Amid all the chaos of this year – Trump’s election, the devastating wars in Syria and Yemen, the ongoing refugee crisis and terrorist attacks on European soil – the fight for women’s rights marches ever on.
And if we can take anything positive from the unmitigated horror show that was 2016, it’s the knowledge that we mustn’t take anything for granted. The last twelve months have shown us that the world as we know it can transform in front of our very eyes – and while that knowledge can be unsettling, it should also be the source of strength.
Because if the world can change for the worse, it can also be changed for the better. And in 2016, women from all corners of the globe made huge strides in the battle for female empowerment. From the teenagers taking on their schools’ racist hair policies to the retired women prepared to go to jail in the name of abortion rights, the past 12 months has seen no shortage of real-life feminist superheroes (and no, Wonder Woman didn’t make the cut).
The list of women we were inspired by this year was a long one, and it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just 40. But without further ado, we present to you Stylist.co.uk’s most-admired fearless feminists of 2016.
Here’s to a brilliant 2017 – the only way, as they say, is up.
Main image: Moya Crockett/Rex Features