Top 10 Empowering Female Leads Every Girl Should Watch

Contributed By: Rhianna Quiroga, Community Relations Intern 

Today, many women in Hollywood are changing how women are perceived and portrayed in film. Having strong, independent, and confident women in film is extremely important for young women to watch. Fierce role models in film and television shapes young girls’ perceptions of themselves.

Here are 10 #GENspiring and powerful female characters in movies!

1. Hermione Granger – Harry Potter

Hermione Granger is not only the top of her class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but she is also a fighter alongside Harry and Ron. Hermione isn’t afraid to show her intelligence, nor is she fearful to speak up for herself.


2. Merida – Brave  

Merida is not your typical princess searching for her true love’s kiss with Prince Charming. Instead, she fights for the freedom to do what she wants. Merida is a strong and unique princess. She displays fiery red hair and a curvy figure with pride, which is not the norm for Disney princesses. She embraces her wild hair and bold personality.


3. Imperator Furiosa – Mad Max 

Imperator Furiosa is not your average hero. She is gritty and heroic. She sets out to save five women who are captured by the enemy. Furiosa destroys the myth that women are not fighters nor heroes, and she proves that women can save the day.


4. Nakia, Okoye, and Shuri – Black Panther 

Shuri is the princess of Wakanda, but she is also the mastermind behind all of Wakanda’s science, weaponry, inventions, and armor.  Shuri is said to be the “Rihanna of science and technology,” and we can all agree that she totally rocks. Alongside Shuri is Nakia, a fellow fighter and warrior. Nakia is unapologetically herself and a believer in her abilities to be unstoppable. Finally, we have Okoye, the fiercest general of the Dora Milaje, which is Wakanda’s army. She stands by her country even when her loved ones are against her.


5. Mulan – Mulan

Mulan can do anything a man can do – and more, since she is the one who defeats Shan Yu. She disguises herself as a man to take her father’s place in the war against the Huns, tricking everyone. She is unstoppable, confident, and courageous. She proves that women do not have adhere to traditional gender roles.


6. Storm – X-Men

Storm is one of the teachers and leaders of the X-Men. She has a super power like no other – she can create her own storms and manipulate them. Storm is a fabulous role model because she illustrates that women can be leaders just as powerful as their male counterparts.


7. Elle Woods – Legally Blonde 

Elle Woods is the definition of girl power. After many of her peers dumbed her down to a stereotype, she decided to prove them all wrong and do the unthinkable – go to Harvard Law School. Elle becomes the best in her class and refuses to listen to the men and women who try to take her down. She persists to earn her degree from Harvard while still being her authentic self.


8. Princess Leia – Star Wars 

Princess Leia is a fantastic role model for young girls because she can be poised, determined, courageous, and fierce all at the same time. Princess Leia does not stand on the side lines while Hans Solo and Luke do all the work. She takes part in the action and saves people.


9. Starr Carter – The Hate U Give 

Starr Carter is a strong female lead because she stands up for justice and what she believes in. This is necessary for young girls to see on page and screen. Starr does not back down against her challengers, and she fights for the rights of racial equality.


10. Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson – Hidden Figures 

These women weren’t just characters in a movie, rather they were real life women working in STEM. These women are the masterminds in NASA. They were the first African-American women to contribute to one of the biggest NASA operations in history – the launch of astronaut John Glenn during the space race – a turbulent time in history. These powerful women inspire  many young girls and women because they show that women in STEM are unstoppable.



Felicia Gonzalez