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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wake Forest chapter.

This weekend has been quite an interesting time for our nation. As we all probably know, Women’s Marches occurred in many major cities.  Close to 3 million people around the world gathered together to let their voices be heard and to bring solidarity among women.

Whether political or not, this is something that should be completely embraced in the collegiette community and the States as a whole – gender equality and peaceful protest. The Women’s March was a great example of female empowerment and unity within humanity.

In honor of this demonstration of “girl power,” I decided to compose a list of just a few of the greatest female musicians throughout history. These are women that encouraged my own love of music as well as pushed the boundaries of the music industry to bring us where we are today. Although modern day has an overwhelming amount of great female musicians, singers, and bands, I came to realize that it’s the classics that we should be thanking for expanding the boundaries of society, and for demonstrating the talents and capabilities of women.

Here are a few of who I believe to be some of the greatest and most influential female musicians and singers from the past:



Experimental with electronic music and synth pop sounds along with a unique and powerful voice, Annie Lennox from Eurythmics is both an amazing singer and an inspiring political and social activist still today.


Janis Joplin

An influential singers of the 1960’s, Joplin is undoubtedly one of the most raw, emotional, and boundary breaking female singer’s that helped to pave the way for psychedelic rock music.


Whitney Houston

One of the most breathtaking voices and most awarded female singers of all time.



Debbie Harry broke the barrier for female singers and led the way for a new form of American punk in the late 70’s.


Joni Mitchell

One of the most significant female song writers in history – gained influence from not only emotional and personal circumstances, but environmental and social issues as well.


Aretha Franklin

One of the best-selling artists of all-time and an internationally groundbreaking female singer and symbol of racial and gender equality within the music industry.



More current than the previous examples but (in my personal opinion) just as influential, Bjӧrk is eccentric and experimental as well invested in political, environmental, and charity works.


Diana Ross

Originally lead singer of The Supremes, one of America’s most successful singing groups, Diana brought R&B onto the front line of the mainstream music industry through her own popularity and talent.


HeartNot only does this band have two sisters residing as front women, but also was an American hard rock success.



Carole KingPossibly the most successful songwriter within the 20th century –  a talented songwriter, singer, composer, and all around amazing and politically active woman.


This is just a sample of women who have helped pave the way throughout musical history. These women still have an impact in the music industry and influence listeners still today to break barriers –

Let your voice be heard.


Here’s a playlist totally devoted to these inspiring women –


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An English Major and Communications Minor at Wake Forest University. Current student, future editor. Loves travel, loves music.
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Betsy Mann

Wake Forest