7 television series led by strong female characters you'll want to start watching this International Women’s Day

By Nicole Moraleda

Searching for a strong female role model to look up to? Here are our picks for the best women-led series on the small screen

By Nicole Moraleda |

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Happy International Women’s Day, ladies! To celebrate the progress women have made towards a more equal future (not to say we don’t still have a long way to go), we’ve rounded up our favourite female-led series. They highlight beautiful, intelligent, articulate, strong and courageous women and show the world what girl power is all about.

Grab your gal pal, sister, mum or grandma and pick a series to binge-watch together.


Yes, we know the show is based on the Archie Comics; but we also know the show would be nothing without its two fiery and fashionable leading ladies, Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper. Though the Riverdale series took on a much darker plot than in the original comics, it’s refreshing to see that it’s not all about the two girls fighting for Archie’s love.

Now in its second season, the show has tackled important issues such as sexual assault, which sees the female characters, including red-haired vixen Cheryl Blossom and leader of the all-black girl band Josie and the Pussycats, band together to fight back.

Pretty Little Liars

If you think your high-school life is tough, it’s likely nothing compared to what best friends Spencer, Aria, Hanna and Emily go through. The girls show true friendship and loyalty throughout the series, all the while having to deal with school, boys and parents – not to mention a twisted, blackmailing cyber-bully.

Jane the Virgin

If you’re looking for a strong female character, look no further than Jane the Virgin. Although Jane is not without fault, she always tries to do the right thing and follow her heart.

While the Latina lead is spoilt with an attractive selection of love interests, she manages to remain focused on her writing career and keeps her family at the top of her priority list.

Featuring three generations of strong-willed women, this is the perfect series to enjoy with the special female figure in your family.

Gilmore Girls

For a show that was created almost two decades ago, it was way ahead of its time in terms of its progressive representation of women compared to other shows of the era.

Creator Amy Sherman-Palladino brought to television a show that celebrates smart, independent women, and ever so seamlessly implanted feminist perspectives into the series’ fast-paced dialogue and storyline. The fact that the only Emmy it ever won was for Outstanding Makeup is an outrage and an insult to the series.

The show, like its female leads, is witty, intelligent and outspoken, and is overflowing with strong role models that young girls can look up to.

The Marvellous Mrs Maisel

This is another sharp feminist tale by Amy Sherman-Palladino that follows a Jewish housewife in late-1950s New York City who discovers she has a talent for stand-up comedy.

The show’s heroine, Midge Maisel, transforms from being a perfect wife and daughter to her own confident woman who isn’t afraid to speak her mind (in true Gilmore Girls-esque, rapid-fire fashion). Watch how she fights to climb up the ladder in a man’s world with her quick wit, strong determination and side-splitting rants about the repressive demands of domestic life and the ridiculous expectations of her parents.

Jessica Jones

Helping to fill the gaping hole that is the appalling lack of female superheroes on screen is Jessica Jones. Unlike the other female superhumans on the scene, she doesn’t travel around in tight, skimpy costumes.

Her character is also unique in that she deals with post-traumatic stress disorder after being mentally and sexually abused by the show’s villain, Killgrave, who has the ability to control minds.

Season two out on Netflix now!

Contains strong language and adult themes.

Once Upon a Time

Despite what the name might suggest, this is definitely not your standard fairy tale. There are no damsels in distress here for any Prince Charmings to save. In fact, if anything, it's more likely that Prince Charming will be the one who needs saving in this series. The plot centres around Emma Swan, a beautiful and brazen, jeans and leather jacket-wearing heroine. Once Upon a Time gives the classic fairy tales a much-needed feminist twist, where instead of running away from wolves, it is revealed that Red Riding Hood is a wolf herself when night falls, and Snow White is actually a sword-wielding bandit. Now THESE are the stories we should've grown up with!

Edited by Pete Spurrier