100 Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women
Rock on, Ladies!
100 Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women
Music is a powerful thing... It can inspire, empower, motivate, and move people. It can push boundaries, stir the pot, and influence change. Music can soothe and sadden, enlighten or refresh. It cheers us up when we are down, or helps us wallow in the depths of our misery. My personal favorite music is music that inspires and empowers. As a woman, I especially enjoy music that is specifically inspiring or empowering for women. Hence why I created this list! I want to share my love of amazing music for women with you all.
To be fair, many of the songs on this list could be inspiring and empowering for men too. So if you're a man and you're here, don't feel bad! Just enjoy some great music!
But I DID make this list for women, so that is where my focus will lie. With women. All women.
This list is for women whose sex is female, women who are female by gender only, men who identify as women, those who dress as women, and/or those who are in the process of becoming women or wish to become women.
This list is not feminist, nor is it about feminism, though there are some feminist songs on the list. It is about inspiring and empowering women of all different backgrounds in a variety of ways.
If you're interested, I have also included my reasoning for why I chose each of the hundred songs that I did, as well as polls to vote on your favorites, and a comments section to let me know which songs I may have missed.
So without further ado, here is my list of the top 100 inspiring and empowering songs for women...
Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women
We are BEAUTIFUL and we deserve to be inspired and empowered!
100 Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women (in alphabetical order)
- Ain't Nuthin but a She Thing - Salt N Pepa
- Any Man of Mine - Shania Twain
- Army of Dolls - Delain
- Bad Reputation - Joan Jett
- Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
- Before the Parade Passes by ("Hello Dolly") - Barbra Streisand
- B*tch - Meredith Brooks
- Body Beautiful - Salt N Pepa
- Born this Way - Lady Gaga
- Brave - Sara Bareilles
- Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson
- Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus
- Can't Hold Us Down - Christina Aguilera
- Cinderella - The Cheetah Girls
- Circus - Britney Spears
- Conceited - Remy Ma
- Control - Janet Jackson
- Cross the Line - Superchick
- Dancing Queen - Abba
- Don't Stop Believing - Journey
- Don't You Know You're Beautiful - Kellie Pickler
- Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill
- Fighter - Christina Aguilera
- Firework - Katy Perry
- Follow Your Arrow - Kacey Musgraves
- Free Your Mind - En Vogue
- F*cking Perfect - Pink
- Girl in a Country Song - Maddie and Tae
- Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys
- Girl Power - The Cheetah Girls
- Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
- Girls with Guitars - Wynonna Judd
- Gunpowder and Lead - Miranda Lambert
- Hands - Jewel
- Hero - Mariah Carey
- Hey Hey - Superchick
- Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
- I am Woman - Helen Reddy
- I'm a Survivor - Reba McEntire
- I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan
- I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
- Independent Women Pt. 1 - Destiny's Child
- I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
- Just a Girl - No Doubt
- Just Because I'm a Woman - Dolly Parton
- Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
- Keep Ya Head Up - Tupac Shakur
- Let it Go (Disney's "Frozen") - Idina Menzel
- Let the River Run ("Working Girl") - Carly Simon
- Man, I Feel Like a Woman - Shania Twain
- Never Underestimate a Girl - Vanessa Hudgens
- No Scrubs - TLC
- None of Your Business - Salt N Pepa
- Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
- One Girl Revolution - Superchick
- One Moment in Time - Whitney Houston
- People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson
- Phenomenal Woman - Olivia Newton John
- Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson
- Q.U.E.E.N. - Janelle Monae ft. Erykah Badu
- Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
- Redneck Woman - Gretchen Wilson
- Respect - Aretha Franklin
- Roar - Katy Perry
- She's Not Just a Pretty Face - Shania Twain
- She Works Hard for the Money - Donna Summer
- Show 'Em (What You're Made Of) - Backstreet Boys
- Sing - My Chemical Romance
- Sisters are Doin' it for Themselves - Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin
- Skyscraper - Demi Lovato
- Strong Enough - Cher
- Stronger - Britney Spears
- Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson
- Stupid Girls - Pink
- Survivor - Destiny's Child
- Take Me as I Am - Mary J. Blige
- That's What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
- The Climb - Miley Cyrus
- The Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
- The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
- The Voice Within - Christina Aguilera
- These Boots are Made for Walking - Nancy Sinatra
- This One's for the Girls - Martina McBride
- Titanium - David Guetta ft. Sia
- True Believer - E-Type
- Try - Colbie Caillat
- U + UR Hand - Pink
- U.N.I.T.Y. - Queen Latifah
- Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
- Video - India Arie
- Wannabe - Spice Girls
- We R Who We R - Ke$ha
- What a Feeling ("Flashdance") - Irene Cara
- What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
- What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful ("The Princess Diaries") - Backstreet Boys
- Who Says - Selena Gomez
- You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore
- You Gotta Be - Des'ree
- You Haven't Seen the Last of Me ("Burlesque") - Cher
- You're Still You - Josh Groban
So many great songs to inspire and empower women!!!
If 100 Songs Just Aren't Enough...
So there it is: MY list of 100 Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women.
I wonder if I missed any of your favorites. If so, let me know in the comment section below.
Also, check out my massive list of honorable mentions. It is full of wonderfully inspiring and empowering songs for women that just barely missed out on making it on the main list.
(I limited myself to 100 after all, and that turned out to be harder than I thought. Which is actually a good sign - means there's more inspiring and empowering music for women out there, right?)
Don't forget to vote in the polls!
And enjoy even more inspirational and empowering music for women...
Pushed past the point of breaking? You can take it! Let Cher inspire you!
Are you a Warrior too?
- 32 Flavors - Ani DiFranco
- Anthem - Superchick
- Battle Without Honor or Humanity - Tomoyasu Hotei
- Bills, Bills, Bills - Destiny's Child
- Bloody Mother F*cking As*hole - Martha Wainwright
- Blow - Ke$ha
- Bootylicious - Destiny's Child
- Bulletproof - La Roux
- Closer to the Edge - 30 Second to Mars
- Dancing on My Own - Robyn
- Feel Right - Mark Ronson ft. Mystikal
- Happy - Pharrell Williams
- Hard out Here - Lily Allen
- Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles
- I Can Make it Through the Rain - Mariah Carey
- I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson
- I Don't Mind - Usher ft. Juicy J
- Imagine - John Lennon
- Let Me Be - The Turtles
- Let Me Love You (Until You Learn to Love Yourself) - Ne-Yo
- Maniac - Michael Sembello
- No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley
- One Day I'll Fly Away ("Moulin Rouge") - Nicole Kidman
- Piece of Me - Britney Spears
- Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
- Red High Heels - Kellie Pickler
- Rock N' Roll N*gger - Patti Smith
- Rock What You Got - Superchick
- Run the World (Girls) - Beyonce
- Seasons of Love ("Rent") - Full Cast
- Separate Ways - Journey
- Silent All These Years - Tori Amos
- So What - Pink
- Something in the Water - Carrie Underwood
- Song for the Lonely - Cher
- Take it Off - Ke$ha
- The Show Must Go On - Queen
- Unpretty - TLC
- Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
- Warrior - Demi Lovato
- What the Hell - Avril Lavigne
- Whip My Hair - Willow Smith
- Woman is the N*gger of the World - John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and the Plastic Ono Band
- You Raise Me Up - Josh Groban
A few of MY songs that qualify:
- Hey... it's Alright
- I Might Find You
- To Be the Peace
PLUS the music/art of the punk, rock, performance art group Pussy Riot.
Feeling down? Pull out your Red High Heels!
I write songs to inspire and empower as well... my cat Ava helps...
Why these songs? Let me tell you...
All of the songs on this list are inspiring and/or empowering for women in one way or another. Some choices are perhaps more obvious than others though, so I thought I would let you know WHY I chose the songs that I did for this list of inspirational and empowering songs.
Most of what I have to say here is my opinion, so please don't take any of it as gospel truth or as me trying to shove beliefs about song meanings down your throat. Oh no! That's not what this is at all! This is just a little insight (well... a lot of insight) into why I chose the songs that I did for this very powerful and important list of inspirational and empowering songs for women.
So please, settle in for one woman's take on some of the best songs for women ever sung...
Nobody can hold US down!
Follow your arrow wherever it points...
Read on to see WHY I chose the songs I did...
Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women 1-25
Ain't Nuthin but a She Thing - Salt N Pepa
From the opening beats of this hip jam, Salt N Pepa command the ears to listen. This song speaks on the power of women, our abilities to do anything we want and be whatever we want, and it also highlights gender inequality of the time that we are STILL fighting today.
