The internet isn't always the most pleasant place to be if you are a woman -- dark corners of it are filled with misogyny.
From Twitter rape threats and slut-shaming to criticising women for weight gain/outfit choices/balancing work and motherhood (*delete as appropriate), it's almost enough for make you want to turn off the computer for good.
Luckily, the world wide web can be as empowering as it is vile. And for every shitty website or venomous troll there is a fantastic resource, network or collective voice helping to smash the patriarchy and help women get ahead.
For that reason we wanted to bring you our top ten websites for women in 2013. This list is by no means exhaustive, so if there are any you think we've missed - let us know in the comments below.
Outspoken, current, incredibly funny and above all honest. <a href="http://XOJane.co.uk" target="_blank">XOJane</a> prides itself as being the "place where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded." "This is not the place to find out how to please your husband, mom, kids or boss," the site adds. "This is the place to indulge in what makes you feel good." Check out XOVain too, their sister beauty site. Written with the same vein (pun intended) as XOJane, we love it for all the same reasons.
Women Like Us
<a href="http://womenlikeus.org.uk" target="_blank">Women Like Us</a> is a social business - with multiple awards under its belt - that supports women who want to carry on working after having children. They are dedicated to helping women fit work into their lives and cope with their family needs. They provide online resources, networking spaces, workshops and free face-to-face support to women on low incomes.
<a href="http://thefementalists.com" target="_blank">The Fementalists</a> bridges the gap between mental health activism and feminism. It provides a thriving space to share personal stories of experiencing mental ill-health as a woman. It also offers support to those women.
How could you not love a strap-line such as: 'Like King Lear, but for girls'? <a href="http://vagendamag.blogspot.com" target="_blank">The Vagenda</a> covers everything from celebrity and body image to sex and periods, with confidence and unique wit. Questioning the nature of women's gossip magazines and shaming The Daily Mail, our favourite recent post was The Official Statement From Cheryl Cole's Arse.
<a href="http://blogher.com" target="_blank">BlogHer</a> is a platform that calls itself an "organically grown community" which inspires women to create and share content across a range of subjects. The community reaches 92 million across premium blogs, Web sites, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter (May 2013, Nielsen Site Census). The site pledges to value content: "Creators, we want to facilitate and curate a community that empowers our members and creates value for all. We believe you should be paid for quality work: news, information, advice, recommendations, storytelling in words, photos and video. "Since 2009, BlogHer Inc. has paid out $25 million to 5,000 bloggers and social media influencers who embrace our editorial guidelines and produce community content."
The Women's Room UK
<a href="http://thewomensroom.org.uk/" target="_blank">The Women's Room UK</a> is a website dedicated to putting women's opinions at the heart of mainstream news by connecting female experts with journalists. It is disrupting institutional media sexism with one deft stroke and co-founder Caroline Criado-Perez was the woman behind the Keep A Woman On British Banknotes campaign. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/15/co-founder-of-the-womens-room-caroline-criado-perez_n_2882480.html" target="_blank">Read more about the site in our profile piece here. </a>
A hub for feminists on the web, <a href="http://feministing.com/" target="_blank">Feministing</a> is an online community to discuss and develop the issues surrounding feminism. Through their blog, comment threads and social media profiles the site connects feminists across the globe.
<a href="http://jezebel.com/" target="_blank">Jezebel</a> are a breath of fresh air in women's media. Funny, critical, irreverent they take cover 'celebrity, sex, fashion for women. Without airbrushing'.
A development from Sheryl Sandberg's bestseller <a href="http://leanin.org" target="_blank">Lean In</a>, offering women not just inspiration but support to better themselves. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/21/lean-in-sheryl-sandberg-women-afraid_n_3789750.html" target="_blank">Read more here</a>
<a href="http://rookiemag.com/" target="_blank">Rookie Mag</a> is a website for teenage girls covering a whole range of subjects. The magazine was founded by Tavi Gevinson when she was just 15 years old and it has gone from strength to strength. Our favourite thing about Rookie Mag? That the site is updated three times a day: "after school, after dinner, and before bed".