2016 was the year women found solidarity on social media.

There have been times this year when the world felt as if it was going backwards — or had, at the very least, gotten itself stuck in some godawful unending time loop. Especially for women.

The gender pay gap somehow glued itself to 1995, we endured the soon-to-be President of the United States bragging about grabbing us by our ‘pussies’, and a Stanford University student was released from prison after serving just three months for sexual assault.

Now, Twitter is not the most hospitable place for women at times, but when something sexist goes down you can bet social media is first place the sisterhood will find solidarity.

"You will not believe what Donald just called me..."

For a decade hashtags have been a rallying point online, but in 2016 — arguably more than ever before— we witnessed their power.

Collective outpourings over the US Election, high profile rape cases, reproductive rights and just good old-fashioned everyday sexism have been at times hilarious, often heart-wrenching, but most importantly, many have had real world consequences.

These are the hashtag movements that made us feel something in 2016.


Early this year, British newspaper The Times published an article denouncing female healthcare workers for their lack 'work ethic'.

Basically the author (Nigella Lawson's much-less-successful brother Dominic) alleged women's laziness and love of child-rearing had the system hurtling towards collapse.

Unimpressed female doctors hit back under the hashtag #LikeALadyDoc.


In February, the hashtag #FreeKesha lit up Twitter after pop star Kesha lost her bid to escape a contract binding her to her alleged abuser, producer Lucasz "Dr Luke" Gottwald.

Thousands of fans tweeted their support for her alongside their dismay at the court's decision.

While it didn't work — Kesha is still fighting — it was an important act of solidarity.


International Women's Day has been celebrated on March 8 every year since 1918, but this year found renewed energy.

With supporters like First Lady Michelle Obama, an outspoken supporter of education for women and girls, it became of the year's top trending topics.


In June, Buzzfeed published a letter from an anonymous woman to her rapist, Brock Turner.

She powerfully picked apart the flimsy excuses used to dismiss her sexual assault at trial and later to justify Turner's measly six-month jail sentence — of which he only served three months.

Students carried signs at the Stanford University graduation. Image via Getty

The letter was viewed 11 million times times four days. It spread like wild fire across social media, because so many women recognised themselves in the woman's experience.

When Turner's sentence was finalised #ThingsLongerThanBrockTurnersRapeSentence trended.

It was a long overdue conversation about rape culture that spread far beyond America.


The same month, an American woman shared her experience of being harassed while out shopping, riffing on the old joke: "...said no one ever".

Her tweet started a movement.


During a heated Q&A discussion on domestic violence, conservative media personality Steve Price accused his fellow panellist Van Badham of being hysterical.

“It’s probably my ovaries making me do it, Steve," she replied.

Comeback of the year? Probably. And the flood of hilarious tweets that followed it had women blaming their pesky ovaries for everything from justifiable anger to the gender pay gap.

#LesPrincessesOntDesPoils or "Princesses have hair"

A 16-year-old French girl who was teased relentlessly for daring to have body hair started the hashtag #LesPrincessesOntDesPoils, which translates to "Princesses have hair".

Many princesses do, as it turns out, have hair.


After a leaked video revealed then presidential hopeful Donald Trump boasting about grabbing women "by the pussy", as many as one million women shared their experiences of sexual assault and rape.


Author Kelly Oxford started the deluge when she revealed her own experience. She was 12 at the time.

Ten minutes after posting her initial tweet, Oxford said she was receiving as many as two stories a second.

Many added the hashtag #WhyWomenDontReport, pointing out the flaws of a system that favours perpetrators or, say, allows them to become President.

#ImWithHer and #IAmANastyWomanBecause

Throughout the US election campaign, Hillary Clinton supporters rallied around their candidate under the slogan and accompanying hashtag #ImWithHer.

Beyoncé & Jay Z & Hillary & You?

A photo posted by Hillary Clinton (@hillaryclinton) on Nov 4, 2016 at 6:51pm PDT

But when Trump interrupted during the the final US Presidential Debate, uttering the words “Such a nasty woman," the so-called 'nasty' women rose up.

They co-opted his gendered insult and made it their catch-cry of empowerment.

Three nasty women chatted about it on Mamamia Out Loud


And finally, earlier this month The Daily Mail saw fit to label Sunrise presenter Samantha Armytage's under garments "granny panties".

The response from comfy undies loving women Australia-wide was immediate. And it was furious.

Many women — including ourselves — shared photos of their beloved boy legs and beige briefs on social media.

What have we missed? Let us know in the comments.