Here’s My Big Fat Playlist Of 20 Female Empowerment Songs

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Art can empower the world. Music, in particular, has the magic to move us to the core and wear any mood we want to. 

So, it’s not surprising that when I want to feel empowered, I turn to music.

Here’s sharing my playlist that I fall back upon from time to time whenever I want to tap into my divine feminine and revel in being a woman. 

Please note that I’ve steered away from listing songs that have references to love and relationships and kept it strictly to songs about women empowerment. 

1. Independent Woman by Destiny’s Child

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I took to this song like a fish takes to water. Being independent comes naturally to me, and it’s not uncommon to hang out, travel, dine, or watch a movie alone. I’ve always been like that, and I’d rather be alone than being with the wrong tribe. 

So, this song speaks to me and my inner feminist, independent core. 

Another fun fact is we were a group of 3 besties back in college, and we still call ourselves “The Angels.” I am Lucy Liu in our girl pack because of my long black hair. 

So, this song brings in not only inspiration but also huge bouts of nostalgia. 

Listen on Spotify

My favourite lines – 

“Always 50:50 in a relationship!”

“All the women, who independent
Throw your hands up at me
All the honeys, who making money
Throw your hands up at me
All the mommas, who profit dollars
Throw your hands up at me
All the ladies, who truly feel me
Throw your hands up at me

Girl, I didn’t know you could get down like that

Charlie, how your Angels get down like that?”

2. Roar by Katy Perry 

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Who doesn’t love Katy Perry!

Grammy award or not, the woman’s a legend. Certain artists are above awards, and Katy is one of them. It’s a treat listening to all her songs and watching her performances. 

“Roar” was one of my daughter’s favourite songs as a toddler, and she’d be crooning endlessly to my delight. And why not! What a fun, empowering song is “Roar” for children and adults alike.

Listen on Spotify

Here are my favourite lines – 

“You held me down, but I got up (hey)
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now.

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
Louder, louder than a lion

Roar
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

You’re gonna hear me roar!”

Apart from the empowering lyrics, the music video is cute as a button. 

3. Girls Like To Swing by Sunidhi Chauhan

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This is the Bollywood equivalent of Cyndi Lauper’s iconic feminist anthem, “Girls Like To Have Fun.” 

This song from the Hindi movie “Dil Dhadakne Do” is picturized on two women having unabashed fun that doesn’t cater to the male gaze.

Even today, women enjoying themselves to the hilt is seen as an aberration and so it counts as empowerment in several parts of the globe. 

Listen on Spotify

My favourite lines are: 

“Swing…
Zara Aage Nikal Ke
Swing
Naye Rangon Mein Dhal Ke
Swing
Andaaz Badal Ke, Yani Hichkichana Nahi Hai
Swing”

And yes, what a great party song to groove to! 

4. Just A Girl by No Doubt 

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“No Doubt” was one of my favourite bands way back in college. Some of my personal favourites include “Hella Good,” “Hey Baby,” and “Don’t Speak.” 

“Just A Girl” hits the nail on the head as it focuses on the restrictions placed upon women owing to gender.

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I love how the band keeps it realistic all along and but ends it on a high cheeky note. My favourite lines:

“Oh, I’m just a girl, living in captivity
Your rule of thumb makes me worrisome
Oh, I’m just a girl, what’s my destiny?

What I’ve succumbed to is making me numb.
Oh, I’m just a girl, my apologies

What I’ve become is so burdensome

Oh, I’m just a girl, lucky me
Twiddle-dum, there’s no comparison!”

5. Work That by Mary J. Blige 

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I must admit that I have a huge soft corner for both this song and the singer.

“Work That” has a quiet, self-assured quality that helps ease anxiety and restore inner peace and calm. The song is a reminder that there is a divine force that always has your back. 

And oh, Kamala Harris took her oath as the Vice-President of America with this song playing in the backdrop. How cool is that! 

Listen on Spotify

Here are my favourite verses – 

“Feelin’ great because the light’s on me
Celebrating the things that everyone told me
Would never happen but God has put his hands on me
And ain’t a man alive could ever take it from me
Working with what I got I gotta keep on
Taking care of myself I wanna live long
Ain’t never ashamed what life did to me

Wasn’t afraid to change cause it was good for me.
I wanna
I just wanna be myself
Don’t sweat girl, be yourself.”

