INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day was first observed in 1910. In the 108 years since, some things have changed, some have remained the same and, for some women, some things have become worse.

In general, gender equality remains an aim rather than achievement, which is worth reflecting on seriously after more than a century of trying. Of course, there have been achievements. One only has to observe that the political leaders of the United Kingdom and Scotland are both female.

Each is there on merit, and each provides an inspiration for younger women to follow. In an exclusive interview in today’s Herald, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon reveals that, at the start of her career, she subconsciously emulated male behaviour, adopting a more aggressive and adversarial approach.

The Catch-22 was that if a woman behaved as traditionally expected, she might not be taken seriously, whereas if she acted like a man she was accused of not being feminine. The trick, Ms Sturgeon learned through experience, was just to be herself – a valuable lesson that she encourages young women to heed.

Prime Minister Theresa May excelled herself yesterday, after Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn informed her it was International Women’s Day today and she told him with a steely stare that she knew that and didn’t need him “mansplaining” it to her.

Bully for her. But, on a more serious note, the extent of male bullying and harassment of women has become in the last six months an issue that can no longer be ignored.

Beginning with revelations of the obnoxious behaviour of one Hollywood mogul, revelation followed revelation in all spheres of life as women came forward bravely to recount their experiences.

The MeToo and Time’sUp movements spread globally, giving women greater confidence and a feeling of solidarity. But, as Ms Sturgeon pointed out, the people who need to be doing something here are men; not all men, obviously.

But all men can challenge a continuing culture of easy sexism and disrespect, exemplified at times by the Donald Trump, President of the United States. Closer to home, a survey of Holyrood staff, including MSPs, produced the shock finding that almost one-third of women had experienced harassment or sexism.

One of Ms Sturgeon’s own MSPs, Mark McDonald, resigned from the party after an investigation found he had harassed two women and exploited his position of power.

He has declared his intention to continue as an MSP, despite Ms Sturgeon urging him to resign. This newspaper thinks he should resign too, but we also believe strongly in wider, fundamental changes that need to be addressed.

These include ending the gender pay gap, which still sits at 18% in the UK – nearly 50 years after equal pay was enshrined in legislation.

Well-publicised cases in the higher echelons of the BBC and high street banks may have elicited limited sympathy but such inequality runs through all sectors. It is a noxious disparity. Ending it must be a priority.

There is also much to be done to ensure equal representation for women in politics and industry. Ms May and Ms Sturgeon may be encouraging role models, but the fact remains that female representation among MSPs at Holyrood is still only 35% while at Westminster it is just 32%.

All that said, positive initiatives are under way. The Scottish Government is extending free childcare, which overwhelmingly remains a female responsibility in families. And there are moves to get more women into Stem (science, technology, engineering, maths) careers.

The picture is not all gloomy and, after the events of the last six months, a new determination has emerged to put matters right.

In the 108 years years since the first International Women’s Day, perhaps we might fairly say: lot done. Lot still to be done.