"Go to work and get paid less than a man, when I'm doing the same damn thing that he can!"
Preach it ladies, preach.
Any Man of Mine - Shania Twain
Gone are the days of women having to fight to win a man. We can be fought over instead! Women can be selective and choose what they want in a partner! So says Shania Twain! And she makes the fact clearly known in "Any Man of Mine" where she states that she wants a man who will love her even when she's ugly AND a man who will eat up her burnt dinner with gusto to show appreciation. (Not to mention that he needs to be heartbeating, fine-treating, breathtaking, and Earth quaking.) What woman doesn't want that?
Army of Dolls - Delain
This edgy, hard rock song looks at how we tend to let society's standards dictate how we should look and live and challenges us to change our thinking and our ways.
"It’s your hand and yours alone that has opened the door to let their voices in,
Into your head, under your skin... Fix your face or you will never fit in..."
To me, this song is incredibly empowering. Plus, I dare you not to sing along with the catchy-as-all-else chorus! It's brilliant!
Bad Reputation - Joan Jett
People are going to say what they're going to say anyway, so you might as well do what you want and not care about a bad reputation. Like Joan Jett!
Joan empowers through her musicianship in general, but she especially shines on "Bad Reputation" because she inspires women to go out and do what they want without worrying about what the haters are going to say!
"You're living in the past, it's a new generation! A girl can do what she wants to do and that's what I'm gonna do!"
Beautiful - Christina Aguilera
This amazing, inspirational song comes from an album full of female empowerment: Christina Aguilera's Stripped. I had to put this on the list because it talks about loving oneself and seeing the true beauty within. Women need to be empowered and inspired by that message...
"You are beautiful in every single way..."
Before the Parade Passes By ("Hello Dolly") - Barbra Streisand
I wanted to include this empowering song from the musical Hello Dolly because on more than one occasion, it has inspired me personally to go out and follow my dreams. I want it to inspire other women to do the same.
"I need a goal again, I need a drive again, I want to feel my heart coming alive again... before the parade passes by..."
B*tch - Meredith Brooks
Talk about embracing who you are, flaws and all! Meredith Brooks unabashedly sang to everyone that she was a b*tch, lover, child, mother, sinner, saint, and more and she embraced it with every ounce of her being, inspiring women everywhere to realize that it's okay not to be society's version of perfect. In fact, it's even better to be imperfect and yourself!
And Meredith Brooks "wouldn't want it any other way!"
Body Beautiful - Salt N Pepa
This song is about what it sounds like it's about - the beautiful female body. More than that though, it is about loving and embracing your beautiful female body. As a fitness trainer I especially like the line "I celebrate the body and enjoy good health..." because it is important to love your body and treat it well. Healthy is the new standard of beauty, after all, and a big part of being healthy is loving yourself.
So listen to Salt N Pepa and love your body beautiful!
Born this Way - Lady Gaga
This song had to be on the list. Lady Gaga is a huge inspiration for many women, as well as for much of the GLBTQ community, and many others as well. This particular song shows why.
Lady Gaga tells us in her lyrics that "we are all born superstars..." and we actually believe her! This is a great song to listen to when you need a super poppy reminder that you're "on the right track baby" because you were "born this way!"
Brave - Sara Bareilles
This song deals with the idea that we tend to shut down and internalize things instead of speaking out against them! So through the music and lyrics of the tune, Sara Bareilles implores us instead to be "brave" by opening our mouths and making a change!
"Say what you want to say, and let the words fall out!"
To me, it is quite inspirational and empowering for women. It is telling us to be brave, speak our minds, and make real changes in this world. Yes!
Breakaway - Kelly Clarkson
This song is definitely inspirational and empowering! It talks of getting out there and exploring the world, breaking free from darkness and doubt, and finding success as you pursue your dreams - but it's also about not forgetting your roots either. To me, that is a very important and inspiring message for women.
"I'll spread my wings and I'll learn how to fly..."
If you need to breakaway from something negative in your life, this is a great song to do it to.
Can't Be Tamed - Miley Cyrus
Yes, most likely Miley Cyrus was just attempting to further distance herself from Hannah Montana and shed a "good girl image" when she dropped this catchy single a few years back, but it doesn't make it any less empowering. It talks of an independence and freedom of spirit that can definitely inspire greatness and individuality, not to mention self acceptance and love.
"Well I'm not a trick you play, I'm wired a different way; I'm not a mistake, I'm not a fake,
it's set in my DNA..."
Can't Hold Us Down - Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera gave the world this female power anthem that focuses quite a bit on the disparity between how men and women are treated when it comes to voicing opinions on sexuality and being involved in sexual activity.
"This is for my girls all around the world, who've come across a man who don't respect your worth, thinking all women should be seen, not heard...
So what do we do girls?
Shout out loud!"
Lil' Kim even chimes in on the subject with a rap midway through the jam to add to the female powerhouse status of this empowering song, emphasizing Xtina's message perfectly:
"Here's something I just can't understand: If the guy have three girls then he's the man.
He can either give us some head, sex a roar... If the girl do the same, then she's a whore..."
Yeah... what's with that?
Cinderella - The Cheetah Girls
The Cheetah Girls were a major "Girl Power" influence for young girls in their heyday. It's no wonder... With songs like this, the empowering gals of The Cheetah Girls inspired ladies everywhere to believe in themselves and the power that they have to achieve their goals and save themselves!
"I don't want to be like Cinderella, sittin' in a dark cold dusty cellar waitin' for somebody to come and set me free.
I don't want to be like someone waiting for a handsome prince to come and save me..."
Not that they don't believe in equality and love, because they do! They just know that women are capable of rescuing themselves too.
Circus - Britney Spears
Britney Spears has handled more than her share of scandal, scrutiny, and judgment, so when she sings "all eyes on me, I'm the center of the ring, just like a circus..." it holds a bit more weight in my eyes. But this song is about embracing that spotlight, not rejecting it, in that it is the idea of being in control of the circus that is one's life, even if it is as turbulent and crazy as Brit's is. Too deep for a Britney song, you say? Bah! This song was written by Dr. Luke, Claude Kelly and Benny Blanco to be a direct reflection of Spears' life in the center of the celebrity three ring circus of the entertainment industry. It helped inspire Britney's entire Circus album, which in itself is surprisingly empowering.
"I'm like a ringleader, I call the shots."
Yes, all mighty Ms. Spears, you do. And women all around the world can too!
Conceited - Remy Ma
For a song that's title blatantly states that it is conceited, the song is actually not that conceited at all, nor is it about being conceited as much as it's about having confidence and standards. Sure, it's a bit tongue in cheek at moments and it has it's bouts of over emphasized, self-congratulatory, "tough girl" talk, but that's part of it's undeniable charm! It is truly an inspiring and empowering jam.
"I'm conceited. I got a reason."
Several reasons, actually. And they're all good.
Control - Janet Jackson
Trying to bust free from her controlling father, Janet struck out with this empowering song for women everywhere. It talks about growing up, making your own choices, and taking control of your own life. It is still a very relevant tune today, due to the universal theme of transitioning from childhood to adult life, which comes at different times for everyone, but comes regardless.
"This is a story about control. My control.
Control of what I say, control of what I do... And this time I'm gonna do it my way."
You tell it, girl!
Cross the Line - Superchick
When a song comes from a band called Superchick, it can't be that surprising to find that it is inspiring and/or empowering for women, right?
And this song definitely is!
It talks about shaking things up, changing the world, defying those who call you crazy, and making a real difference in one's lifetime. Plus, Superchick lets us in on a little secret:
"Everybody dies, but not everyone lives."
Let your brain stir THAT one around for awhile and see if you're not inspired to do your part in making this world a better place for women, and everyone!
Dancing Queen - Abba
Talk about a great song about being in control of your sexuality and power as a woman! A woman having the power to go out, have fun, get her groove on and dance with some gentlemen of her choosing, and not be ashamed of her powers of seduction or her natural feminine desires is, well... fantastic! It's very empowering, especially as the "Dancing Queen" is apparently only seventeen. To have that kind of confidence and fire that only seems possible in someone more seasoned, like Samantha Jones from Sex and the City, in someone only seventeen is inspiring in itself! (Though you could look at it like this: that the "Dancing Queen" feels seventeen when out on the town dancing like in their younger days... but that too, in it's essence, is inspiring.)
"You are the Dancing Queen! Young and sweet, only seventeen...
Dancing Queen, feel the beat from the tambourine, oh yeah!
You can dance, you can jive; having the time of your life...
