Radhika Sanghani / BBC
A new book, A History of Women in 100 Objects by Maggie Andrews and Janis Lomas, reminds us of this on a visual level. It examines the medical, cultural and general objects that symbolise female progress. "Everyday items can tell us so much," says Krista Cowman, a professor of history at Lincoln University. "That's why social history museums are so popular. It's a physical reminder of how far we've come, from girdles to sanitary care."