#METOO and #TimesUp are movements that have amplified conversations had between women for generations.

They have reignited fierce global debate around equality and issues faced in the workplace, from sexual harassment to pay disparities and generic, every day sexism.

These are gendered issues, both in scale and in the discourse raging through newspaper columns, internet forums and on the streets.

But our fight for female equality is not a fight against men, it is a fight against a culture that repeatedly and provably disadvantages women, whether they’re in Hollywood or behind a desk in Teesside.

Women are more likely to be sexually harassed while doing their job and are, on the whole, lesser paid than their male peers.

These are not new problems and nor are they any secret to any woman who has worked, having remained on the agenda in the fight for equality, generation after generation.

That this debate is currently raging globally in a manner not seen in decades is credit to both the women at its forefront and those who have worked against unfathomable hostility for generations to push against the status quo, to create a society where some women’s voices are increasingly being heard.

While efforts are being made in many workplaces - including the Echo - to give more women a platform and equal opportunities, there is no doubt that this is an on-going battle.

As a reporter, I’m under no doubt that I’m treated differently by some interviewees simply because I’m a woman.

Had I been a man, I’m sure that the golf club official I interviewed wouldn’t have massaged my shoulders as he did and I know I would not have had had my personal boundaries violated quite so often with unsolicited, inappropriate gestures, with sexual messages and lingering hand kisses.

Each incident, no matter how minor, adds weight to a burden of powerlessness and anger I shouldn’t have to carry, a burden lightened by this new resistance, by the movement represented in hashtags that signal solidarity and a drive for change.

Building on a tradition of female activism that has affected changes from voting rights to working conditions and rape laws, the #metoo and #timesup campaigns represent an attempt to eradicate the last traces of a toxic culture that grew up around a long tradition of male dominance in the workplace, in society.

Along the way, supporters will be hated, resisted, dismissed as hysterics and man-haters just as feminists, Suffragettes and activists throughout the years have been.

But change has never been won without a fight and, for a society more equal, this is a fight worth having.