See that girl; watch that scene; digging the Dancing Queen!"
Don't Stop Believing - Journey
Who ISN'T inspired by this amazing pop/rock anthem by Journey? From it's catchy guitar riffs, to it's deep feels, to a chorus that inspires groups everywhere to burst out singing together, this song oozes inspiration!
"Don't stop believing!"
Whatever your dream... don't stop believing in it, or in yourself.
Don't You Know You're Beautiful - Kellie Pickler
This country tune, sung beautifully by the sweet, effervescent Kellie Pickler, speaks mainly to young girls, and it is full of wonderful advice for them! From not basing your worth on the price of your clothes to not caving in to the peer pressure to have sex before your ready, this song hits on several themes that young women have to deal with as they are transitioning from childhood to adulthood and it is a wonderfully empowering song for young women, and really, women of all ages.
"Don't you know you're beautiful, just the way you are."
Yes, you are. YOU, reading this - I'm talking to you!
Doo Wop (That Thing) - Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill doles out advice to both women and men in this inspiring jam, but I can't help but feel that the advice aimed at the men is still advice aimed at women. This song inspires women to speak with confidence and honesty to their friends (due to Hill's blunt take on things in her lyrics), gives practical guidance on what healthy relationships are NOT, and makes it clear that those only concerned with "that thing" are not worth one's time and effort.
"Girls you know you better watch out. Some guys, some guys, are only about that thing, that thing, that thing..."
Thanks for the heads up, girl!
Fighter - Christina Aguilera
Another song from Aguilera's Stripped album, this one packs a major punch in a rather rockin' way for a pop song. Not only is it empowering in it's message of strength and growth when dealing with people who take advantage of you, abuse you, use you, or betray you, but it is also empowering and inspiring simply due to the vocal Olympics that are Xtina's singing lines in this hot tune. Coming out of others, the vocal style would be forced and ill-conceived, perhaps even overbearing, but coming out of Christina Aguilera? It is like bits of her soul have exploded into vocal genius and soulful, lyrical, almost acrobatic-like lines emerge from that explosion that not only impress, but move, the listener.
"After all that you put me through, you'd think I'd despise you...
But in the end I wanna thank you, 'cause you made that much stronger."
Well, I don't despise Christina Aguilera, I adore her and this song, but I'm still inspired by it to thank her "for making me a fighter." This song really helped me personally. It inspired me to look at how I reacted to other peoples' treatment of me in whole new ways and I am forever grateful and changed.
Firework - Katy Perry
As catchy as it is inspiring, this easy-to-jump-to song is definitely an empowering jam for women, and really for anyone who has ever felt "like a plastic bag drifting through the wind... wanting to start again."
We can all start over. Every moment of every day is a chance at a new start if you want it or need it. And if you decide that you do, you can start your new beginning off dancing on the right foot with this pop gold. It tells us that it's okay to know you're amazing and to feel free to shine! What a great, empowering, inspiring message!
"Baby, you're a firework! Come on, let your colors burst!"
Listen to Katy Perry! Get out there and light up the world! She believes in you, and I do too! Hopefully, so do you! If not, listen a few more times...
Follow Your Arrow - Kacey Musgraves
This country/folk/pop song has to be one of the best, if not the best song of recent years, about loving yourself, not worrying about what others think, and living the life you want to lead. Kacey Musgraves talks about the hypocrisy of judgment, and how "you're damned if you do and damned if you don't." Ain't THAT the truth.
From not attending church and being doomed for life with the Devil, to sitting in the front pew and being a "self-righteous son of a..." to being a drunk when you drink versus a prude when you don't, to kissing boys (or girls) and smoking joints (or not), Kacey Musgraves covers a lot of ground in under four minutes, but the point is clear -
"Follow your arrow, wherever it points."
That's an empowering message for women I can definitely stand for. And sing for. I love singing along to this jam while I live it's message in my daily life.
Be in Control of Your Own Circus
She's not THAT Conceited. There's Just Something About Remy...
I'm a Firework, You're a Firework, Baby, We're ALL Fireworks!
Which Songs are Your Favorites? (1-25)
Of the first 25 songs, which is YOUR favorite?
Ready for more of my insight? There are 75 more songs about confidence, self love, and more to talk about here...
Love yourself! A HERO lies in you!
Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women 26-50
Free Your Mind - En Vogue
"Free your mind, and the rest will follow!"
This song covers a plethora of issues from racial discrimination to ill-placed judgments inflicted on women (particularly women of color) and so much more. I love the attitude and strength that the members of En Vogue display in their vocal performances on the track and I especially enjoy how they have infused this song with so much energy and passion. This is most likely due to the fact that their producers wrote this partly in response to the Rodney King riots in the early 90's. I get the feeling that En Vogue felt the weight of the heavy issues discussed in the song so much that they poured their hearts and souls into the track, and in doing so, created an empowering song that will stand the test of time.
F*cking Perfect - Pink
Yeah, there is a clean version of this song, but I particularly like this version of Pink's pop/rock ballad better. Why? Well, you ever notice how sometimes it takes someone being brutally honest with you, maybe even letting loose and swearing at you, to finally make you see what they're trying to say? This song is like that.
Pink is like your hardened best friend, sister, or mother, trying to shake you awake with her words of wisdom gained from her hard knocks in life. I think it is important that we listen to her. (She does say "please" after all...)
"Pretty, pretty please, don't you ever, ever feel like you're less than f*cking perfect."
Girl in a Country Song - Maddie and Tae
This song has some good ol' country gal attitude. "Yeah, baby!" And I love it!
This song of female empowerment points a well-intentioned finger at the men of modern country music and "bro country" as it were, to highlight the unrealistic, male-centric, sexualized, and discriminatory way that women tend to be treated in modern country songs and music videos. Yeah, it has a little tongue in cheek sass and some lighthearted humor in it, but that doesn't change the fact that it deals with serious issues that should not be brushed under the rug.
"Bein' the girl in a country song... How in the world did it go so wrong?
Like all we're good for is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend -
nothing more. We used to get a little respect, now we're lucky if we even get to climb up in your truck, keep our mouth shut and ride along... and be the girl in a country song..."
Girl on Fire - Alicia Keys
This inspirational and empowering song for women has an amazing ability to set people on fire! Not literally, of course. Just that it happens to get the fire burning inside, inspiring all those who listen to it to shine. Not only is it the lyrics and the message, it is Alicia Keys' delivery of the lyrics and message. From the very first opening lines to the first time she hits you with that epic chorus hook, she is enchanting, and she doesn't stop being enchanting throughout the entirety of this dazzling pop masterpiece.
"This Girl is on Fire!!" she belts with strength and grace...
And I believe it. And she is setting others aflame as well. And we are better for it.
Girl Power - The Cheetah Girls
Hearing "Girl Power!" for many first brings to mind the pop sensation of the 90's that was The Spice Girls. But that sassy set of ladies never actually released a song called Girl Power. Instead, the generation that followed in their footsteps continued their legacy of female empowerment and GIRL POWER with groups like The Cheetah Girls and songs like this.
This catchy pop jam inspires girls to be confident and strong, and tells you to "throw your hands up if you know that you're a star! You better stand up if you know just who you are. Never give up never say die - Girl Power! Girl Power!"
I don't know about you, but I've got my hands up!
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
I love this song, because it allows for the idea that not everything has to be so serious! Lighten up, everyone!
"Cuz girls, we wanna have fun! Oh, girls just wanna have fun!"
There's nothing wrong with enjoying being a woman, loving your life, living it up, and having fun! So put on Cyndi Lauper's fun pop jam, dance around, and have some FUN!
Girls with Guitars - Wynonna
What do you get when you combine the song writing skills of the amazing Mary Chapin Carpenter with the raw, sexy vocal stylings of one Wynonna Judd? Well, you get an inspirational country/rock song like this!
This song tells the story of a young woman coming into her own who defies the expectations of her family and her doubters and naysayers to become one of the "girls with guitars!" It rocks!
Gunpowder and Lead - Miranda Lambert
If you still think girls are just sugar and spice and all things nice, Miranda Lambert's got a little life lesson for you.
Women are multidimensional and come from many walks of life and in many shapes and forms. Some are softer, some are tougher, some are made of frilly lace and frou frou and others are made of gunpowder and lead!
Miranda Lambert sings about such girls in this country/rock tune and provides an empowering tale of revenge and redemption as she does.
"I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun, wait by the door and light a cigarette.
If he wants a fight well now he's got one - and he ain't seen me crazy yet!
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll; don't that sound like a real man...
I'm going to show him what a little girls are made of - Gunpowder and lead!"
