But even with these downfalls, this year also proved to be a monumental year for feminism, pushing towards gender equality for all. Women's issues were brought to centrestage and even some celebrities become public feminists and women's rights advocates. Needless to say, we have a long way to go, but 2014 has started an important conversation heading into the new year, and we plan on continuing the coverage.
We took a look at some of the most powerful moments for feminism this year, and were not surprised to see plenty of common themes running through so many of the stories. Share your favourite stories in the comments below.
If there's one thing Twitter has shown us this year, it's that there's power in numbers. Over and over again, women came together online to join virtual hands in solidarity, whether it was #BeenRapedNeverReported following the Jian Ghomeshi scandal, #YesAllWomen following horrifying shootings in California, or #takedownjulienblanc to prevent "pick-up artist" Julien Blanc from speaking in countries across the globe. And though many of these issues had a decided focus on women, it was heartening to see men also join in on the conversation.
Malala Yousafzai's Nobel Peace Prize
AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Not only is Malala Yousafzai the youngest person to ever win a Nobel Peace Prize (which she shared with fellow children's rights advocate Kailash Satyarthi), the 17 year old is fighting specifically for the opportunity for girls to get an equal education to boys.
A Feminist In Power
Colin McConnell/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Kathleen Wynne was elected premier of Canada's most populous province, Ontario, in a majority win in June, but to us, her best moment came only weeks ago in a speech at the Women of Influence conference. Among her many unapologetically feminist remarks was this:
"By making the assumption that women had no influence over the founding of this country, we are taught that the influence of women only grows as we assume the rights and privileges that were once the exclusive domain of men. As women take on the roles, titles and powers that belonged to men alone, the influence of women continues to grow until, one day, we will be equal." Read the speech in full here.
For women who want the option of putting off having kids (or are still unsure about having them at all), more and more companies (most famously this year, Apple and Facebook) are offering egg freezing as part of their benefits packages. While some felt this could add pressure to work even harder at your job, we say choices are a good thing.
Beyonce, arguably the sexiest woman in the world, stood like a statue in front of the word "feminist," during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in August. If that doesn't tell you labelling yourself a feminist is something to be proud of, perhaps Aziz Ansari's quote on the topic might help. "You're a feminist if you go to a Jay-Z and Beyoncé concert and you're not like, 'I feel like Beyoncé should get 23 percent less money than Jay-Z,. Also, I don't think Beyoncé should have the right to vote and why is Beyoncé singing and dancing? Shouldn't she make Jay a steak?'"
Mutual Respect For All Moms
Mom guilt didn't go away in 2014 (and let's be honest, probably never will), but one blog post on our site by a doctor and mother from Australia completely blew up in the best way possible. In it, Dr. Carolyn Ee perfectly explains both sides of the stay at home/working mom quandary — and reminds mothers they're all really in the same boat.
With the change from a male to a female Thor this year, Marvel Comics demonstrated its serious commitment to getting all those lady dollars — and we couldn't imagine investing our money in a better place than stories that show strong, tough women who can act as role models for young girls.
Laverne Cox On Time
As the first transgendered person on the cover of Time, Laverne Cox became the face of a new way to define gender. "This is for my trans siblings out there and for anyone who has ever been told that who you know yourself to be at your core is not legitimate," she wrote on Facebook.
Men Making Their Families A Priority
Dads have always played a massive role in family life, of course, but this year, it was at the forefront. The combination of a couple of high-profile stories of fathers leaving their jobs to spend time with the kids, like Mohamed El-Erian and Max Schireson, and commercials (like this Cheerios one) that worked to change the perception of dads, showed a marked change in assumed stereotypes.
Laughing In The Face Of Oppression
When Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arinc made statements to the effect of, "[A woman] should not laugh loudly in front of all the world and should preserve her decency at all times," Turkish women responded by posting pictures of themselves with wide grins, looking both decent AND gorgeous, under the hashtag #direnkahkaha.