are still denied bodily autonomy in the lack of universal access to safe abortion. They still face persecution due to their biology: menstrual huts in Nepal, or the millions of girls at risk of FGM every year. Damaging gender stereotypes still endanger women and girls and limit their opportunities.

The latest employment figures from 2018 show that Scotland is the only nation in the UK where female employment has declined. PwC, which complies the rankings, said Scotland female unemployment is worsening; labour force participation; full-time employment rates, and the gap between the male and female labour force.

Some 71 per cent of trafficking victims are women. The vast majority of domestic abuse victims are women suffering at the hands of male partners. In Scotland, police were called to 60,000 domestic abuse incidents last year - a rise of two per cent on the year before.

Women are harassed on the street, they are stymied from moving freely through public spaces in the way men do because of fear and trauma caused by male violence.

The rate of murder of women by men should be a global scandal. An average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

It should, in the UK, be a national scandal. Last year 111 women were murdered by a man or where a man is the main suspect.

Of course, International Women's Day is a celebration of our achievements, it's not designed to be an opportunity to run through a roll call of gloom. But there is value in listing exactly why we still need active feminism in order to tackle these issues.

If you are a white woman or a middle class woman or an educated or otherwise privileged woman, it can be affronting to be told you are part of a marginalised group. There's a cognitive dissonance in being told you are vulnerable or at risk and so, if you don't feel persecution then it is easy to pretend it isn't there. Or, not even pretend - simply not notice.

When the high rates of male violence against women are mentioned on social media it is inevitable that someone will pop up to point out that "not all men" are prone to violence or sexist or whatever the subject was because it is uncomfortable for men to believe they are a member of an oppressing class when they, personally, believe themselves to be a decent human being. #NotAllMen

Women turning a blind eye to other women's oppression or trauma - because they don't want to believe they are oppressed or vulnerable to male violence - is a variation on this.

Little girls are conditioned to smile, be nice and put others first. They grow up into women who take on caring responsibilities and the bulk of the household chores and exhaust themselves trying to make sure everyone else is alright. They are conditioned to budge over.

On Wednesday I was speaking to a group of girls from Notre Dame High School, Scotland's last remaining state funded all girls school. Last year Glasgow City Council councillors voted to end the single status of the school and, from 2021, boys will be admitted. They were bright, articulate - and furious.

They felt their views had been disrespected and the benefits they receive from their all-girls education entirely overlooked to make way for boys. They were being forced to budge over because, among other reasons, parents of primary school boys complained that being excluded from Notre Dame was sexism against their sons.

There was limited outrage about that element of the argument because we don't get too agitated about reverse sexism. And we don't get agitated about reverse sexism because we largely feel that girls are on a par with boys now and so what's the fight for?

Yet we wouldn't tell any other marginalised group that they must give up their specialist facilities because it's unfair on the dominant group.

Despite the misogyny present in violence against women and in sexual abuse women are subjected to, misogyny is not a hate crime. When the question of whether it should become so was raised in 2018, Sara Thornton, the chair of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), said the issue was not about criminal justice but about the way "people behave and treat each other".

How people are negatively treated due to race, religion, gender identity or disability can be hate crimes. Imagine saying to people in these groups that, in fact, abuse and harassment aimed at them because of those characteristics was not hatred but merely a case of people needing to be a bit nicer.

With all this, I wonder, too, if it would ever have occurred to Luise Zietz that 109 years later and one of the most prevalent fights facing women would be that of identity. That generations later feminists would be split over the definition of the word "woman" and what it encompasses. That, in fact, one definition would be viewed as hateful.

International Women's Day is a chance to reflect. To remember that the fight for equality is far from over. To think about empathy for women, rather than labelling those who disagree as phobic. To try and decide where compromises might be reached.

There isn't instant solidarity in sisterhood but there must be a willingness to find common understanding if we are, as with that day in New York in 1908, to march on.