Now, I would never advise anyone to shoot their abusers... but there is a special satisfaction that comes with thinking that creeps like that will get what's coming to them in the end, isn't there?
"His fist is big but my gun's bigger. He'll find out when I pull the trigger..."
Gentlemen... you've been warned.
Hands - Jewel
Jewel's sweet, pure voice has never been so perfectly showcased as in this inspirational song. It tells of the strength that we all have inside of us to do better in this world and help humanity. Because every person, no matter how seemingly insignificant they may appear to others, can have an impact on this world if they simply put themselves out there, reach out their hands, and do good. From singing for those who have no voice to simply getting on your knees to pray, as long as you do something, you are making a difference.
"I won't be made useless... won't be idle with despair. Gather myself around my faith, cuz the light does the darkness most fear..."
Positivity and compassion go a long way and they leave lasting impacts on people forever. As Jewel states late in the song, "in the end, only kindness matters..." Kindness to others, to the world, to ourselves... I think she may be onto something. If you think so too, listen to this song and be inspired to be kinder in this life as well. It will make such a difference, believe me.
Hero - Mariah Carey
This beautiful pop ballad reminds us to look inward to find our strength and love.
"There's a hero, if you look inside your heart. You don't have to be afraid of what you are."
Love yourself, have confidence, and be true to YOU. That's what Mariah is telling you! Even when things get rough, "hold on, there will be tomorrow! And in time, you'll find a way..."
You will. When you truly love yourself, you are capable of just about anything and there is ALWAYS a way!
Hey Hey - Superchick
With a kind of Marilyn Manson-esque hard rock, grunge, industrial pop sound, Superchick delivers an empowering jam in the form of this incredibly catchy song that tells us to be ourselves and "anything that you want to!"
I personally love that this song has such a tough edge to it - makes me feel extra angst over society trying to dictate how women should live, which inspires me to continue to fight the good fight for equality and understanding. It also inspires me to continue to be myself and not sell out, "even if the whole world thinks I'm crazy..."
Hollaback Girl - Gwen Stefani
Though I am still not quite sure what a "hollaback girl" is, I know what Gwen Stefani is - an inspiring, empowering, creative, and talented individual with a lot of attitude and spunk - so if a "hollaback girl" is something that Stefani says she is not, I can only assume that it is not something to aspire to.
But even without a clear understanding of a "hollaback girl," I can still be quite empowered by Stefani's addictive, cheerleader chant-laced, track because of the fact that Gwen just oozes with attitude and confidence throughout. She lets it be known that she is ready for a fight, she is not going to back down or get brought down by people talking trash, and she is confident, strong, and sassy. Bonus: She teaches everyone how to spell bananas. "B-A-N-A-N-A-S!"
I am Woman - Helen Reddy
Talk about female empowerment. Long before the Spice Girls or Katy Perry, Helen Reddy sang out loudly and proudly:
"I am woman, hear me roar!"
I absolutely love the message of this song. It talks a lot about how women gain their strength from learning from their pain and hardship. It also describes that miracle aspect of being a strong, self-assured woman, which is that when we are put down or hurt, it only fuels us and makes us even stronger (sound like Christina Aguilera's Fighter, anyone?)
"Oh yes, I am wise; but it's wisdom born of pain. Yes, I've paid the price... but look how much I gained! If I have to, I can do anything. I am strong! I am invincible! I am woman!"
I'm a Survivor - Reba McEntire
Reba McEntire is one of my favorite singers of all time and an absolute role model and icon for me. I love that she has a unique sound that no one else has, I like that she is a strong performer with an amazing work ethic, I like that she is kind, compassionate, and giving, and I like that she extends her kindness wherever she goes. Now that THAT's out of the way, we can talk about this song.
Now, to me, Reba has an uncanny ability to be able to inspire and empower through ALL of her music, but this song stands out because it truly highlights some of the very difficult things that people, especially women, may face in life and shows that we can survive these things and come out stronger in the end. It also shows us that we can embrace the battles we go through and learn from them instead of letting them weigh us down or define us.
"I don't believe in self-pity; it only brings you down. May be the queen of broken hearts, but I don't hide behind the crown. When the deck is stacked against me, I just play a different game
My roots are planted in the past, and though my life is changing' fast, who I am is who I wanna be..."
Be proud of who you are and of the things you have survived, and as Reba does in this song, use those things to your advantage to learn, grow, be empowered, and be the best you yet! You can do it! You're a survivor too!
I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan
Self confidence is sexy, and Chaka Khan is oozing with self confidence in this empowering, hot jam where she claims she can cast her spell and satisfy in the love department. Rawr!
This song is so great that it was revived by Whitney Houston in 1993 for the soundtrack for The Bodyguard - and it became an even bigger hit! Which is telling... right?
I mean, when ONE great diva sings about self confidence, it should already make you sit up and take notice, but when TWO great divas sing about self confidence, you should be jumping out of your seat!
"I'm every woman! It's all in me!"
I Hope You Dance - Lee Ann Womack
This country/pop ballad sung exquisitely by country music darling Lee Ann Womack may be one of the most inspirational songs of all time. It urges people not to give up on life, to instead embrace it, learn from it, and truly LIVE it! It tells us that having a sense of wonder is a thing of beauty that should never be lost, it provides us with the hope that whenever one door closes another will open, and it inspires us "when we get the choice to sit it out or dance..." to dance! What a beautiful metaphor for many of the experiences we have throughout the course of living... and what a truly, beautiful song.
Independent Women Pt. 1 - Destiny's Child
Penned for the Charlie's Angels revamp headed by the phenomenal Drew Barrymore, this song inspired many a young woman when it hit the pop music charts in 2000. With it's danceable rhythms, infectious choruses, powerful lyrics, and glorious harmonies, this song was, and forever can be, an anthem for all those ladies who are independent and "all those honeys makin' money."
Basically, it's telling you to be proud of your bad self! Because being an independent woman is a very empowering thing!
I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
Breakups can admittedly be very difficult - heartbreaking even. But this is life, and life goes on. In this inspiring disco dance jam, Gloria Gaynor inspires women everywhere to pick themselves up, build themselves up, and face life with a new found strength after a break up. How? By singing the great lyrics by Freddie Perren and Dino Fakaris with power and honesty, that's how!
"Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye? Did you think I'd crumble? Did you think I'd lay down and die? Oh no, not I! I will survive! Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive! I've got all my life to live and I've got all my love to give, and I'll survive! I will survive!"
Just a Girl - No Doubt
"Don't you think I know exactly where I stand? This world is forcing me to hold your hand!"
With it's in your face observations about where women stand in society, it's spunky ska/pop/rock grooves, and a fantastic vocal delivery by frontwoman Gwen Stefani, this No Doubt jam lends an empowering hand to ladies everywhere who are tired of the expectations placed upon them, just because they just happen to be "just a girl."
"Oh... I've had it up to here!" Me too, No Doubt. Me too.
Just Because I'm a Woman - Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is an incredible songwriter and singer and this song happens to be one of many gems in her treasure trove of hits. But for as beautiful as it is, it may not strike you as inspirational or empowering right away, as it sounds as much like a weepy, ol' country tune as a song probably can; but upon further inspection, the depth of this song lends itself quite well to empowerment and inspiration.
The woman in the song is giving her lover (or ex-lover) quite a lesson, as he thinks (as much of society did and does still) that women should be judged more harshly for past sexual encounters and partners than men are. Excuse me?
But she sets him straight:
"Yes, I've made my mistakes... But listen and understand: My mistakes are no worse than yours just because I'm a woman."
A seemingly simple concept, but one that men, and women, need to be reminded of.
Just the Way You Are - Bruno Mars
This sweet love song from Bruno Mars is exceptionally inspiring for women. Why? Well, if it isn't enough that Mars sings all sorts of confidence boosting statements to his lady like:
"When I see your face, there's not a thing that I would change!" and
"You're amazing, just the way you are!"
he is also trying to make his love realize that she should think these things about herself too! Which to me, is the most empowering part.
"It's so, it's so, sad to think that you don't see what I see..."
Don't disappoint Bruno Mars ladies - love yourselves!
Keep Ya Head Up - Tupac Shakur
Unfortunately, the rap game on the whole tends to be known for it's derogatory, abusive, sexualized, and discriminatory portrayal of women. But Tupac came around with this musical message of pride and strength for women, particularly black women, and made it clear that there are "real men" ready to "get up," and stand up for women; and that not all men are like the idiots catcalling you out on the street.
"I know they like to beat ya down a lot, when you come around the block brothas clown a lot...
