There’s something uniquely beautiful about embracing your femininity and stepping into your power as a woman. But, harmful stereotypes and double standards can make being a woman difficult and frustrating sometimes.
This playlist of the best women empowerment songs celebrates all of the nuances of womanhood, from anger to strength to self-love.
Run the World (Girls) – Beyoncé
“Who run the world? Girls!” I mean, you can’t argue with Beyoncé. This song is a club track with a fun beat, but that doesn’t detract from the empowering message it champions. Beyoncé sings with fierce confidence, speaking directly to her female audience to remind them of their power and strength. The world would be nothing without women!
Related: Check out our playlist of songs about girls.
Confident – Demi Lovato
A heavy kick drum and sinister melodies make this an unapologetic and powerful song. Demi Lovato asks, “what’s wrong with being confident?” Women with unshakeable self-assurance are often thought of as “too much” or as having an attitude. But Demi knows this is a ridiculous notion and challenges why people have this bias with their song ‘Confident.’
Related: Boost yourself up with our playlist of confidence songs.
Independent Women Part I – Destiny’s Child
This song was featured in the movie Charlie’s Angels and was incredibly popular in the early 2000s. About Charlie’s Angels themselves, this track features lines like “Charlie, how your Angels get down like that?” and celebrates the independence of excessively rich women. This notion of financial independence is extra empowering for women, who used to have to rely on the men in their lives to provide for them.
Related: See more of the best self-worth songs.
Hot Topic – Le Tigre
Le Tigre lists feminist icons and LGBTQ+ activists in their funky grunge song ‘Hot Topic.’ The song celebrates activism and its dedication to progress, saying, “we won’t stop.” There are many inspirational people listed in the song, such as Angela Davis (a civil rights and political activist) and Laura Cottingham (an art critic and feminist writer).
Related: Here are the best equality songs.
Roar – Katy Perry
‘Roar’ topped charts worldwide due to its catchy pop melodies and important subject matter. This song follows Katy Perry as she reflects on her growth from a fearful people pleaser to a strong and steady woman. Even though she used to be “scared to rock the boat and make a mess,” it’s clear that authenticity is more important, albeit more difficult. Perry is finally able to accept this, saying, “you’re gonna hear me roar.”
Related: Keep moving forward with the best songs about perseverance.
Woman – Kesha
Kesha champions freedom through independence in her song ‘Woman.’ She prioritizes alone time and having fun with her friends rather than chasing after a man’s love, saying, “I don’t need a man to be holding me too tight.” She reminds women that their value doesn’t come from having a man in their arms—it’s far more important to have fun and live for yourself.
Related: Feel free as a bird with our playlist of freedom music.
You Don’t Own Me – Lesley Gore
“Don’t tell me what to do, don’t tell me what to say.” A reasonable requirement going into a relationship, but one that many people, unfortunately, don’t meet. Lesley Gore is not making any exceptions, though. If anyone tries to tell her how to live her life, she can give them the indignant reminder that “you don’t own me.”
Related: Got a big ego? Here are the best songs about narcissists.
Just a Girl – No Doubt
Children can be brought up completely different within the same family based solely on gender. Girls are often overprotected, taught to fear the world and present themselves in whichever ways will keep them the safest (which often means being demure and polite). Gwen Stefani wrote this song to express her frustration with this sentiment, singing, “I’m just a girl in the world, that’s all that you’ll let me be.”
Related: Sing along with these good karaoke songs for women.
Respect – Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin knows her power in ‘Respect,’ singing “what you want, baby, I got it.” All she asks in return is to be respected. This soulful song has lively piano and groovy backing vocals that will have you feeling your own power. Franklin’s passionate and impressive vocals leave no room for disrespect, which is just how she wants it.
Related: This song features on our playlist of the best songs about respect.
