Women’s Month is drawing to a close, but the women in our lives continue to support us every day of the year.

Celebrate them with these songs by strong women for strong women.

These songs are for our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, colleagues, confidants, lovers and all the women that touch our lives every day…

15. Beyoncé – Run the world (Girls)

I guess this song has to be on any list celebrating strong women post-2011. Who should run the world? Maybe give the ladies a chance. (Rooting for you Hillary!)

“My persuasion can build a nation.
Endless power our love we can devour.
You’ll do anything for me.”

14. Gwen Stefani – Hollaback girl

This fun song is about not taking anybody’s BS. Stand up for yourself and put them in their place.

“People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up
So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack
Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out”

13. Britney – Stronger

Britney has been a part of pop culture since she burst onto the scene in 1998. She’s had her very public ups and downs, but always ends up on top, and as she says:

“You might think that I won’t make it on my own
But now I’m
Stronger than yesterday
Now it’s nothing but my way”

12. Kelly Clarkson – Breakaway

This song is not just about finding yourself, but having enough faith in yourself to take the leap:

“I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly
I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky
And I’ll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun”

11. Little Jackie – The whole world should revolve around me

This song is a celebration of being who you are, loud and proud. And why not? Like Jackie says,

“I am an endangered species,
This kind of flower don’t grow on Earth,
Just lettin’ you know for what it’s worth”.

Let your freak flag fly!

“Ain’t nothing gonna get in between me and my flow,
Ain’t nothing gonna come between me and my afro.”

You are amazing, however you look and whatever you do – and maybe the world should revolve around you.

10. Katie Perry – Roar

Girl power now! Be strong, and don’t be afraid to rock the boat or make a mess. Whatever your battle cry, roar it out proudly:

“You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake the ground”
You’ve got the eye of the tiger, you’re a fighter, so dance through the fire and let them hear you roar.

9. Madonna – You’ll see

Madonna was a trailblazer when it came to songs about expressing yourself (pun intended) and female power, but this one is my favourite. For me, this song is about being like a phoenix – rising out of the ashes stronger and more vibrant:

“All by myself
I don’t need anyone at all
I know I’ll survive
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ll stand on my own
I won’t need anyone this time
It will be mine
No one can take it from me
You’ll see”

8. Scarlet – Independent Love Song

Love, love, love. It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of (apparently). However you feel about love, do it the way you want to, Just like Scarlet preaches.
I don’t think this is just another boring love song…

7. Lesley Gore – You don’t own me

This golden oldie has been promoting female empowerment since 1963:

“I’m young and I love to be young
I’m free and I love to be free
To live my life the way I want
To say and do whatever I please”
And this means:
“I don’t tell you what to say
I don’t tell you what to do
So just let me be myself
That’s all I ask of you”

6. Meredith Brooks – Bitch

We women are multi-faceted creatures full of depths, complexities and contradictions. This song by Meredith Brooks celebrates this:

“I’m a little bit of everything all rolled into one”.

5. Aretha Franklin – R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This song was originally written and performed by Otis Redding in 1965, but then Aretha took it, put a woman’s spin on it and made a girl power anthem for the ages.

4. Florence + The Machine – Shake it out

We all have our regrets and issues:

“Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play
And every demon wants his pound of flesh”

But like Florence says, it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake it out. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed by the things that bring you down, we all face our own demons. Sometimes the battle seems too costly, but you can beat them. Just shake them off – just because we stumble, it doesn’t mean we fall.

3. Eurythmics featuring Aretha Franklin – Sisters are doin’ it for themselves

Another classic girl power anthem, it’s no surprise that this song – written to “celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state” – made the list. Enjoy.

2. Christina Aguilera – Beautiful

Another fixture in pop culture since the late 90s, Christina Aguilera has produced a few empowering songs, but this earnest song is my favourite. Sad and beautiful, this tune is for everyone who’s ever felt like they aren’t good enough, or less than what they are – you are beautiful in every single way.

“We’re beautiful
No matter what they say
Yes words won’t bring us down
Oh no
We are beautiful
In every single way
Yes words can’t bring us down”

1. Sarah Bareilles – Brave

This super fun and catchy song has a great message – don’t let your light be snuffed out by ugly, hurtful words and criticisms. We’ve all been hurt, and we’ve all tried to be different to fit in. But, to borrow from a chick flick, why try to fit in when you were born to stand out? So, how big is your brave?

“Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down
By the enemy
Fallen for the fear and done some disappearing
Bow down to the mighty
Don’t run, stop holding your tongue
Maybe there’s a way out of the cage where you live
Maybe one of these days you can let the light in
Show me how big your brave is
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave”

More songs for all the strong women out there:

Christina Aguilera – The voice within
Secrets – by Mary Lambert
Tracy Chapman – Fast Car
Cher – Strong Enough
Destiny’s Child – Survivor
Alanis Morisette – Not the Doctor
Christina Aguilera – Survivor
TLC – No scrubs
Shania Twain – Man, I feel like a woman
Keri Hilson – Pretty Girl Rock
Eleanor Gaynor – I will survive
Spice Girls – Wannabe
P!nk – Don’t let me get me
Demi Lovato – Confident
TLC – Unpretty
Jordin Sparks – I am woman
Rachel Platten – Fight Song
Alicia Keys – Superwoman
Helen Reddy – I Am Woman
Mary J. Blige – Good Woman Down
Christina Aguilera – Fighter
Missy Higgins – Scar

What songs do you think celebrate strong women? Tell us in the comments.

About The Author

Ula Van Zyl

Ula van Zyl is a sub-editor at a major news outlet. She has been a bibliophile since she could recognise the little squiggly things as letters and words. Ula is the person you want to have on your pub quiz team, but is, unfortunately, already committed to a team at present.

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