With Women’s History Month coming to a close, it is important for us as women to remember that our power cannot be confined to a single month. Women are powerful all year long. So, whether you’re in need of some serious words of encouragement, a quick pick-me-up or a reminder of the badass woman you are becoming, here are 19 songs performed by women, for women that are sure to leave you feeling empowered and ready to take on the world.
“God is a Woman” – Ariana Grande
Themes of sexual liberation, the divine feminine and the power of womanhood coupled with visuals of her literally on top of the world make Ariana Grande’s powerful pop hit “God is a Woman” nothing less than fierce.
“Independent Women, Pt. 1” – Destiny’s Child
A girl power song that has withstood the test of time, “Independent Women, Pt. 1” pays homage to hardworking women with their own money who don’t, and won’t, ever let a man control them.
“Bodak Yellow” – Cardi B
Though seemingly just an up-beat, club anthem at first listen, lyrics like “I don’t dance now / I make money moves” make Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow” the ultimate tale of a woman who went from having nothing to having everything through her own hardwork and determination.
“Sorry Not Sorry” – Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato is the patriarchy’s worst nightmare in “Sorry Not Sorry:” a woman that is unapologetically sure of herself. She talks directly to her haters, essentially saying, “Yes, I am confident. Yes, I am here to stay. And no, I am not sorry about it.”
“thank u, next” – Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next” is the mother of all breakup anthems in which she vulnerably addresses her exes by name and thanks them for everything they taught her, but proudly announces that she’s found someone else: herself. Can you say self-love?
“9 to 5” – Dolly Parton
Hidden behind Parton’s distinct voice and catchy melody in in “9 to 5” is a stark criticism of capitalism and a push to bring down “The Man.” As a woman who had successfully conquered the male-dominated world of country music, Parton was the perfect person to spread this message.
“Bad Reputation” – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
A pioneer during a time when women were unwelcomed in the world of Rock n’ Roll, Joan Jett makes a bold statement in her 1980 hit “Bad Reputation.” Jett lets everyone listening know that she is going to do what she wants, when she wants, and she doesn’t give a damn what they think about it.
“Act Up” – City Girls
Women have been degraded in the hiphop world for years, and City Girls is here to flip the script. Popular for their risqué lyrics about using men for their money, City Girls may seem nothing more than provocative, but they undeniably have black women everywhere feeling themselves. In this ratchet anthem, the women dare anyone– male or female– to “act up,” promising that they will be dealt with accordingly.
“Feeling Myself” – Nicki Minaj ft. Beyonce
A collaboration between two women who are forces to be reckoned with in the music industry, “Feeling Myself” is a song for women who know they look good and want the world to know it too.
“Nunya” – Kehlani ft. Dom Kennedy
The most recent song on the list, “Nunya” tells a tale as old as time: a woman is finally moving on when her ex-boyfriend finally realizes what he missed out on. Her response? “Ain’t nunya business…Worry ’bout who you go home to.”
“Girls Need Love” – Summer Walker
Summer Walker’s “Girls’ Need Love” is the song about female sexual liberation that we didn’t know we needed. Walker addresses the reality that women like sex too– a fact that makes some people incredibly uncomfortable, even in 2019.
“Rise Up” – Andra Day
Andra Day’s “Rise Up” is a powerful ballad that encourages perseverance during hard times through lyrics such as “And I know you feel like dying / but I promise we’ll take the world to its feet / and move mountains.”
“Don’t Touch My Hair” – Solange ft. Sampha
An ode to an experience most black women have fallen victim to, “Don’t Touch My Hair” is an anthem proclaiming black autonomy. Historically, black women’s hair, much like our entire existence, has been policed, told it’s too this or too that. Solange is here to put an end to it.
“I’m Every Woman” – Chaka Khan
Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” is a song about female unity that is guaranteed to make you want to get up and dance every time.
“Fighter” – Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera channels her painful past– including growing up in a chaotic, abusive home and being bullied in school– into this powerful song. Rather than dwelling on those experiences, she says her adversaries made smarter, made her work harder, and made her skin thicker. “So thanks for making me a fighter,” Aguilera belts out during the chorus.
“Girls Like Girls” – Hayley Kiyoko
This queer anthem is one about acceptance, love and reasserting the validity of female/female relationships, because I guess some people still don’t get it. Girls like girls too.
“Woman” – Kesha
The lyrics of this song rang from “Don’t buy me a drink / I make my money / Don’t touch my weave / don’t call me honey” to a chorus of “I’m a mother f*cking woman.” Need I say more?
“Nada” – Kari Faux
A feel-good song about exactly that– feeling good. Faux sings that she is “poppin'” and that no one can stop or deny it. With a message like that, “Nada” is definitely a song to add to your “getting ready” playlist.
“Sit Still, Look Pretty” – Daya
Daya reminds girls that they can achieve anything they want without being confined to societal pressures in this upbeat pop song. Though titled “Sit Still, Look Pretty,” the lyrics make it clear that she has no plans of doing that.
Click here to listen to the full playlist.