But please don't cry, dry your eyes, never let up; forgive but don't forget, girl keep your head up!"
Let it Go - Idina Menzel
Yes, this inspirational and empowering song for women comes from an animated movie - an excellent animated movie at that - and there's nothing wrong with that! Sung powerfully by the incredibly talented Idina Menzel, this epic Disney tune captures many emotions, starting with the first few notes on the piano to the last few notes of subtle strength that escape Idina's lips at the end. It speaks of acceptance of who you are, learning your inner strength, letting go of the past, and embracing all that the future holds for you. Quite empowering!
"Let it go, let it go! And I'll rise like the break of dawn! Let it go, let it go! That perfect girl is gone! Here I stand, in the light of day; Let the storm rage on! The cold never bothered me anyway."
Let the River Run - Carly Simon
This inspiring and empowering tune also comes to us courtesy of a movie - 1988's iconic Working Girl, which explores the struggles women faced (and still face) in the world of big business. The movie in itself is inspirational and empowering for women... but then you add the soundtrack which includes this powerful gem? Empowerment GOLD!
"Let the river run! Let all the dreamers wake the nation!"
Carly Simon is a phenomenal songwriter, and her efforts here are a telling indication of that. This song is just so beautiful! It won an Oscar for best original song in 1989, and yet was still a giant hit when it was re-released in 1992; because musical greatness can not be diminished, much like individual greatness, unless we let it.
Man, I Feel Like a Woman - Shania Twain
This country rocker is all about going out, having a good time, and being super proud of being a woman! From wearing "man shirts, short skirts" to being free to "feel the way I feel!" - being a woman can be pretty darn fun and liberating! And Shania preaches it with passion in this hot tune.
"The best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun!"
Yes! Listen to Shania, have a little fun, and be proud that you "feel like a woman!"
Going "Redneck" Crazy Over Girls in Country Songs?
Well... we ain't hollaback girls!
Let it Go!
Which Songs are Your Favorites? (26-50)
Of this batch of 25 songs, which is YOUR favorite?
Sometimes inspiration and light comes with pain and darkness...
Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women 51-75
Never Underestimate a Girl - Vanessa Hudgens
This hot pop/rock jam sung by Vanessa Hudgens definitely has a kind of "Britney Spears kick" to it. It's catchy, it's bubbly... but it hits you with a big dose of sassy attitude as well. Love it!
"Never underestimate a girl - gets anything she wants, she's never gonna stop! (You know it, we know it) Never underestimate a girl - she's always got a plan; the world is in her hands!"
That's right, girls. Don't forget it!
No Scrubs - TLC
To be fair, I didn't include several songs on the list because of their blatant "man hating," however, this hot track still made the cut, because it is a kind of humorous take on all of the "scrubs" you may know and it simply aims to get women to get and keep standards when it comes to the men that they allow in their lives. To me, that is an inspiring and empowering message.
"I don't want no scrubs! A scrub is a guy that can't get no love from me!"
You tell, 'em TLC!
None of Your Business - Salt N Pepa
The fly ladies of Salt N Pepa ooze with attitude, sass, and energy on all their tracks, but I especially like the edge that they lend to this tasty track as they put people in their places for judging others, being hypocritical, and talking smack, especially when it comes to sex, sexuality and society's blurred and misguided standards on the subjects.
"If I wanna take a guy home with me tonight - it's none of your business!
And she wanna be a freak and sell it on the weekend - it's none of your business!"
People need to stop judging each other and instead support one another! But, if you can't do that, at least butt out, because "it's none of your business!"
Not Ready to Make Nice - Dixie Chicks
In 2003, Natalie Maines, lead singer of the country/pop group the Dixie Chicks, made a statement during a concert about being ashamed of then-U.S. President George W. Bush being from her home state of Texas. What followed was an outrageous storm of hate, aimed at Maines and her bandmates. The Dixie Chicks' music was banned from most country radio, appearances were boycotted, and members of the all-girl trio even received death threats.
But instead of apologizing for making use of her freedom of speech, Maines and her bandmates teamed up with songwriter Dan Wilson and penned this musical masterpiece - a song I truly believe may be one of the best of all time, and is definitely an inspiring and empowering song for women, and all people, everywhere.
"I'm not ready to make nice! I'm not ready to back down! I'm still mad as hell, and I don't have time to go 'round and 'round and 'round... It's too late to make it right; I probably wouldn't if I could... 'cause I'm mad as hell - can't bring myself to do what it is you think I should..."
One Girl Revolution - Superchick
This rockin' Superchick song is definitely an empowering one for women. Much like Vanessa Hudgens' jam that we discussed earlier, this song serves as a warning not to underestimate girls, but it also reminds women not to underestimate themselves either.
"I can lose my hard earned freedom if my fear defines my world..."
Don't let fear stop you. Be a "one girl revolution" and change the world!
One Moment in Time - Whitney Houston
Whitney Houston's voice in itself is empowering and inspirational, so when she sings about having "one moment in time" to live her dreams and become free, it has an easy way of inspiring one to go for one's goals. It can also inspire one to think more of oneself day to day...
"I've lived to be the very best; I want it all, no time for less..."
Have standards, have goals, have dreams, and seize those moments of opportunity whenever you can. It may be that "one moment in time" that changes your destiny!
People Like Us - Kelly Clarkson
This song is not just an awesomely inspirational and empowering song for women, it is an inspiring and empowering song for ANYONE who has ever felt like a misfit, an outcast, or alone; for anyone who has ever been forgotten or put down; for those who have had to continually fight just a little bit harder than those around them... for the "people like us."
"Oh, people like us we've gotta stick together. Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever.
Here's to the damned to the lost and forgotten; it's hard to get high when you're living on the bottom! Oh... We are all misfits living in a world on fire... Oh... Sing it for the people like us, the people like us!"
I will, Kelly, I will!
Phenomenal Woman - Olivia Newton John
Talk about being confident! Olivia Newton John's empowering song Phenomenal Woman is all about confidence and pride in being a woman. It doesn't matter if one is a supermodel and another is the girl next door, being a women is a beautiful, glorious, phenomenal thing.
"I'm a woman - phenomenal woman..."
Sure, she is talking mostly about why and how she catches the attention of the opposite sex, but honestly, I think people are lying if they say that attracting a mate cannot be one of the aspects that one can be proud of and confident in; because I think just about ANYONE feels good when attracting the attention of potential partners (for life, or for fun, or for, whatever...) Maybe I'm wrong. But somehow I doubt it. This song was a big hit, after all.
Pretty Girl Rock - Keri Hilson
From the very beginning, Keri Hilson makes it clear that she has confidence! "My name is Keri, I'm so very fly, oh my, it's a little bit scary!" she sings not once, but twice, early on in this poppy jam - just to make sure you get it.
But this song is not just about Keri being an incredible, beautiful, powerful woman... it's about inspiring other women to realize that they are too and to stop hating on each other and instead build each other up!
"I can talk about it 'cause I know that I'm pretty. And if you know it too, then ladies sing it with me: All eyes on me when I walk in; no question that this girl's a 10! Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful. Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful. My walk, my talk, the way I drip; it's not my fault, so please don't trip. Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful. Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful."
I don't hate you because you're beautiful, Keri. I love you!
Q.U.E.E.N. - Janelle Monae ft. Erykah Badu
"Am I a freak for getting down?" If you are, Janelle Monae, then count me in as down for being a freak! This catchy song not only makes me feel like getting freaky on a dancefloor (or just in my room) but it also makes a lot of good points about the way that we (society we) judge people and inspires people who feel like freaks to love themselves!
"Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I wanna love who I am.
Even if it makes others uncomfortable, I WILL love who I am."
That is a great statement to make. Loving yourself and loving living and loving who you want to love are so important in this life!
Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
One of Bikini Kill's most iconic feminist anthems, this song can have different meanings for different women - for some it is about unconditional love between best friends, for others it is about the love for female revolutionaries, and for others it is about love between members of the same sex. However one interprets it though, it is truly an empowering song for women.
"Rebel Girl you are the Queen of my world!"
Redneck Woman - Gretchen Wilson
Being proud of who you are comes in all shapes and forms, and here it comes in the form of sexy, sassy, country broad Gretchen Wilson. This song by Wilson makes a case for being very proud of being a woman - specifically, a "redneck woman." From drinking beer instead of champagne to keeping Christmas lights up all year long, Gretchen Wilson embraces her upbringing and still says "hey y'all" and "yee haw!" And like I said, she's proud of it! Not only that, but she wants all the other country gals to be proud of it too!