Good as Hell – Lizzo
If you need a self-esteem pick-me-up, Lizzo is the perfect place to go. Most of her songs are self-empowering in one way or another, and ‘Good As Hell’ is a standout example. A song about looking good and feeling good after a breakup, Lizzo reminds us that losing a man’s love is nothing that you can’t recover from: “if he don’t love you anymore, just walk your fine ass out the door.”
Related: Put a pep in your step with these happiness songs.
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) – Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson has never failed to impress with her powerhouse vocals and instantly iconic songs, and this song is a great example. Clarkson sings about how a failed love damaged her, but she’s trying to grow from it rather than be defeated. “What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter,” she belts, reminding us that hard times might nearly kill you, but you can come out the other side with newfound strength and a weight off your chest.
Related: Listen to more songs about getting stronger.
Fight Song – Rachel Platten
Fight Song’ is a powerful anthem about letting go of doubt and insecurity. Rachel Platten is learning to release the comforts of staying small and quiet: “all those things I didn’t say…I will scream them loud tonight.” There’s no more time for playing it safe, and Platten is ready to fight for what she wants.
Related: Fight the power with our fight songs playlist.
The Man – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift looks at the double standards between men and women in her song ‘The Man’ (and the music video even features Swift playing herself as a man). Society tends to view successful men and women differently, even if the only real difference is their gender. If Swift was a man, she knows “they’d say I hustled, put in the work” instead of questioning her talent and her right to success.
Related: Head over to our list of the top Taylor Swift songs.
Survivor – Destiny’s Child
‘Survivor’ is about thriving after being left behind by someone. This person expects you to crumple and break without them, but you refuse to let them win. “You thought I couldn’t see without you,” but you’ve still got “perfect vision.” This song will fuel your determination to come out on top, no matter the situation.
Related: You can do it! Encourage yourself with these survivor songs.
Man! I Feel Like a Woman! – Shania Twain
This country rock song will have you dancing around and celebrating your femininity. Free from the restraints of society and self-consciousness, “the best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun.” It’s a relief just to let go and let Shania Twain brighten your mood.
Related: Have a good time with these fun karaoke songs.
Girl on Fire – Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys’ vocals are often chill-inducing, but this song is next level. ‘Girl on Fire’ is emotional and inspirational and seems to follow a girl trying to find her place in the world. She might be alone and “just a girl,” but she’s still unstoppable. Her potential and passion make her a girl on fire.
Related: Here are some gorgeous songs that have figurative language.
God is a Woman – Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande takes on female empowerment through the lens of sexuality. She’s unapologetic about what she wants and what she likes in ‘God Is A Woman.’ Seductive melodies tell us Grande is aware of the power she has—that all women have—saying, “when all is said and done, you’ll believe God is a woman.”
Can’t Hold Us Down – Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera expresses frustration over how women are treated differently from men because of their gender. A woman with a strong opinion is aggressive, an uninterested woman is disrespectful, and a promiscuous woman is harshly judged. Yet all of these same traits are praised in men. Aguilera tries to encourage women not to let this diminish their personalities, singing, “nobody can hold us down.”
Fighter – Christina Aguilera
The gritty guitar and heavy kick off this song match its title. ‘Fighter’ is about Christina Aguilera’s gratitude for the taxing setbacks and manipulative people in her life—even though they caused her pain, that pain made her a “fighter.” She learned how to get through it, and her determination only grew. Now, nothing can stop her (or her incredible vocal runs).
Related: Psyche yourself up with the best pump up songs.
I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston
‘I’m Every Woman’ was originally sung by Chaka Khan, and a young Whitney Houston could be heard in the backup vocals. Houston later recorded her own version of it, which made the song even more popular. The song is about the endless capabilities of women, singing, “I’m every woman, it’s all in me.” Femininity offers a unique ability to be empathetic with others’ pain.
Related: You can hear this song on The Bodyguard soundtrack.
That’s My Girl – Fifth Harmony
‘That’s My Girl’ is all about women supporting women. An encouraging track with classic pop elements and fun beat drops, Fifth Harmony applauds the strength and resilience of the hardworking women of the world, reminding us that we can bounce back from anything. “You’ve been hurt before, you got up before.”
