There is nothing I love more than seeing strong female characters portrayed on television and film. I’m more likely to gravitate towards a TV show that portrays women in dominant roles, and I know I’m not the only one who feels the same.
Research conducted by San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film concluded that in 2016, women comprised 29% of protagonists on television. However, the percentage of female characters in speaking roles (major and minor) was 32%, down 1 percentage point from 2015. This indicates that while audiences were more than twice as likely to see male characters as female characters on screen, women fared better as protagonists and major characters last year.
That being said, there is a lot of work still to be done, but here are 10 shows that feature women that we can all look up to!
1. How to Get Away with Murder
Oscar Winner Viola Davis plays Annalise Keating, a high profile lawyer and law professor with an insane personal life that just never seems to slow down. It is also one of the few shows on television that focuses on a middle-aged woman of colour.
Kerry Washington’s character, Olivia Pope, is partially based on former George H.W. Bush administration press aide Judy Smith, who serves as a co-executive producer. Just when you think the show can’t get any crazier, it does. Scandal also features some of the most inspiring female role models on television today.
3. Grace and Frankie
Starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, Netflix’s “Grace and Frankie” is one of the first shows in recent years that has focused on older women. Grace and Frankie are vibrant, sexual, gloriously nuanced characters — the kinds of women in TV we’d like to see more of.
Supergirl features the only female heroine that has her own television show. Melissa Benoist is a perfect mixture of wholesome and fearless and bring a powerful portrayal of the character. Bonus: you’ll also fall in love with the supporting cast!
Priyanka Chopra plays Alex Parrish, a FBI trainee, and features so many twists and turns that will never keep you bored. Featuring an impressive supporting cast of women AND women of colour, this is a must watch.
You may know Sarah Jessica Parker better from her stint as Carrie Fisher in Sex in the City, however this is a newer side to the actress. Parker plays Frances, a woman who begins to reevaluated her life and her marriage, and desperately wants a fresh start.
7. Orphan Black
Canadian actress Tatiana Maslany, who plays several different characters (or clones), who all get wrapped up into a large conspiracy. It is a must watch simply for Maslany’s brilliance, whose talents are immeasurable.
The immensely talented Issa Rae stars alongside Yvonne Orji in a comedy about two modern black women navigating the awkward moments of life. It bears much of a resemblance to Rae’s viral webseries, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.
There is no denying the talents of Julie Louis-Dreyfus, and she’s been bringing her absolute best to Veep for five seasons (Season 6 premieres in April). Louis-Dreyfus portrays Selina Meyer, Vice President of the United States. It pokes fun at politics in the most hilarious but truthful way and it hooks you in instantly.
Star is about a girl group on the surface, however the compelling drama explores deeper issues of race relations and classism — subject matter that creator Lee Daniels is all too familiar with – who also works on the hit Empire.