Another favourite song by Mary J. Blige is “Family Affair,” which has me instantly tapping my feet on the ground and dancing wherever I am. I can relate to the inclusive message of that song as well. 

6. Thalaivi by Vidya Vox

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Born Vidya Iyer, Vidya Vox is among the Top 5 richest Indian YouTubers. It’s a joy to watch her do these mashups between Indian and Western songs in her inimitable style. Vidya Vox truly rocks!

Thalaivi has a special place in my heart because it shatters the misconception that women are weak when Vidya Vox croons “Ladies, we’re no:1. We’ve already won! So let’s keep on fighting.”

The song is a celebration of womanhood in all its glories and flaws. 

Listen on Spotify

If you want it more street style, you have to check out the remix version along with ft. Navz47, which amps up the song a few notches higher. Very Tamil, very mass! I love it! 

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My favourite lines in the song: 

“I’m not bossy. I’m the boss.” 

7. How You Like That by BLACKPINK 

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BLACKPINK has a nice dark, edgy vibe to their songs and videos.

Watching BLACKPINK is akin to sliding into the rabbit hole, as you can never have enough of one song. You’ll crave for more of their power-packed songs. 

“How You Like That” is about resilience and coming on top of life’s obstacles and your naysayers like a bawse. Plus like all their other videos, this one is just as opulent, aesthetic and makes for a fun watch. 

Listen on Spotify

My favourite lines: 

“The day I fell without my wings
Those dark days when I was trapped
You should have ended me when you still have a chance.

Look up in the sky.
It’s a bird, it’s a plane.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Bring out your boss bitch!
BLACKPINK!”

8. Patakha Guddi by Nooran Sisters 

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This song composed by A.R Rahman from the movie “Highway” has a light, spiritual, and adventurous quality. 

Titled “Patakha Guddi” (Firecracker Kite), the song instantly sparks you to go and fly high to the limitless skies. 

It defies the entitled myth that the man is the favoured one, and it’s a man’s world. 

Listen on Spotify

My favourite lines: 

“Tu to paak rab da baanka bachha
Raj dulara tu hi,
paak rab da baanka bachha
Uska pyaara tu hi
Maalik ne jo chinta di to, door karega wo hi.”

9. Bad Girls by M.I.A

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“Bad Girls” by M.I.A is an audacious song and was originally conceptualized to speak up about women’s rights, specifically the right to drive, in Saudi Arabia. 

I don’t think this song will ever age and is even more relevant in the current global political climate. Especially after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, women’s rights to higher education are a big question mark. 

“Bad Girls” is an excellent case point on how to use Art for socio-political causes. 

Listen on Spotify

My favourite part of the song is the funky background tune and the below phrase which pushes me forward:

“Suki Suki” which means “Drive Drive.”

Other notable songs by M.I.A are ‘Paper Planes’ and ‘Jimmy.’ I particularly like ‘Jimmy’ for her interpretation of the old Mithun Bollywood song by the same name composed by Bappi Lahiri. 

10. Girl on Fire by Alicia Keys 

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An ambitious woman has been seen as an anomaly in our world. 

While girls are encouraged to get educated and even work until a certain stage, they lack the support to go all the way to multiply their talents and maximise their potential once they become adults. 

A part of the problem is the objectification of women that doesn’t consider their powerful intellect.

The other problematic part is the mass conditioning that a woman’s destiny is tied to her vagina and womb. And so, she needs to be protected and drilled to rear the future generations primarily. 

The song “Girl on Fire” comes as a refresher that celebrates a woman’s unbridled ambition ditching any guilt, remorse, or allusion to selfishness. 

Listen on Spotify

My favourite lines in the song: 

“She’s just a girl and she’s on fire
Hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway
She’s living in a world and it’s on fire
Filled with catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away

Oh, oh oh oh oh

She got both feet on the ground
And she’s burning it down

Oh oh oh oh oh, oh oh oh oh

She got her head in the clouds
And she’s not backing down.”