Q.U.E.E.N. – Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu
Janelle Monáe decides to let go of the weight of other people’s perceptions in her song ‘Q.U.E.E.N.’ She hears what people say about her but resolves not to let it get to her. She knows she’s just having fun and living her life, and this fun dance song makes it clear she doesn’t care if people judge her for it.
Brave – Sara Bareilles
This song was inspired by one of Sara Bareilles’ friends facing the daunting task of coming out. Bareilles shows her unwavering support for her friend, belting, “I wanna see you be brave.” It’s a message for all of us who have a goal that we fear. Doubt is there to protect you from failure, but bravery is the only thing that can protect you from regret. So, “say what you wanna say” and be brave.
Related: Don’t fear our songs about bravery playlist.
I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
One of the most classic empowerment songs, ‘I Will Survive’ has an addictive beat and motivational lyrics. After a breakup, Gloria Gaynor was depressed and afraid over the thought of living a life without her ex. But, she soon found her inner strength and was able to heal, even turning down her ex when he tried to come back into her life. This is a great song to turn to when you’re feeling defeated by a setback or broken heart. “I’ve got all my life to live, and I’ve got all my love to give, and I’ll survive.”
Related: Here are the most famous songs of all time.
Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara
Women are regularly reduced to their beauty, and it gets exhausting. Alessia Cara sings about a girl who “just wants to be beautiful” and tears herself apart trying to achieve an unachievable standard. The line “you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart” recognizes that the world tells women they’re not beautiful and challenges it. You can’t change for the world—the world should change for you.
Related: Love who you are and enjoy the best self-worth songs.
None of Your Business – Salt-N-Pepa
‘None of Your Business’ is full of indignant attitudes about how women are so often judged for every little thing. Salt-N-Pepa sings, “if I want to take a guy home with me tonight, it’s none of your business.” A woman’s choice is her own, and it shouldn’t matter to anyone that’s not involved in that choice. If you’ve ever felt like too many people are invested in your business, this is a great song to let out your anger.
Salute – Little Mix
Salute’ has a marching beat and melodies characteristic of preparing for a fight. Little Mix is building an army of women who love themselves, hoping to spread self-love and empowerment worldwide. “Ladies all across the world, listen up. We’re looking for recruits,” they sing. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely saluting them!
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Worldwide fame almost guarantees the fact that some people will not like you. Taylor Swift is well aware of this and sings about having to shake off the haters in this bouncy track filled with sass. Swift pokes fun at the things people say about her, singing, “I stay out too late, got nothing in my brain, that’s what people say.” Though not all of us are quite as famous as Swift, judgment and criticism are universal. It can be hurtful, but sometimes the only thing to do is “shake it off.”
Related: Run for miles with our playlist of workout music.
Born This Way – Lady Gaga
This electronic pop song is nothing short of an absolute banger. Lady Gaga declares that everyone exists exactly how they are supposed to. No one should be ashamed of who they truly are because “there ain’t no other way, baby, I was born this way.” People will always judge others for being different, but you can be comforted knowing that Lady Gaga will never judge you.
I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross
Even though “coming out” is normally used to claim your sexuality, Diana Ross uses it as a universal phrase that means stepping out into the world as your most authentic self. “The time has come for me to break out of the shell,” she says. It’s time to own yourself and to be unapologetic about who you are, even if it means some people won’t accept you.
Wannabe – Spice Girls
This song instantly soared to the top of the charts after its release and has remained one of the most iconic songs in the Spice Girls’ discography since then. With its catchy beat and quirky lyrics (“I wanna really, really, really wanna zigazig ah”), the Spice Girls set the rules for who is allowed in their lives and are not willing to compromise. “If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give” is a sentiment we can bring to our relationships.
