LAST week on International Women’s Day the spotlight was thrown on the online abuse suffered by women who make any comment in the media from people who believe their keyboard and anonymity make them invincible.

They think a few lines of prose will bring us to heel quaking at the godlike Thor firing intellectual thunderbolts from their IP address whilst eating crisps and scratching something sweaty.

Having written this column for sometime, and been onto that charming site Twitter, I haven’t been immune comments, it doesn’t bother me but, by way of balance I thought I’d throw a spotlight on how well the North-East can treat women. So, bear with me while, this “Brainless cow who nos (yes, they actually spelt it like that) nothing” celebrates some of the good things we do in this region in terms of gender equality.

Firstly, our MPs, we have 27 in the North-East and 14 of them are women which is 51 per cent as it should be and, better than any other region. All our women MPs have suffered horrendous abuse online and yet all represent their constituents diligently and with absolute professionalism.

We have 14 further education colleges in the region and 50 per cent of them have female principles dedicated to delivering outstanding vocational training. Two of our largest businesses, Northumbrian Water and Virgin Money are run by women, the regional editors of our daily newspapers are women. Of the 12 local authorities, by May, 5 will have female chief executives (so a little way to go there) and both local enterprise partnerships are run by women.

Okay, so there are still a few areas where women are underrepresented, the universities and the wider business community are two. We still need to do more to encourage girls into STEM and have more support for balancing work and family life for both sexes. We also need serious discussion about the level of criticism women receive for their career and family choices, whatever their choice. However, my point is that the North-East, which has traditionally been a male-led industrial region, can hold its head high when it comes to supporting women. While it is obviously not all down to gender balance, our current social climate has brought us to some of the best economic results since the industrial boom at the turn of the last century.

So, the next time a woman sticks her head above the parapet ,who knows where support and encouragement rather than abuse can take the region.

Rachel Anderson is assistant director of policy North East England Chamber of Commerce.