"Let me get a big 'hell yeah' from the redneck girls like me!"
If you're a "redneck woman" I think you know what your response should be...
Respect - Aretha Franklin
This talented music diva's voice could make any song empowering, but when you have Aretha Franklin literally spelling out RESPECT for you, it does give it even more of an inspirational and empowering feel to it and encourages the listener to pay even more attention to this legend's vocals. She's talking about respect!
In case you don't know, it's "R-E-S-P-E-C-T."
Respect for yourself and respect from your partner. If you're not getting that, something has to change...
Roar - Katy Perry
Katy Perry's infectious pop hit was, and is still, such a hit because of it's inspirational and empowering message of strength and resilience in the face of adversity.
"I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter, dancing through the fire 'cause I am a champion and you're gonna hear me roar!"
Women, girls, and people everywhere are inspired when they hear this beautiful piece of pop mastery, which in a way, hails back to Helen Reddy singing out "I am woman, hear me roar!"
We can all roar now! (Or... at least sing about roaring if actual roaring isn't your bag...)
She's Not Just a Pretty Face - Shania Twain
This country/pop jam from Shania Twain makes it very clear that women are capable and strong, and that we can hold whatever career and achieve whatever goals we want in life. Why? Because we're women, and we're more than "just a pretty face."
In just the span of a few short minutes, Shania tells us a little about what women can do: from hosting tv shows and riding in rodeos, to farming, surgery, and geology, to being a mother and a wife... the possibilities are endless for women!
"She's not just a pretty face. She's got everything it takes! She's mother of the human race. She's not just a pretty face..."
She Works Hard for the Money - Donna Summer
Women work hard, and they deserve appreciation for that!
"She works hard for the money; so hard for it honey! She works hard for the money so you better treat her right!"
This great dance/rock/pop fusion from Donna Summer definitely inspires, because I think a lot of us women know what it feels like to slave away and never really feel like you're getting ahead, and this song lets us know that we are not alone, and that in our own ways, we are heroes for the work that we do. It also reminds us that we need to be shown appreciation from the people in our lives for our work, so not only should we expect it from people and get it, but we should also provide it for our loved ones.
Show 'Em (What You're Made Of) - Backstreet Boys
The Backstreet Boys have always provided inspiration to their fans, but with this amazing track (which shares its title with the BSB documentary) they open themselves up to show a vulnerability that actually ends up being a strength, and it is beautiful to listen to it unfold in the ears.
This song talks being beaten down and feeling like the whole world is against you - but not giving up.
"When walls starts to close in, your heart is frozen over... Just show ‘em what you’re made of!
When sun light is fading, the world will be waiting for you... Just show ‘em what you’re made of!"
I will, oh mighty men of BSB, I will!
Sing - My Chemical Romance
This empowering song is truly one of those great anthems that can be empowering and inspirational to anyone and everyone.
"Sing it for the boys, sing it for the girls, every time that you lose it sing it for the world!
Sing it from the heart,sing it till you're nuts, sing it out for the ones that'll hate your guts!
Sing it for the deaf, sing it for the blind, sing about everyone that you left behind!
Sing it for the world, sing it for the world!"
But it can be especially empowering and inspirational to young women, on the cusp of adulthood, because of these words: "Girl, you've got to be what tomorrow needs..."
Be what tomorrow needs, and let this rock masterpiece from My Chemical Romance inspire you to change the world!
Sisters are Doin' it for Themselves - Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin
When you combine the efforts of two empowering female artists like Annie Lennox and Aretha Franklin on a song, you know that there is going to be some phenomenal female fire and power behind the track. Such is the case with this 1985 feminist song written by Lennox and Dave Stewart.
"Now this is a song to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state!"
It talks about women breaking free from traditional gender roles and assuming new positions of power and respect in society. Sounds pretty inspirational and empowering to me!
Skyscraper - Demi Lovato
This could just be another pop ballad of empowerment for young girls, rather cookie cutter and cliché... except that Demi Lovato performs it with a vulnerability and tenderness that connects with audiences on a deeper level than your typical emotionally stirring pop jam might. Perhaps it is because she herself has experienced so much personal pain and triumph in her short years and can relate to the idea of rebuilding oneself to be stronger and wiser. But whatever the reason, Demi Lovato gives a vocal performance that is equal parts chilling and inspiring, which is why I had to include it on this list. It definitely makes me feel empowered as a woman when I listen to it.
"You can take everything I have. You can break everything I am. Like I'm made of glass... Like I'm made of paper... Go on and try to tear me down; I will be rising from the ground like a skyscraper! Like a skyscraper!"
Strong Enough - Cher
This song starts somewhat slowly and sadly as Cher recounts affairs and breakups between lovers... but then the disco beat kicks in and suddenly Cher is proclaiming loudly "I'm strong enough to live without you!" Yes!
I actually use this song to work out to a lot and have for years because it is empowering, inspiring, and it has a driving beat that is great for jumping jacks, jogging, dancing, and more.
By the way, I have noticed that this song is especially empowering after a nasty break up (it even has a catty moment aimed at "the other woman" that is, admittedly, kind of satisfying... : "She ain't worth half of me, it's true!" Tell it, girl!)
Stronger - Britney Spears
This song of strength comes to us via the Pop Princess herself, Britney Spears. I love this hard edged pop jam of strength and growth for so many reasons, but the biggest is this line right here:
"Stronger... than I ever thought that I could be..."
It is amazing what kind of strength lies within us women and many of us never even tap into the extent of our strength until we HAVE to. Wouldn't it be nice if we just knew that we could handle anything and not let fear stop us because we despair so much over not having the necessary strength, when it is within all along?
Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson
This song is much like Spears' pop jam in that it talks about personal strength, particularly after the decline and destruction of romantic relationships. In Kelly Clarkson's upbeat pop/rock track, it's even actually almost like we're getting the more mature take on the breakup talked of in Spears' tale. But each earned their own place on the list because they each bring something special. In this case, it is the bad girl sass and attitude with which Kelly Clarkson sings! Her raw edge on tones, her creative use of embellishment, her power - I love it all!
It's very easy to believe her when she says "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," because SHE sounds like the absolute embodiment of that kind of strength. That is definitely inspirational and empowering for women.
Stupid Girls - Pink
I was on the fence about including this one, as I don't like the idea of shaming other women when trying to empower and inspire women, and believe me, Pink has some major digs towards other women in this song. However... the broader point that I derive from Pink's take on women in pop culture is that no one should try to dumb themselves down, lessen themselves, or be any less than what they are - not for money, not for fame, not for anything. And that to me is a very important and empowering message for women... and everyone.
Survivor - Destiny's Child
From the very first sounds you hear on this groovin' pop track from all girl power group Destiny's Child, you know you're in for something special. This song has an attitude and sass that is inspiring in it's strength and drive, but there is a softness to it as well. It may not be obvious, but when the girls break the song down a bit and say "wishing you the best, pray that you are blessed..." etc. they are showing that being "a survivor" and being tough doesn't necessarily mean that you are cold and bitter towards those that hurt you. I like that!
The girls even talk about surrounding oneself with "positive things" which I think is great, because being a tough, badass, empowered woman doesn't automatically mean that you have to be a cold b*tch. (Well... maybe sometimes...)
If she's a freak, I think LOTS of people want to be freaks with her!
Don't let the world get you down - show 'em what you've got!
Stand tall like a skyscraper!
Which Songs are Your Favorites? (51-75)
Of this set of 25 songs, which is YOUR favorite?
You're a Survivor too!
Being a Woman ROCKS!
Inspirational and Empowering Songs for Women 76-100
Take Me As I Am - Mary J. Blige
I will say it right now: Mary J. Blige has got a VOICE! I mean, seriously. As a trained singer, I respect this woman's gift. She has power, vulnerability, attitude, inspiration, pain, complexity, spirit, and so much more in her singing. To pair THAT voice with THIS song: brilliant.
Written by producer Ron Fair, Ezekiel Lewis, Candice Nelson, and singer Keri "don't hate [her] 'cause she's beautiful" Hilson, this pop/R&B ballad shows multiple dimensions of female strength and resilience - from conquering self doubt and having real standards, to displaying vulnerability without fear and without losing rational thought, to growing in spite of (or because of) obstacles faced, and more - and it is an inspiring song, despite the melancholic tonality of most of the instrumentation and vocal lines. Why? Because in addition to all I've already shared, this song inspires women not to alter who they are for someone else! Be better for yourself, by all means, but don't mold yourself to be something that you're not to satisfy someone else. There ARE people out there who love others for who they are, not who they're "expected" to be. Find them instead!
