8 Empowering Female Shows You Can Watch on Netflix Right Now

Four years ago, Netflix released the first season of Orange Is the New Black and received loads of critical acclaim for accurately portraying the complex nature of female relationships. Since then, the streaming giant has become home to a number of TV shows that feature powerful, flawed and downright relatable women who will support one another through the toughest of circumstances. From Cable Girls to Gilmore Girls, here are eight empowering female shows (created by women and starring women) you can watch on Netflix right now.



From the creators of Orange Is the New Black, GLOW is based on the original 1980s TV program (of the same name) and provides a glimpse into the glittery world of women’s wrestling. The series revolves around Ruth (Alison Brie), a struggling actress who auditions to be a part of the Gorgeous Ladies of Women’s Wrestling (aka GLOW). After being chosen, Ruth forms an unbreakable bond with her fellow GLOW gals as they learn to wrestle, take on flamboyant alter egos and begin their journey toward becoming the faces of women’s wrestling.

jessica jones female empowerment netflix
Myles Aronowitz/Netflix

‘marvel’s Jessica Jones’

OK, we can’t get enough of this show’s badass lead, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter). The series takes place in the aftermath of Jones’s superhero career and introduces a deeper, more dynamic version of the Marvel Comics character we’ve come to know and love. While Jessica Jones has its fair share of comedically dry Ritter moments, we have to applaud the writers for flawlessly depicting Jones as a stand-alone heroine.


‘orange Is The New Black’

Netflix has blessed us with five seasons of the binge-worthy series, and we are obsessed with the complicated characters on OITNB. The series explores the trials and tribulations of a group of Litchfield Penitentiary female inmates who, despite their differences, always seem to have one another’s backs through the good, the bad and the illegal.

empowering female shows on netflix cable girls

‘cable Girls’

Set in Madrid in the 1920s, Cable Girls (aka Las Chicas del Cable) tells the story of four courageous women who work as switchboard operators at a telephone company. Throughout the show, the women face varying degrees of gender inequality and fight tirelessly for independence, but it’s the sister-like bond between the quad of leading ladies that makes this series a must-watch.


‘unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’

If you look past Kimmy Schmidt’s cardigan collection, you’ll notice the Netflix sitcom promotes an empowering message when it comes to gender equality. From diverse characters to body-positive messages, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt looks beyond appearances and delivers a real, honest portrayal of 20-something women.

empowering female shows on netflix gilmore girls
Robert Voets/Netflix

‘gilmore Girls’

“As she guided me through these incredible 18 years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her,” Rory (Alexis Bledel) said of her mother, Lorelai (Lauren Graham), in the emotional graduation episode. *Quick pause for sobbing* There’s nothing quite like the mother-daughter bond between Lorelai and Rory in Gilmore Girls. Not only does the show demonstrate the daily struggles of being a single mother, but it also tackles issues like gender norms, complicated family dynamics and unfiltered, fast-moving conversations.

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‘grace And Frankie’

There are very few shows with a seasoned all-star cast, but Grace and Frankie hits the nail on the head. The series focuses on two 70-something women, Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin), who aren’t very fond of each other. But, when they discover their husbands have been cheating on them, the pair grows close and helps each other cope with divorce, explore the wide world of dating and move on from the only life they’ve ever known.

empowering female shows on netflix scandal
ABC/Mitch Haaseth


It’s no secret that Scandal’s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is regarded as one of the strongest female leads in recent TV history. Pope is a crisis-management expert who eradicates problems (or scandals) that occur among government officials. And with the help of her team (aka the Gladiators), Pope handles each situation with ease and proves that no mess is too dirty for the one and only Olivia Pope.

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Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...