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Add These Women-Led TV Shows To Your Women’s History Watchlist

Women’s History Month is finally here, and now is a great time to celebrate the incredible women in your life. If you’re planning a relaxing night in with the roomie or inviting friends over for a festive get-together, one fun way to celebrate Women’s History Month is by binge-watching shows with strong female leads. Whether you’re looking for a lighthearted comedy, historical drama, captivating mystery, or otherwise, we’ve got you covered with some of the best women-led shows to add to your watchlist. 

In the media world, we could use more women-led shows; especially ones that dig below the surface and show complex, nuanced female characters and storylines. For reference, want an easy way to gauge how well a show represents women? Meet the Bechdel test. It’s pretty simple, and is solely based on the following question: Are there two women characters who talk to each other about something other than a man? Yikes. The bar is low. 

Luckily for us, there are a host of women-dominated shows that fly far above this standard — and TBH, they’re amazing. Here are 10 of the best shows with women front and center to add to your Women’s History Month watchlist.

1. Chewing Gum

Streaming on: HBOMax

Tracey is 24, lives in London, and really, really, wants to get laid. Obstacles standing in her way include her super-religious boyfriend (and family) and the minor problem that she has absolutely no idea what she’s doing when it comes to gettin’ it on.

If you’re ready for a cringe-inducing, fourth-wall-breaking, real-talking protagonist, Tracey is your girl. Plus, with just two seasons of 6 episodes each, you can knock this one out in a weekend, easy.

2. Broad City

Streaming on: Hulu and Comedy Central

Ilana and Abbi are living the glamorous life of 20-somethings in New York City. The experience is, of course, complete with crumbling apartments, screaming encounters with strangers on the street, and accidentally dating men who turn out to be members of terrible improv troupes. At its core, Broad City is a story about female friendship. Romantic interests drive plotlines forward, but nothing comes close to the love these two have for one another — and for doing dumb stuff while stoned.

3. Parks aND RECREATION

Streaming on: Peacock

Leslie Knope is proof that you can be relentlessly optimistic, aggressively cheerful, and unshakable in your morals…and still be one of the funniest, smartest, and strongest characters on TV. Parks and Rec is the perfect comfort show. It has plenty of seasons to keep you happily goofing around the Pawnee, Indiana Parks Department, and Leslie’s binder-filled office.

4. The Bold Type

Streaming on: Hulu

This is a story of career, journalism, and life in the big city through the eyes of three women navigating careers at a Cosmopolitan-esque magazine. The Bold Type manages to be entertaining (plus fun to look at) without trivializing its subjects. As Her Campus Associate Editor Tianna Soto (NCSU ’16) writes about The Bold Type, “Rather than feeding viewers a cliché storyline…The Bold Type gives us a mix of dreamy rom-com moments and real, complex life lessons.”

5. DEar White People

Streaming on: Netflix

Samantha White goes to an Ivy League school and hosts her own campus radio show, called Dear White People. And it goes over super well. Okay, not exactly. In Dear White People, the characters are far more than the premise they occupy, each bringing nuance and personality to their encounters with racism, identity, romance, and the simple challenge of surviving life as a college student. The show is both funny and serious, just like college itself.

6. killing eve

Streaming on: Hulu, YouTube TV, and BBC America

Assassins, secret agents, and Sandra Oh? Killing Eve is the story of two smart and obsessive women — one of whom happens to be a psychopathic murderer. The show has action, drama, and a heavy dose of dark humor that has earned it three seasons so far, with a fourth in the works.

7. The Queen’s Gambit

Streaming on: Netflix

This drama mini-series follows the life of Beth Harmon, an unusual chess prodigy in the 1950s. Over seven episodes, Beth navigates the patriarchal world of her Kentucky orphanage and the interior, male-dominated world of competitive chess.

Anya Taylor-Joy’s mesmerizing coming-of-age performance pits her against adversaries beyond those at the other side of the chessboard, including obsession in the form of addiction — and with the game itself. 

8. Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat

Streaming on: Netflix

Tired of the dining hall or your outdated college kitchen? Let Samin Nosrat bring you on a journey that circles the globe yet remains rooted in the four simple pillars that make food great (I’ll let you guess what those might be).

Nosrat, who authored a hugely successful cookbook of the same name, is an expert whose gift is to make the mystery of cooking both accessible and fun…even if you’re sharing a kitchen with a roommate who can’t even seem to master the art of doing her own dishes.  

9. Betty

Streaming on: HBOMax

Ever wondered what it might feel like to hang with a crew of skaters? Now’s your chance. Sink into the slow-moving yet vibrant world of summer in New York City as a group of five (Chamile, Honeybear, Indigo, Janay, and Kirt) board through a male-dominated world and contend with everything from their own #MeToo experiences to lost backpacks to the complexity of female friendship. 

Come for the outfits, stay for the vibes.

10. Jessica Jones

Streaming on: Netflix

Trauma + superpowers = a Marvel story with some edge. 

Jessica Jones is a hard-drinking, anger-filled private investigator with a chip on her shoulder and some super-human abilities up the sleeve of her leather jacket. The show has plenty of action, complicated characters, and somehow leaves you asking both “how’s she gonna beat this bad guy?” and “how does trauma pull a thread that snakes far beyond its original victim?” simultaneously. 

These should keep you going through Women’s History Month and beyond. What would you add to the list?

Zoë Randolph

UC Berkeley '15

Since graduating, Zoë's served as a content marketer for non-profits and tech startups. She worked remotely and traveled the world full-time with her fiancé before becoming a freelance writer and settling (at least for now) in Montréal, Quebec. She likes reading good books, learning new things, and watching Real Housewives argue on TV. You can keep up with her writing over at zoerandolph.com.
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