“Empowering Women in Film & TV: Inspiring Girl Bosses”


Womanhood in cinema is a constantly evolving space explored by filmmakers, that has left an enduring impression on viewers. But how have the observations spelled out with time? It has evolved vividly, as girl bosses are the new go-to inspiration in films, and rightly so. With women getting their due in film industries worldwide, it is only obvious that characters also had to be written with the same potential.

Leading female characters in films also have a commercial edge, with increasing popularity. Many such films and TV shows featuring girl bosses have struck the right chord with critics, smashing box office records and capturing cult status. The trend is expected to continue with rising awareness and viewership of women-led movies, bringing out firm values of justice in society.

In keeping with the growing spirit of girl bosses, here are ten movies that stood out with such characters.

10 Jules in The Intern

The Intern

Warner Bros.

Though Robert De Niro was the spotlight of The Intern, one cannot ignore how Anne Hathaway carried her role as a startup founder with such ease and fluidity. The Intern follows the character Jules, the founder of a popular e-commerce startup in New York City, who befriends Ben Whittaker, a senior intern at her company. Whittaker, played by De Niro, is an aging man looking for an interesting gig in his mundane post-retirement life. The movie captures the personal facets of Jules’ life, who has difficulty juggling her busy professional life and finding time for her family, yet does exceedingly well.

The movie explores themes of post-marital infidelity and how women find themselves at the crossroads at such times for no fault of theirs. Jules is also drawn in the movie between discovering her husband’s affair and a professional hiccup that could only complicate her life more. Nancy Meyers was lauded by critics for The Intern, with many describing it as one of the best works of her career. The character of Jules struck a chord with moviegoers as a strong girl boss who excelled as a multi-tasking professional woman.


9 Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation

Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope in Parks and Recreation's


If there was one character that carried the entire show called Parks and Recreation on their shoulders, it was Leslie Knope. Played by Amy Poehler, the character of Leslie is the main lead of the show, who works as a passionate bureaucrat in the local parks department of the fictional town in the state of Indiana, Pawnee. Leslie could be described as the savior every citizen needs, but doesn’t deserve.

Leslie’s dedication and meticulous planning in her work while she swam through her humorous antics in the office also ended up impressing her boss, Ron, a strong critic of any form of government. Leslie was the glue that bonded the show together, while she made lasting friendships that transcended beyond the peripheries of the office. Leslie was a character that defined agility, hard work, and passion, which were quite the reasons that made her the girl boss that she was.

8 Mare Sheehan in Mare Of Easttown

Kate Winslet in Mare of Easttown

Warner Bros.

Mare of Easttown was one of the most acclaimed TV shows of 2021, where the title character Mare Sheehan, a police detective, investigates a murder in her town. She deals with consequential muddles in her personal life, which flare up as hurdles during her investigation. The story of Mare is not the ordinary woman cop plot. The show revolves around the real-life complexities of addiction and abuse, which could have drastic implications for community circles.

The creator, Brad Ingelsby, entwined the character of Mare around the nuances of such probabilities, which ended up as a woman cop story about a competent and independent woman that saves the day. Mare is shown as a hardened woman, yet who conveys herself with a subtle and humane approach. Kate Winslet particularly drew widespread praise for her acting, which was counted as one of the finest performances in a TV show of 2021.

7 Marge in Fargo


Gramercy Pictures

A Coen brothers masterpiece, Fargo is that movie that could easily pass off as one of the many films that have perceptibly depicted women’s empowerment. A story set in Fargo, Minnesota, the movie witnesses a local police chief investigating a unique case of triple murders while pregnant. The titular female character was inspiring unambiguously, with the pregnant cop Marge performing her regular duties without the customary provision of trying to make a point.

The routine behavior and sheer non-fanfare of the character are what made the movie portray the genuineness of Marge, played by Frances McDormand. The Coen brothers dealt with a dark plot of a rural American town deftly, without making it into a fast-paced flick that could have turned Fargo into just another racy thriller. The compelling female lead was just the undeniably rational aspect of the movie.