On a side note, one of my all-time favourite songs is “Fallin’” by Alicia Keys.

11. Hollaback Girl by Gwen Stefani

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A huge part of why I loved No Doubt is Gwen Stefani, and she split from the group to make more empowering songs on her own. 

I love the “Hollaback Girl” song for its raw and courageous vibe. Stefani talks of cleaning her own shit, dealing with bullies head-on, and beating them down. Gwen Stefani is in one of her best forms here. 

Listen on Spotify

Some of my favourite lines: 

“I heard that you were talking shit
And you didn’t think that I would hear it
People hear you talking like that
Getting everybody fired up.

So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack
Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out
That’s right, put your pom-poms downs
Getting everybody fired up.

A few times I’ve been around that track.
So it’s not just gonna happen like that.
Cause I ain’t no hollaback girl.
I ain’t no hollaback girl!”

12. Here We Go by Leah Anne Philip

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This Malayalam song from the movie “2 Penkuttikal” brings a huge smile to my face. It’s fantastic to see fearless girls in mainstream cinema. 

This song reminds me of my feisty daughter, who questions the norm around her like the children in this video. 

I am reminded of this incident my daughter was much younger and wanted to venture outside alone without adult supervision. When I told her that she’s too young to defend herself lest something untoward happens, she retorted, saying, “I’ll punch the bad guys. I want to punch them. Please let me go out on my own.”

I couldn’t help smiling because she is, after all, my daughter. So, her response shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Least of all, to me!

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As a feminist mother, I’m highly protective of my daughter’s individuality and independence. You go, girls!

13. Build a B*tch – Bella Poarch 

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One of the newer songs in this list, “Build a B*tch” released in May 2021 by Filipino-American singer, Bella Poarch.

I’m sure that this song will age well and gain more relevance as we move into the age of Transhumanism. 

The song defies man’s expectations and desires of what a perfect woman ought to look like.

Listen on Spotify

Here are my favourite lines, followed by the mocking “la-la-la-la” retort. 

“Curvy like a cursive font
Virgin and a vixen
That’s the kind of girl he wants
But he forgot
This ain’t build a bitch (a bitch)

You don’t get to pick and choose
Different ass and bigger boobs
If my eyes are brown or blue.
This ain’t build a bitch (a bitch)

I’m filled with flaws and attitude
So if you need perfect, I’m not built for you.

La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la
La, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la, la!”

14. Jeenay De Mujhe by Faiza Mujahid

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PINK is one of Bollywood’s hallmark movies that introduced the concept of “consent” in relationships. The absence or even the manipulation of it spells rape, sexual abuse, and misconduct.

The iconic dialogue is ingrained in our collective consciousness today – “No means No!” And that holds true even in consensual relationships, including marriage.

On a side note, Taapsee Pannu would probably be the first Bollywood actress to feature as a lead in mainstream feminist movies that have gone on to become blockbuster hits as well as receive critical acclaim.

The song “Jeenay De Mujhe,” sung by Pakistani singer, Faiza Mujahid makes for the perfect feminist anthem as it shows three women chilling out and having fun together just like the men.

It also reminds me of the hypocrisy of our society when judging women who drink or smoke. Ironically, I’ve heard such comments from men who smoke and drink themselves heavily. Hypocrites!

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My favourite lines from the song –

“Yaar Hat Ja Zara,
Dekh Le Main Hoon Yahaan,
Meri Zindagi Hai Ye Mera Jaha,
Tu Samjhe Yaha Tuhi Hai Badshah.”

15. Rasathi Folk Version by Lalitha Vijaykumar 

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This song from the Tamil film “36 Vayadhinile” defines sisterhood in its truest essence for me.

You see women across all age groups coming together in support and gay abandon. 

The earthy, rustic folk sounds add to the song’s appeal. It’s empowering to see women pep each other up to bring new dawn where women take as much space in the world as their male counterparts. 

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My favourite lines are –

“Vaa di vaalaati
Variya puliya
Thaniya thirivom…
Oorae yaarunu ketta
Yeh un pera miku setu potu
Urumi kaattu
Kaattu…kaattu..”