Who Says – Selena Gomez & The Scene
Women quickly learn from media and pop culture what it means to be valuable in society’s eyes. And most of the time, it means being pretty, thin, and amendable. When you don’t meet these standards, it creates insecurities that can be hard to escape. Selena Gomez challenges them with this song, saying, “who says you’re not perfect?” Who is everyone else to decide what perfect even means? You are you, and that’s enough.
Related: Find this song on our playlist of songs about beauty.
No Scrubs – TLC
TLC defines a “scrub” as “a guy that thinks he’s fly and is also known as a buster.” Yet these guys are the ones with the audacity to chase after women who are way out of their league. ‘No Scrubs’ is a reminder to never settle for someone who isn’t going to offer you a beautiful life full of love.
Related: Hear this song on our playlist of songs about cleaning.
Ladies First – Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah talks about the talent that set her on her career path, as well as the formative women that supported her, in ‘Ladies First,’ a classic hip hop song with elements of R&B. She breaks down just how powerful women are for the people that often aren’t inclined to believe it. For example, many people don’t think women can rap just because they are women—”some think that we can’t flow, stereotypes, they got to go.” That stereotype is certainly proven wrong with this song!
IDGAF – Dua Lipa
Breakups often hit our self-confidence, leaving us wondering what went wrong—or if something is wrong with us. Dua Lipa tries not to subscribe to this, instead singing about her indignance over a man that didn’t deserve her. As soon as she was wronged, she accepts it’s meant to be over: “I cut you off, I don’t need your love, ’cause I already cried enough.”
Sit Still, Look Pretty – Daya
The idea of a “trophy wife” is that sexist ideal that women primarily exist to be arm candy to men. Their good looks make them a trophy, and their personality is mostly irrelevant. Daya rejects this notion, saying, “I don’t wanna sit still, look pretty.” She wants to follow her ambitions and make something of herself, regardless of whether or not there is a man in her life.
Part of Me – Katy Perry
A post-breakup pop rock tune, ‘Part of Me’ by Katy Perry is a declaration that no heartbreak will ruin her. It sounds like this relationship was incredibly unhealthy based on the line “you chewed me up and spit me out,” yet there is a part of Perry that this person was not able to touch. She finds comfort within herself, knowing that this person is “not gonna break my soul.” She just won’t let them.
Related: Don’t break up with our playlist of songs about exes.
Not Ready to Make Nice – The Chicks
‘Not Ready To Make Nice’ is about the notorious anti-POTUS comment that basically ruined the upward climb of The Chicks’ career. This song addresses all of the anger, pain, and lack of regret these women feel. The Chicks were attacked and threatened, but they stand up for themselves in this song, saying, “It’s too late to make it right, I probably wouldn’t if I could.”
This One’s for the Girls – Martina McBride
Martina McBride sings to the women of the world that are all at different stages in their lives, offering encouragement no matter what struggles they are facing. From being thirteen and dealing with bullies to the forty-two-year-olds starting to face their age, McBride declares them beautiful inside and out. “You’re beautiful the way you are. This one’s for the girls.”
Related: You and your sisters will love these songs for sisters.
The Pill – Loretta Lynn
This country song has a unique muse—the birth control pill. Loretta Lynn sings about her sexual freedom now that she can take birth control. It’s a comical song featuring lines like “you’ve set this chicken your last time, ’cause now I’ve got the pill,” but it ended up causing some controversy among more conservative listeners.
So What – Pink
P!nk is aggressive and defiant in ‘So What,’ an energetic song with lots of great drums and guitar riffs. P!nk moves on from a relationship that caused her pain with a carefree and adventurous attitude, singing, “so what? I’m still a rock star, I got my rock moves, and I don’t need you.” A catchy chorus and fun adlibs make this an awesome song to scream along to after an anger-inducing breakup.
Related: Listen to more Pink music.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun – Cyndi Lauper
This song was Cyndi Lauper’s first solo single, and what a great one to start a career with! ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ was huge in the 80s and remains an iconic throwback song that celebrates a carefree attitude. The synthy pop song encourages the listener to get up and get dancing to have some fun!
Related: Find this song on the list of best songs about having fun.