TODAY it’s a nondescript convenience store in a northern town. But above it is a little room where two sisters mapped out a campaign that was to change the lives of millions of women in the UK.

I’ve recently learned about two remarkable Yorkshire women with significant legacies. One was Florence White, who grew up in a Bradford back-to-back, was working in a mill aged 12 - and became the “champion of Britain’s spinsters”. Like many women born in the late 1800s, she lost her fiance in the war that wiped out almost a generation of young men. Instead of accepting her fate as one of the ‘surplus’ unmarried women shunned by society, Florence founded the National Spinsters’ Pension Association. In that room above a shop she plotted a huge campaign, backed by over a million people, that got the state pension age reduced for women. She was, says historian Dr Melissa Dennison who has written about Florence, one of the groundbreaking women of the past 100 years. Her name is on a blue plaque in Bradford city centre - look up if ever you’re on Kirkgate there.

Another Florence will have her own blue plaque unveiled in the city on International Women’s Day next week. Florence Moser’s philanthropy isn’t as well known as her husband’s but she was vital to working mothers of Victorian Bradford who used her childcare premises known as The Nest. Florence was a nursery care pioneer and established the UK’s first City Guild of Help which continues to support those in need. She’s one of four Yorkshire women honoured in a blue plaque scheme addressing a gender inbalance of memorials; joining author Malachi Whitaker, Victoria Cross recipient Barbara Jane Harrison and suffragette Julia Varley.

It is these ‘forgotten philanthropists’ we should celebrate on International Women’s Day. They were as game-changing as any of the high-profile powerhouses in business and politics who get all the glory. When we look at what shaped northern cities we think of mighty male industrialists. But many women worked tirelessly to improve conditions for ordinary people.

Some we know, like education reformist Margaret McMillan, but many remain undocumented. Some were working women, like the Avro Girls producing military aircraft in a camouflaged factory at Yeadon Aerodrome near Leeds. A few years ago Ivy Pell told me of how, with many other young women, she was bussed in for 12-hour shifts making screws for Lancaster Bombers.

Then there are women who came from across the world, with remarkable hidden stories. When I met Vera Smereka she was elderly, you’d have passed her in the street, yet as a child she survived the Holodomor famine which killed millions in 1930s Ukraine, and as a teenager she was sent to a Berlin labour camp - and escaped.

Daniela Kozik told me about the freezing February night in 1940 when Russian soldiers put her family on a cattletruck. Her brother died before they reached Siberia. Daniela, and other Polish people who survived Siberian labour camps, came to Yorkshire as Displaced People, often via Africa and Asia.

Hanifa Aslam was one of the women arriving from South East Asia in the 1960s. Newly widowed, she juggled work with childcare and running a home.

“I didn’t have a clue how to apply for a job but I knew how to sew,” she said.

“I sewed men’s suits and coats. I took the children to the bus stop for school then got another bus to work. I did everything at home - decorating, painting, mending.”

We have much to admire these women for.