16. Ain’t No Angel by Kanchan Daniel & The Beards

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“Ain’t No Angel” is the song equivalent of an espresso shot for me, and it gets me instantly pumped up and into the badass mood. 

I can relate so much to this song because I’ve got several salty comments saying that “I am not as innocent as I look.”

All I have to say is, firstly, I have no control over how my face looks. The underlying meaning was that I’m cunning or intelligent, depending on if you are on my side or not. 

Secondly, I believe purity is an overrated trait for women. 

Why is it expected that women must be pure and innocent?

And my life goal is not to become shuddh desi ghee. I’m not such a cow!  

Also, is there a rule somewhere that innocence, beauty, honesty, desire, and smartness cannot coexist? 

If meanness cannot end, then such stereotypes and judgements should. Period.

“Ain’t No Angel” by Kanchan Daniel & The Beards is a song that sings to my soul. I also love their other songs, “The Great Escape” and “Superficial.” 

My favourite lines from this song –

“She’s dangerous coming through the night
Taking the world by storm
And big old boot and a bad attitude
She may be the right kind of wrong.”

I’ve learned over the years through life’s experiences that you need to be the right kind of wrong to stand up for yourself and against any form of injustice. 

17. “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez 

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Jennifer Lopez is such a pathbreaker in a predominantly white Hollywood. Simply watching her live her life or sing, dance, and act on-screen is empowering—just her presence in the industry. 

While I love many songs of hers, “Let’s Get Loud” is my go-to song when I want a quick dose of energy and motivation.

This song is a cry to get loud to break down all barriers and be free. Who better than a Latinx role model to tell us that! 

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It comes as no surprise that this JLo song has been adapted for the feminist version of the Cinderella (2021) movie, sung just as wonderfully by Camila Cabello, Nicholas Galitzine, and Idina Menzel.

A few of my favourite lines – 

“Let’s Get Loud, Let’s Get Loud

Ain’t nobody gotta tell you
What you gotta do

If you wanna live your life
Live it all the way and don’t you waste it.

You gotta do it (Do)
You gotta do it your way (What you wanna do)
You gotta prove it (Say)
You gotta mean what you say (What you wanna say)
You gotta do it (Go)
You gotta do it your way (Where you wanna go)
You gotta prove it
You gotta mean what you say (Just do it, ohh)”

18. Try Everything by Shakira

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This Shakira song from the movie “Zootopia” is another go-to song whenever I want to push forward despite the obstacles.

I love how this song talks about trying everything, making mistakes, failing, having fun while pursuing your passions and living life.

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My favourite lines –

“I messed up tonight
I lost another fight
Lost to myself, but I’ll just start again.

I keep falling down
I keep on hitting the ground
But I always get up now to see what’s next.

Birds don’t just fly
They fall down and get up
Nobody learns without getting it wrong.

I won’t give up
No, I won’t give in till I reach the end
And then I’ll start again
No, I won’t leave
I want to try everything
I want to try even though I could fail
I won’t give up.

No, I won’t give in till I reach the end
Then I’ll start again.”

“Don’t beat yourself up
No need to run so fast
Sometimes we come last, but we did our best.”

“I’ll keep on making those new mistakes
I’ll keep on making them every day
Those new mistakes.”

19. Boss Bitch by Doja Cat

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Saving the best songs for the last, I’m a huge fan of Doja Cat for being wonderfully weird, ingenious, and versatile. 

Whether it’s the gangster style “Rules,” badass “Boss Bitch,” quirky “Mooo!,” seductive “Kiss Me More,” inclusive “Juicy,” intriguing “Streets,” powerful “Ain’t Shit,” or trancelike “Say So,” every song is so distinct from the other. 

She’s such a creative powerhouse that you can’t help but wonder how talented and multifaceted one individual can be. 

The “Boss Bitch” song channels your inner Harley Quinn and gets you instantly into your bossy pants. 

Listen on Spotify

Some of my favourite lines –  

“Yeah, ain’t tryna be cool like you
Wobblin’ around in your high-heeled shoes

I’m clumsy, made friends with the floor
Two for one, you know a bitch buy four
And two left feet, you know I always drop

First thing a girl did was a bop
I’m the whole damn cake and the cherry on top
Shook up the bottom, made a good girl pop”

“I’m a bitch and a boss, I’m a shine like gloss”

“Said, bitch, I’m the after, you’ve been the before
I been the stallion, you been the seahorse
Don’t need a report, don’t need a press run
All of my bad pics been all my best ones

I wear the hat, and I wear the pants
I am advanced, so I get advance
And I do my dance and cancel the plans
Said, boo, don’t be mad cause you had a chance, drop”

Said, I took it and I ran for it
I won it then I stand on it
Money on the floor when we dance on it
Shine bright, finna put a tan on it
Said, I took it and I ran for it
I won it then I stand on it.”

20. Rules by Doja Cat

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This has to be my most favourite song of DojaCat’s. It’s irreverent, deviant, and rebellious. 

To date, a woman’s honour has lied in her vagina. It’s not just the figment of a sick mindset but also an unjustifiable objectification of a woman that reduces her worth to almost nothing.  A woman is not defined and valued by her vagina, but her mind.

Listen on Spotify

My favourite line from this f* brilliant song is –  

“Play with my pussy, but don’t play with my emotions.”

Doja Cat, you have my devotion! What I particularly love about her songs is the strong sense of individuality. It doesn’t follow any herd or trend. Another distinct quality of her songs is her ability to turn deep, complex, layered, contradictory songs into massive mainstream hits. Like how! 

Notable mentions 

Two songs came close to being on the list, but I skipped them for the sake of political correctness. 

The first is “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor, but I didn’t include it as it kinda shames those who are skinny or opt for cosmetic procedures and glorifies thick women with a big booty because boys have more to hold onto. Nonetheless, it’s a fun, cheeky song that defies the conventional beauty standards set by the fashion industry. 

My favourite lines – 

“Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top.”

The second song is “Stupid Girls” by Pink. Like Gwen Stefani, I absolutely adore Pink and all her songs. Another talent powerhouse! While I have no doubts about Pink’s intentions, somehow, this song does come across as a tad judgemental of women with lesser intellect. 

My favourite lines in the song are – 

“The disease is growing, it’s epidemic
I’m scared that there ain’t a cure
The world believes it and I’m going crazy
I cannot take any more
I’m so glad that I’ll never fit in
That will never be me

Outcasts and girls with ambition.
That’s what I wanna see.”

We don’t need to feel empowered by putting down somebody else.

What is your power playlist? 

* I’m taking my blog to the next level with Blogchatter’s My Friend Alexa.

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Tina Sequeira
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is passionate about tech, creativity, and social justice—dabbling in and writing about the same.

24 Comments

  1. Rules is one of my fav songs too, it’s a great playlist that you’ve shared i do know a few songs out of the playlist. Great collection.

  2. Would you mind creating a Spotify link and posting it? Love the tracks, it would be easy to follow 😉 🙂

  3. Wow! That’s an exhaustive list! I must confess that I had not heard of many of these songs. I heard a few from your post and loved them!

  4. This is a wonderful list and I love some of these songs too. I have to check a few which I have not heard before.

  5. I would add, you should see me in a crown by Billie Eillish to this list.

  6. Have heard many songs from the list Doja Cat is my current favourite. Rest i will be adding soon to the playlist

  7. What a fantastic playlist! I haven’t listened to most of the songs. But thank you for sharing the verses as well. I am going to add these songs to my playlist.

  8. Wow, your list of top 20 female empowerment songs is ultimate, Tina. The list has five pieces of my favorite list, but nothing can beat my love for Roar by Katy Perry!

  9. Omg !!! You must have taken a lot of time to pic and choose such a great list. Many of the songs I know. Some are new to me. Will check out others too.

  10. This is quite a variety of songs. I haven’t heard a lot of these. My daughter is going to love this. I will surely share this with her. Thank you for curating them.

  11. I’ve heard most of these songs… But I’m curious about a few of them… Will surely listen to the words more clearly… especially lets get loud – always danced on it but never listened to the words really…. thanks for this list…

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