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6 Queen Elizabeth in The Crown

The Crown


The Royal family of the United Kingdom has not been a subject that hasn’t been broached earlier. What makes it different in The Crown? It has certainly to do with Queen Elizabeth’s inner perspective of being the head of state of a country that has seen constant loggerheads between its own people regarding the practicality of a monarchy. Most people miss out on the woman, the Queen, who stood through decades of such public dialogues without erring an inch from her official duty.

The Crown has the same undertone, where the Queen puts duty above everything else, even family, when the going gets tough. It certainly hasn’t been easy for Elizabeth, a mother who had to be a public figure before assuming any other role. She did it well, and so did the three actresses who depicted her on the show.

5 Erin in Erin Brockovich

Erin Brockovich

Universal Pictures

Erin Brockovich is based on the true story of activist Erin Brockovich, who successfully helped lead a legal fight against a major corporation that was accused of putting the lives of several people in danger through chemical contamination in the town of Hinkley in California. The case was eventually won by the law firm where she worked, which shot her to fame. Julia Roberts won an Oscar for her role as Erin, and the movie was a success at the box office as well.

The character of Erin Brockovich is even more remarkable due to the actual incidents portrayed in the film, as Erin, being a single mother of three, was also fighting a personal battle in her life. Such stories are difficult to come across, even more staggering, with Erin going on to represent several other groups and communities in court who were likely affected negatively by environmental hazards.

4 Julie and Julia in Julie and Julia


Columbia Pictures

Julie and Julia is a true story of grit and resilience which was adapted into a movie. Living in the 1950s in Paris as a diplomat’s wife, Julia Child had a difficult time learning to cook in her culinary class, being the only woman and having met with doubt and cynicism. Played by Meryl Streep, Julia fights the male-dominated culinary industry, and her story is a testament to her determination to publish one of the most celebrated cookbooks of all time.

In a parallel story running in the movie in modern-day America in 2022, Julie Powell takes up the challenge to cook every single recipe from Child’s popular cookbook. The film escalates between both timelines, representing the challenges faced by both of them in the different eras, and how their unabashed resolution to their goals made them the popular faces they are in popular culture.

3 Gracie in Miss Congeniality

Sandra Bullock as Gracie Hart

Warner Bros. Pictures

Starring Sandra Bullock as Gracie, Miss Congeniality is a lighter sarcastic take on how popular media reduces the popularity of women to a beauty fixture. A beauty pageant is under threat and the FBI needs to send an undercover sees to investigate the event, and Gracie participates as a contestant as she scans for cruel intentions. Gracie emerges as the typical savior of the day eventually, though the film leaves a lot to ponder about. In an initial scene in a flashback, a young boy is embarrassed when Gracie rescues him from bullies only because she is a girl. That sets the temper of the film, which flourishingly achieves its goal.

2 Madam Walker in Self Made

Octavia Spencer: Madam C.J. Walker

SpringHill Entertainment

Self Made is an autobiographical TV show about the extraordinary life of Madam Walker, the wealthiest self-made African American woman in the country at the time of her death. Developing her own line of beauty and hair care products, she had a literal rags-to-riches story, coupled with the many other difficulties faced by her community in that era. Octavia Spencer played the role of Walker with the most heightened refinement, fruitfully adapting the story of an inspirational woman into a TV show character.

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1 Mindy in the Mindy Project



Mindy Kaling is widely known for her TV show The Mindy Project, where she stars as the Indian-American doctor Mindy Lahiri. Albeit a comedy show, Mindy’s character is a testament to the difficult yet motivating lives of South Asian women in America. While Mindy Lahiri became very popular for her many comedic escapades, the show is quick to have a generic undertone to remind viewers that the story is what it is due to the ethnic history and values of the main character, which makes her the perfect girl boss in the show.

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