If you’re looking for exciting new TV shows on Netflix that feature strong female leads, here are a few suggestions to add to your watch list.
Whether it’s a good old-fashioned kick ass or a celebration of sisterhood, Netflix shows with strong leads and female leads are in a class apart. Both relatable and inspiring, we’ve curated a collection of titles that deliver entertainment with a heavy dose of empowerment from these female leads who inspire the girls and women of our generation.
From the obedient and demure damsel in distress of the ’80s to the independent and opinionated boss of today, female leads have undergone a massive evolution in the last few decades. Today, they are more than just agents of destiny: they drive change, show emotional depth, break down gender bias, and add complexity to the plot. Not to mention, they also address the everyday challenges faced by people who identify as women.
Many shows that feature these characters pass the Bechdel test, which measures the portrayal of women in fiction by highlighting conversations that don’t include a man. Best part? They cover a variety of genres, from comedy to suspense. And if binge-watching is on your mind, we’ve curated a set of well-written series with women as strong leads on Netflix.
These Netflix Shows Feature Strong Female Leads
A light-hearted series underscored with humor and relatability: derry girls explores the ethnonationalist conflict called The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Follow the lives of teenage girls, Erin, Orla, Clare, and Michelle, as they navigate classic coming-of-age themes like sex, overbearing parenting, fashion, relationships, and more.
The show subverts stereotypes by presenting Irish women of the time as layered, assertive, funny and intelligent individuals, whether young or old, rather than widowed maidens in distress. And the show is hailed for exactly this quality. In fact, the women are front and center of the plot, driving change while keeping things entertaining. With strong female leads that make up an all-female comedy ensemble like no other, this Netflix show is a must-see.
IMDB Rating: 8.4
jane the virgin
While we’re on the subject of comedies, I’d be remiss not to mention this drama that tells the story of a devout young Catholic girl who discovers she was accidentally artificially inseminated during a routine checkup. A waitress at a hotel in Miami, she deals with the news while juggling her life with her matriarchal grandmother and her single mother.
As her journey progresses, the show touches on themes of bodily autonomy, workplace dynamics, female friendships, and general struggles of those who identify with gender. And he does it with great sensitivity. Combine that with rib-tickling humor and the weirdest set of plot twists and you’ve got a show worthy of a binge.
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Adding a classic touch to this summary, gilmore girls follows the lives of a young single mother Lorelai and her teenage daughter Rory in the small town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut. An iconic drama, the show stands out with eccentric characters and witty humor. Rory hangs Planned Parenthood posters in her Yale bedroom and reads feminist titles like Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women.
Meanwhile, Lorelai asserts her opinion and constantly challenges the ‘housewife’ standard imposed on women during her time. Meanwhile, the show champions female role models, explores female friendships, and addresses their struggles. In fact, the female characters are as opinionated as they come, offering valuable advice on love, relationships, career, growth, and more throughout the seasons. This is also a great comfort watch.
IMDB Rating: 8.2
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
If you’re craving some supernatural binge eating, this title is the one. Based on the Archie comic series of the same name, it follows the life of Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch, who needs to find a balance between two worlds, Earth and Hell, while battling forces determined to harm humans. From the start, the show identifies as feminist: Sabrina, as the lead, is brave, independent, and resourceful, while retaining a certain sensitivity that is often perceived as a weakness in women.
And she’s backed by eccentric and strong aunts. The plot touches on issues of gender and sexuality, while reiterating the need for women to reclaim their destinies and follow their passions. Not to mention, there are plenty of hair-raising cliffhangers that will keep you on the edge of your seats.
IMDB Rating: 7.4
Based on real life cases, The crown centers on Queen Elizabeth II as she takes control of the most popular and prosperous monarchy in the world. While dealing with political decline, internal power plays, and complicated family dynamics, the show explores the struggles women in positions of power often face. Although it is not a totally feminist show, The crownThe initiative of is a force to be reckoned with, whether it be about her choice of husband or the hiring of a tutor to further her education.
She also reflects on the double standards that women face in society, for example, with the law that prohibited them from marrying divorced men. In addition, her sister Margaret also constantly avoids the norms of society. Rarely do historical fictions focus solely on a female lead, and The Crown does so with ease. That, along with some stellar writing, make this a must-see.
IMDB Rating: 8.7
Strong girl Do Bong-Soon
Adding a touch of K-drama to this list, this show takes a look at Do Bong-Soon, a seemingly ordinary girl with the extraordinary gift of superhuman strength. Hired to protect the CEO of a game company, she wishes to star in her own video game. The protagonist is morally upright, stubborn and free-spirited, with dreams and ambitions.
These elevate her superpower trait and make her a layered character. The show subtly touches on the gender roles women are expected to occupy in society and other aspects of the patriarchy, as the protagonist hunts down a kidnapper on the loose. If there is a Netflix show that makes you feel empowered, this is it. In addition, there are also many laughs interwoven.
The Queen’s Gambit
This drama follows an orphan who goes from being a shy and introverted teenager to a chess prodigy with a substance problem. The show highlights the standard set for women in society, and the female lead challenges constructions through her behavior, outfits, and everyday choices. She is bold, stubborn, and independent, often seen as masculine traits. Not to mention that chess is seen as a man’s game. In line with this, the dialogues hit the mark. Take, for example, the moment you’re asked to post a big win: “How does it feel to be a girl among all those men?”
This Netflix show is widely celebrated for its representation of feminism through the female lead: strong and unapologetic.
A thriller that has taken India by storm, delhi crime deals with the justice system in India. Leading the charge in this Netflix show is DCP Vartika Chaturvedi, a strong female lead who takes charge of a gruesome and grisly gang rape case in Delhi. Right next to her is a young policewoman Neeti Singh, who has just joined the force. Chaturvedi is stubborn, intelligent, and assertive. However, he also retains sensitivity, seen as a weakness in patriarchal cultures. He also routinely addresses women’s struggles while helping his teenage daughter deal with the same. That, along with action-packed sequences, make this a must-see.
All images: Courtesy of Netflix
This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia India