Theresa May
British Prime Minister Theresa May Sean Gallup/ Getty Images

2016 was the year the UK got its second female prime minister and the US missed out on its first ever woman president.

It was also the year when abortion remained a crime in Northern Ireland, and nearly reverted back to being a crime in Poland. The year Turkey attempted to pass a new law that meant men who raped a child could be pardoned if they married the victim.

The year the number of rapes recorded by police in England and Wales doubled while the percentage of convictions fell. And the year when a man in America said it was absolutely fine to grab a women by her 'pussy' without consent. That man was then voted in as the next president of the United States of America.

Here's hoping women fare better in 2017 – we asked our women columnists how we can make that happen.

LAURA BATES: Continuing to fight back in the face of overt misogyny as it is normalised by the inauguration of Donald Trump, and to battle against the continuing severe impact of budget cuts on frontline sexual violence services and the women's sector.

YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN: Taking on men who now think they are the real oppressed people of the world. This is identity politics gone quite mad.

INNA SHEVCHENKO: The challenge for women in 2017 is, as it has been for centuries, to confront the male rulers who might change their faces, but constantly attempt to impose their rules and laws on our bodies, and forbid us to learn and to speak out. Our challenge this year is to become stronger and louder in order to be able to climb up their walls and shout out for equality and freedom louder than ever before.

JANE MERRICK: To be taken seriously and treated equally in all walks of life: we may have a female Prime Minister but women are still paid less than men, are subject to discrimination in the workplace and risk seeing their careers stall when they have children.

BINA SHAH: Stopping violence against women is always a high priority, but in 2017 we'll have to make the greatest efforts with the huge numbers of refugee women and girls coming out of Syria. They are extremely vulnerable to rape and sexual assault, sex trafficking, and prostitution. Desperate parents are turning to child marriage in an attempt to keep their daughters "safe". Governments and refugee organisations are already aware of this, but ordinary people should be more aware of the extra dangers that women refugees face, and be willing to contribute to helping them avoid being targeted during and after their perilous journeys.

JULIE BINDEL: The biggest challenge is to end male violence towards women and girls. From rape, childhood sexual abuse, FGM, forced marriage, domestic violence, and prostitution, women are united by one thing only — the fear and the consequence of men's violence towards us. We need to strengthen the global women's liberation movement to achieve this.

LAUREN SOUTHERN: Learning to embrace and love our femininity. In our pursuit of women's rights, it seems we've taken a wrong turn. Instead of focusing on how to make life better for women, we started asking how to make women men. We don't celebrate the mother, we celebrate the business woman. We praise the girl who shaves her hair off and gets tattoos, but not the one who grows it out and embraces conservative beauty. We praise the obese and not the petite. We praise the obnoxious and not the careful and sweet. Modern feminism upholds masculinity, but only when exercised by women, and it's making us miserable. Embrace being woman, love being a woman, appreciate your femininity.

YOMI ADEGOKE: The biggest challenge in 2017 for women is convincing society there are still challenges. The world seems certain that the hard-fought for rights women have now obtained are equal rights in their entirety. Society also often forgets that the still incomplete freedoms enjoyed in the West are not exercised worldwide, with global estimates indicating that 1 in 3 women have experienced physical or sexual partner violence and two-thirds of the world's illiterate population are women. Here, two women are murdered each week due to domestic violence — yet many are more occupied with assuring us the battle has been won, than fighting for these women's lives.

SISTERS UNCUT: One of the biggest challenges that women and non-binary people will continue to face around the world in 2017 is violence. In the UK, two women a week are still killed by a current or ex-partner, and this won't change whilst vital specialist services are being cut by the government.