Women’s History Month made me want to discover new female artists who are paving the way in whatever genre they choose. And thanks to being raised in a house where we listened to everything, I curated a playlist full of songs from the 1970s to now. This empowering playlist is what I would listen to when I need a pick-me-up or want to feel my best while getting ready for the day. Let’s get to the music!
“Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” by Shania Twain
I’m not kidding when I say this song is the reason I am who I am today. As a toddler, I wouldn’t watch television unless Shania was performing or CMT was playing one of her music videos. So, because she was all I got for the first three years of my life, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” just runs my life nowadays.
The 1997 song starts with Twain calling for the girls to get ready. It takes the spirit of Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and makes it a timeless country-pop tune. Regardless of your favorite music genre, you’re going to love getting ready for a girls’ night out to this song.
“plot line” by Emlyn
If you’ve ever gone through a rough break-up and need something to help you realize that it’s not the end of the world, I’ve got a song for you. Emlyn’s “plot line” recently came out. I found it through my TikTok “For You” page and immediately saved it to my music library.
All of “plot line” talks about being the main character in your own story instead of letting others dictate how your life turns out. It also mentions how someone can sound charming and check all the boxes at first, but you don’t need them once you learn your own self-love.
“Power” by Little Mix
I followed Little Mix’s music releases for years before “Power” came out and blew up on social media. The song will make you want to dance the night away. The beats are intoxicating, and the lyrics make it one of Little Mix’s best songs.
The lyrics, “You’re the man, but I got the power,” just wrap up the song perfectly. Though women in the past were sometimes seen as weak compared to men, that’s changing nowadays. And Little Mix isn’t going to let anyone forget that.
“Born This Way” by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has plenty of songs that will make you feel your best, love yourself, and want to dance like nobody’s watching. “Born This Way” is definitely one of her most feel-good, don’t-take-any-hate songs. And trust me, you’re going to want to dance–do it even if people are watching!
Gaga’s inspiration for the song came from women’s empowerment songs of the 90s. And that shows heavily in the beat and music video. The video released for the song reminded me of Janet Jackson, and I think that’s one reason I loved it so much.
“Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson
When Kelly Clarkson released this song, it was like a new era of music and empowering songs. Clarkson’s peppy beats and lyrics made you feel like you could do anything, even when you’ve hit rock bottom. One of the messages I took from the song was that rock bottom doesn’t mean it’s the end.
Clarkson said the message of the song is evident in its lyrics and that it represented her life at the time. When you hit your lowest, get back up and keep going. You can take a rest before getting up, but you have to stand and fight through life like you were born to do.
“I’ve Had Enough” by Melina KB
Melina KB’s song will make you feel like the villain in a fantasy book (or at least an anti-hero). It’s got a dark tone to it that perfectly reflects the heavy beats and content of the lyrics. If you’ve ever felt slighted by anyone, this song will help you move past it feeling your best.
Through Melina’s TikToks promoting the song, it’s obvious she wasn’t backing down when writing the lyrics. They are angry, and you can hear it when she’s singing directly to someone towards the end. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever stop listening to this song.
“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
Would any playlist be complete without Dolly Parton? Maybe a few, but not this one. “9 to 5” has always been popular, but recent attention on social media helped revive my love for it.
“9 to 5” will always be a timeless classic that Dolly wrote for women of all ages and generations. The lyrics and beat will always have me dancing and singing, even if I’m driving. And I can guarantee there will always be fan-made music videos that will have you laughing, but nothing will ever live up to Dolly’s original video.
“God is a woman” by Ariana Grande
There are tons of Ariana Grande songs that inspire me to get off my butt and get stuff done. But “God is a woman” took that energy and put it into loving myself and not letting me forget it. Ariana sang about what she could do, and I can’t think of any other song that would fit this perfectly into this playlist.
“God is a woman” sounds like it’s about to be a love song to a significant other like some of Grande’s other songs, but in reality, it’s a love song to women everywhere. And if you’re still on the fence about this song, go watch the official music video.
“Woman” by Kesha feat The Dap-King Horns
Remember when Kesha came back with a bang after a traumatizing few years for her? After “Praying” made all of us sob, she released “Woman.” And we all jumped back on the Kesha bandwagon, grabbed our girls, got dressed in our favorite outfits, and had a blast all night long.
While I linked the clean, radio-ready version, there is an explicit version that most people will recognize immediately. The moment the first beat sounds, I’m ready to belt it out, even after all these years. And if you’re still wanting more songs like this, just go through Kesha’s catalog.
“I AM WOMAN” by Emmy Meli
I’ve talked about this song before, but I can’t stop talking about it. Every time this song comes on in the car, I sing along and get hyped, even if I’m just going grocery shopping. And if this song is any indicator, Emmy will continue making songs that hype you up when you sing along.
Emmy starts the song by listing every way she is a woman and why that’s perfect. Most of the song is just a list of why being a woman is a strength. This song came out at just the right time to help me love myself during a slump.
“i am not a woman, I’m a god” by Halsey
While many of Halsey’s songs are about inspiring women and loving themselves, this one is so powerful. The tone of the song will make you feel like the main character in a villain origin story, and I think that’s a good thing.
Halsey’s lyrics are telling the listener that they’re not going to let anyone tell them they’re not powerful enough to basically take on gods. And since Halsey wrote it during their pregnancy, it’s evident that life events influenced how they saw themselves as they were bringing new life into the world.
“I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan
The Whitney Houston version might be what most people think of when they hear “I’m Every Woman.” But I want to credit the original singer – the amazingly talented Chaka Khan. This song was the original inspiration for many songs about all women being perfect despite their different backgrounds and lives.
I love this music video and wish I had watched it sooner. And to think it came before music videos were the norm for many musical artists. Chaka was setting trends way before we even realized.
“Respect” by Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin deserves to be on any woman-themed playlist, specifically because this iconic song will never lose popularity. “Respect” is everything everyone deserves, and Aretha makes that known as she spells out the word.
And to think, it took decades before the Queen of Soul was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2020 and received a Pulitzer Prize in 2019. Both are well-deserved.
“No Scrubs” by TLC
I completely forgot this song existed until my first night after moving into my freshman college dorm. The group of girls I had met that day in my dorm and I were walking back from getting pizza a few streets away, and one girl called a guy a scrub after catcalling.
Then she played the song, and we all felt amazing and like we deserved so much better than that. I don’t know if TLC expected their music to still be relevant and popular among college students in the late 2010s and 2020s, but I’m so happy it is.
“Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce
I had to end this playlist with the most obvious choice for songs that empower women. “Run the World (Girls)” lets everyone know Beyonce knows that the world wouldn’t be prospering without women. She makes it evident that she won’t let anyone tear other women down with this song.
The music video is perfectly made for the message. It’s full of beautiful women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. Beyonce’s anthem is the ultimate message of girl power–and I love it.