"Take me as I am, or have nothing at all..."
That's What Makes You Beautiful - One Direction
Yes, another boy band has made this list. That's because this collection of cuties sing one of the happiest, pop-iest, and sweetest songs of the last few years...
"Baby you light up my world like nobody else; the way that you flip your hair gets me overwhelmed! But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell you don't know (oh oh), you don't know you're beautiful..."
But this song isn't just about cute boys noticing the shy girl... it's about respectable, young men who wish to inspire girls they KNOW are great to see that they are great for themselves. With lines like "You're insecure... don't know what for. You're turning heads when you walk through the door. Don't need make-up to cover up; being the way that you are is enough..." and "if only you saw what I could see you'd understand why I want you so desperately..." coming out of these sweet voiced young heartthrobs, to me, it shouldn't be hard to see why I chose this as an empowering song for women. I think it is especially suited to young women, but ALL women can draw strength from it's message of loving oneself.
Written by Savan Kotecha, Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk (credit: Wikipedia), this song truly is one ridiculously catchy and inspiring piece of music.
The Climb - Miley Cyrus
This power country/pop ballad was the first single released from the soundtrack for Disney's Hannah Montana: The Movie and since it's release, it has been an inspiring anthem for many people, especially for young women and girls. It talks about learning from your mistakes and failures, knowing that what you learn on your journey is more important than the destination anyway, and gaining wisdom from all your experiences so that you can continue to strive for your dreams.
"There's always gonna be another mountain; I'm always gonna wanna make it move!
Always gonna be an uphill battle... sometimes I'm gonna have to lose. It ain't about how fast I get there; ain't about what's waitin' on the other side... it's the climb..."
It's a beautiful, inspiring, and empowering song for people everywhere, and definitely for women. I personally love it and used to have my students learn it when I taught in public schools, because I think that young people need to know that they may have "failures," and that they may get knocked down, but that they can learn from it all and emerge wiser and stronger.
The Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
I don't know what it was about Whitney that just made her OWN every cover song she ever did, but it probably had something to do with her powerhouse voice. This song is no exception. It was originally performed and recorded by others, but when Whitney Houston lent her vocals to the track, it took things to a whole other level, and helped make it a well-known, inspiring and empowering song, not only for women, but for everyone!
"The greatest love of all is easy to achieve. Learning to love yourself; it is the greatest love of all..."
I can't tell you how much those words paired with Whitney's voice changed my own life, but I can tell you that I HAD to include this song on my list of inspirational and empowering songs for women. HAD to. So... maybe that says enough.
The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
"Just be yourself. It doesn't matter if it's good enough for someone else."
A lot of these songs in this last group seem to have this theme of self love, being oneself, and not letting other people change you. But this one had to make the list too, because, honestly... it's a pop/punk/rock jam I simply cannot resist. I think some of you know what I'm talking about!
I love dancing around by myself, singing along joyously with this inspirational and empowering song so much! It's kind of ridiculous just how much, but I don't mind at all.
"It just takes some time, little girl, you're in the middle of the ride! Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything, everything will be alright, alright!"
The Voice Within - Christina Aguilera
Written by Christina Aguilera and Glen Ballard, this inspirational pop ballad has such depth, vulnerability, and strength, due in part to the lyrics and musical arrangement, but also due to Aguilera's powerful vocal performance. It is truly a beautifully crafted, inspiring song.
The theme of the song is much like that of The Greatest Love of All and Hero, the first as performed by Whitney Houston, the second, Mariah Carey. It's about that "voice within," that great love that one can only find within oneself...
"When there's no one else, look inside yourself. Like your oldest friend, just trust the voice within... Then you'll find the strength that will guide your way; if you will learn to begin to trust the voice within..."
These Boots are Made for Walking - Nancy Sinatra
Oh, Nancy Sinatra, you saucy girl! I love you! And I love you in your boots, telling it like it is!
"Yeah, you keep lyin' when you oughta be truthin'... And you keep losing when you oughta not bet. You keep samin' when you oughta be a changin'... Now, what's right is right, but you ain't been right yet!
These boots are made for walking and that's just what they'll do! One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you..."
What more needs to be said? This empowering song for ladies shows that it's okay to have standards and that it's okay to stand up for yourself! Being a woman doesn't mean that you have to accept substandard or inferior treatment from anyone! Don't forget it!
This One's for the Girls - Martina McBride
I mean... the song title alone kind of makes this song perfect for the list, right? But beyond that, this truly is an inspirational and empowering song for women.
It checks in with ladies at ages 13, 25, and 42, to see how we grow as we age, and it shows how, deep down, "we're all the same inside, from 1-99..."
As a woman, you are never alone! There are other women out there who understand you, who empathize with you, and who love you, even if you've never met! That is very inspiring to me.
Titanium - David Guetta ft. Sia
This song is one of the songs that actually inspired me to put this list together; it has been a major comfort and inspiration for me in dark moments that I've had to get through recently.
Not only is it a beautiful song and melody, with beautiful lyrics, but it is sung by Sia, who has an uncharacteristic way of delving into my soul with her voice, without even knowing me personally...
I used to not love the "anthem-dance/house" approach that David Guetta took on this track, but somehow when I was relating it to my life more, something about those builds and drops and those massive hooks just spoke to me on a different level suddenly.
But let's talk about one of the biggest reasons I love this song and had to have it on this list:
Belting out "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose - Fire away, fire away! Ricochet; you take your aim... Fire away, fire away! You shoot me down, but I won't fall: I am titanium! You shoot me down, but I won't fall: I am titanium!" at the top of my voice when I need that kind of emotional release is one of the greatest things that I have ever discovered for myself. I suggest you try it too; it feels amazing.
True Believer - E-Type
This uptempo, inspirational, Eurodance/pop jam is a great song to inspire and empower women. It can be interpreted in many ways, but what is not left open for interpretation are it's infectious dance beats and mood boosting melodies! Seriously... I DARE you to try to be unhappy while listening to this song! I'm pretty sure it's impossible.
"I'm a true believer! I'm with you through the night. You're my inspiration in life! I'm a true believer; so don't give up the fight! You're my inspiration in life!"
I'm a "true believer" in the inspirational powers of this song!
Try - Colbie Caillat
This beautifully empowering, simple, yet deep, ballad is about not trying to be someone else in order to make others happy. Sure, Colbie Caillat sings the word "try" more times in this song than I think I have ever heard the word used in one place in my life (something like, 55 times?), but I kind of look at it as her really hammering the idea in. You shouldn't have to "try" to be yourself - you just BE yourself.
The most important question this song poses to women is "do YOU like you?" THAT is much more important than fitting in, being popular, or getting ahead as someone you're not. And that is an empowering message, always.
U + UR Hand - Pink
This edgy pop/rock tune almost didn't make the list, but it is just so darn relatable, isn't it? Not to mention that when it was released, it was so supposedly controversial that some radio stations refused to play it. When you get people ruffled up like that, you know you're doing something right!
Pink definitely gets something right in how she totally has a certain group of men pegged. This is not ALL men, mind you. This is just SOME men. And I think everyone knows some or has encountered some of these... men. (I use the term loosely...) Those ones who harass you, won't let up, don't understand that "no means no," get mad at you for being beautiful (as if you can help it, hello?); those ones drunkenly slobbering on you all night, spilling drinks on you, and insisting that they will "watch your drink for you!" (Wink!) You know, THOSE men.
But Pink puts them in their place and tells them what to do with their sexual urges, and I love her for it! It is empowering for ANY person who has had to deal with one of these dudes for real and it can serve as a warning for anyone who hasn't yet.
"I'm not here for your entertainment. You don't really want to mess with me tonight.
Just stop and take a second; I was fine before you walked into my life... 'cause you know it's over before it began. Keep your drink just give me the money - it's just you and your hand tonight!"
U.N.I.T.Y. - Queen Latifah
"U-N-I-T-Y... U-N-I-T-Y..." It's just so catchy!! But that's not why it's on the list. (Well, not entirely...)
This reggae-infused, hip-hop track was written in response to the ways that big time male rappers of the time were boasting about and promoting derogatory views towards women in their music, and how it was affecting those who consumed the music in their daily lives. Queen Latifah, truly a Queen of Queens, couldn't stand by and let her ladies be degraded and demoralized in the ways that those male rappers were doing. Nor could she let women in the real world think that inferior treatment of women by men was okay.
So she came out with power, strength, and attitude askin' "who you callin' a b*tch!"
And she empowered women everywhere.
Unwritten - Natasha Bedingfield
It's never too late for a fresh start or second chance - each day can be that opportunity!
"Today is where your book begins... the rest is still unwritten."
In Natasha Bedingfield's beautiful, bubbly, pop song, she inspires hope and empowers people to "live your life with arms wide open," "release your inhibitions," and yes, even to make mistakes! Because mistakes help one to learn and grow and be grateful for success!
"We've been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can't live that way!" she sings. I can't live that way either, and that is a big reason why this song makes the list of inspirational and empowering songs for women.
Video - India Arie
This song of self love is also a lesson for others who have not yet embraced self love, to stop letting outer, superficial things dictate how they feel about themselves and determine who they are, instead of just loving themselves and BEING who they are.
"I’m not the average girl from your video and I ain’t built like a supermodel, but I learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen!I'm not the average girl from your video; my worth is not determined by the price of my clothes... No matter what I’m wearing I will always be India Arie."
(I often would sing nobody else but me instead of "India Arie" when I heard this to relate it more to myself. I hope she wouldn't mind too much. I doubt it, since in the lyrics she literally tells people to love themselves! I think she would be happy that her song helped me gain confidence and love for myself!)
Wannabe - Spice Girls
The Spice Girls were huge in America right when I was in middle school and high school, and believe me, they had a HUGE impact on me! The fashion, the attitude, the music, the feminine power - I loved it all! My personal favorite Spice Girl was Ginger, but I also really enjoyed Scary (because I thought her voice was cool. I never understood the obsession with Sporty Spice's singing, honestly. I mean, she's obviously talented, it just wasn't my personal favorite of the bunch...)
Anyway, now that I am done getting sidetracked, I can get back to why I included this Spice Girls jam on the list of inspirational and empowering songs for women...
Well, first of all, it starts right out with strong females telling us all that they will TELL us what they want. Bam! Right out the gate, the Spice Girls hit with attitude, confidence, and Girl Power!
As the song progresses, we see that it is important to get in good with a gal's friends, because, after all, for many women, their girlfriends (or guyfriends) are their families, their soulmates, and their loves, and often, they have a lot of significant-other type responsibility in these women's lives. So if you cannot connect with these people, you are going to be out of luck.
I think that this song is very empowering for women because not only does it show that the Spice Girls don't want to settle for less than the best for themselves AND their loved ones which is inspiring in itself, but through the song, they are also looking to empower and inspire other women to also not settle for less than the best for themselves and their loved ones.
Girl Power indeed!
We R Who We R - Ke$ha
"You know we're superstars! We are who we are!"
This catchy dance/pop tune is all about embracing who you are, loving yourself, and having fun in life! To me, those are definitely inspiring and empowering messages for women!
This song, to me, also addresses how people judge others and shame them, even if they are doing nothing to hurt others, just because they are perceived as different, even if they happen to have more in common with the "judge" than ever first perceived in the end. Sound deep? It is. Which, admittedly, was a bit of a surprise for me...
But the song does address these deep issues; in very subtle ways though... for example, as Ke$ha is singing about what she's wearing (ripped stockings, glitter) and about how she's "sick and sexified," she also mentions that she has Jesus on her necklace. Yes, a party girl who is a Christian and loves Jesus. Ke$ha shows that they do exist and that they should be proud!
Another example comes in the chorus "Tonight we're going hard! Just like the world is ours - we're tearing it apart..." The idea to me is that they are tearing apart these ideals and standards and judgments that people use against each other and embracing life instead. Very empowering.
What a Feeling - Irene Cara
This inspirational jam has been inspiring me personally for years! We sang it in choir in middle school, and it always stuck with me. Especially these words:
"Take your passion, and make it happen!"
Women can do anything we set our minds to; we cannot forget this!
As if this song wasn't inspirational enough in it's lyrical content, even it's music feels inspiring and empowering! That 80's power! Seriously though, there is something amazing about getting ready for an audition or an interview or something and listening to this song! Brilliant!
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
This beautiful musical masterpiece is a song that can literally bring me to tears - tears of happiness, sadness, strength, pain, inspiration... I will honestly say that, in my opinion, this song may be one of the greatest songs ever written.
Then there's Louis Armstrong's voice... There is no other voice like it. The man was truly one of a kind. And on this song, his voice adds tenderness, depth, vulnerability, and wisdom that is otherworldly. It's like he knew all of the answers to life's big questions and he was trying to relay them to us through the sweet vibrations of his rich, sensual voice.
Now, this song is not just inspiring and empowering for women, but for all people. But I still just had to include it.
"I hear babies crying; I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than I'll ever know... And I think to myself... what a wonderful world..."
What Makes You Different Makes You Beautiful - Backstreet Boys
It's not about fitting in to be loved - it's about being loved for who you are and loving yourself, for ALL the things that make you beautiful.
"What makes you different makes you beautiful!"
That includes flaws too! Everything that makes up who we are makes us into the beautiful beings that we are.
And how nice is that message coming out of the mouths of the men of the Backstreet Boys, hm?
Who Says - Selena Gomez
This catchy, bubbly pop song is all about setting aside what the haters say and loving yourself and your life!
"You’ve got every right to a beautiful life!"
So stop listening to all of these "judges." They have their own issues to work out! Just work on you and be empowered by what Selena is singing at ya instead!
You Don't Own Me - Lesley Gore
Believe it or not, this song was pretty revolutionary for it's time, when women were expected to be the "perfect" girlfriends, fiancees, and wives and not "get around"... and honestly, it is still very relevant today!
It is about how women are not property to be used and shown off and toyed with ("You don't own me. I'm not just one of your many toys...") but instead wonderful creatures who need to be treated with respect in general and especially in relationships! (It also shows that respect shown should be reciprocal.)
"Don't tell me what to do, don't tell me what to say, and please, when I go out with you, don't put me on display. 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!"
It was inspiring and empowering when it first hit the airwaves and it is still inspiring and empowering today!
You Gotta Be - Des'Ree
This song is full of great advice for women. From listening to wise words from your elders, to reading books and gaining knowledge, to accepting that you cannot stop the world from turning, no matter what pain or distress you are suffering, the amount of helpful guidance Des'Ree provides in this song is large and diverse indeed!
One of my personal favorite lines from the song is this one:
"Listen as your day unfolds, challenge what the future holds - try to keep your head up to the sky..."
I like it because it inspires me to look at reality and be aware of what's going on in the world, challenge ideas and authority, and yet keep an overall positive outlook. Sounds empowering to me!
You Haven't Seen the Last of Me - Cher
This is another one of the songs that really inspired me to create this list, because it is such a powerfully moving, inspiring, and empowering song. Written by Diane Warren and performed by Cher for the major motion picture Burlesque, this modern light rock power ballad inspires those who feel broken, beaten down, mistreated, neglected, or like failures to pick up the pieces, stand strong, and move on because they still have so much to offer in this life.
"I've been brought down to my knees and I've been pushed way past the point of breaking - but I can take it! I'll be back... back on my feet. This is far from over; you haven't seen the last of me. You haven't seen the last of me."
You're Still You - Josh Groban
This song is inspiring and made the list because it shows the power of the people who love us.
Loving yourself and living your best life is easier done when you are surrounded by loved ones who appreciate you and believe in you. Even if those people change roles (romantic relationship to friend for example), those are people who truly love you for you, and you know who they are!
"I look up to everything you are. In my eyes, you do no wrong. And I believe in you,
although you never asked me to..."
So surround yourself with love and show those you love how much you appreciate them and all the ways that they inspire and empower you...
Who's YOUR Spice Girl?
Which of the five Spice Girls is your favorite?
Everything will be alright...
Talking about U-N-I-T-Y!
Which Songs are Your Favorites? (76-100)
Of this last bunch of 25 songs, which is YOUR favorite?
Don't try so hard - just be yourself!
Rock on, Ladies!
Thanks for Reading!
I hope you enjoyed my list of inspirational and empowering songs for women, my reasonings behind my choices, and all the great music videos. Be sure to vote in the polls and leave a comment if the urge strikes! I love hearing what other people think!
And if you did happen to enjoy this list and get inspiration and empowerment from it, please feel free to share it with your friends, especially your female friends!
I hope I can fill people's playlists, mp3 collections, and cd collections with inspiring and empowering music - maybe even some that they had never heard of before reading this list -and that that music can inspire all the women out there to love themselves, treat themselves right, be strong, and go for it! (Whatever "IT" may be!)
Dream big and be proud to be a woman! It is a beautiful thing to be!
Peace and Love to ALL!