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The best shows to stream for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month has been celebrated in March in North America, the U.K., and Australia since 1978, created to highlight the accomplishments and contributions of women both in history and the present day. Women have come a long way since then, but it’s clear there’s still a long way to go towards gender equality, pay parity, and “breaking the bias.”

Chances are you might have a few educational and historical documentaries on your radar to watch this month as a reminder of how much women have done, and continue to do, for society. But there are also some wonderful shows that celebrate strong females of all kinds. Some are inspiring, others terrifying, some all-too-real, and others uplifting. We have rounded up some great TV shows worth watching this month, with options ranging from single-season miniseries to multi-season dramas, comedies, and more.

Looking for more inspiring content to watch? We’ve also rounded up the best movies to stream for Women’s History Month.

The Queen's Gambit (2020)

The Queen's Gambit
79 %
8.6/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Anya Taylor-Joy, Isla Johnston, Bill Camp
Created by Scott Frank, Allan Scott
Arguably one of the best shows of 2020, The Queen’s Gambit swept the Emmys with an impressive 11 awards. For good reason, too, as Anya Taylor Joy delivered a mesmerizing performance as Beth, a fictional orphan turned chess prodigy who becomes obsessed with the game and her knack for it. Beth will stop at nothing to become the next world champion, but her desire to be the best is also juxtaposed by her typical coming-of-age challenges, troubled upbringing, and dependency on drugs and alcohol. It’s a wonderfully raw and honest depiction of a young woman who is both incredibly confident and wildly insecure at the same time. While not everyone is a brilliant chess player like Beth, her journey to be taken seriously at a sport that has long been dominated by men is something to which many women can relate.

The Handmaid's Tale (2017)

The Handmaid's Tale
82 %
8.4/10
tv-ma 6 Seasons
Genre Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Drama
Cast Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes
Created by Bruce Miller
It’s a world we never want to see, but one that, as the show suggests, could exist at the drop of a hat. Based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, but set in present times, a totalitarian regime has overturned the government and imposed its religious and societal views, which involves fertile women of child-bearing age working as handmaids for the wives of wealthy commanders. Others are made Marthas (maids) or sent to work hard labor, while those who have children find themselves ripped apart from them. The show’s subject matter is tough and often hard to watch with scenes involving torture, abuse, and even maiming. But the way the women come together to revolt, led by the fearless feminist June, is inspiring. Even when they don’t succeed, seeing them fight back against every atrocious form of abuse thrown at them will have you pumping your firsts in approval just as much as you shake your head in disdain at the situation.

Maid (2021)

Maid
82 %
8.4/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose
Created by Molly Smith Metzler
Margaret Qually has received rave reviews for her performance in Maid as Alex, a young woman who courageously decides one day to leave her abusive boyfriend and move into a shelter with their toddler. So begins her journey, accepting a job cleaning houses so she can support she and her daughter while also dealing with government assistance and dreaming of a better future. It’s a show that will tug right at your heartstrings and chronicle a predicament that is sadly all too common among the working class. But it also highlights women’s strength, perseverance, and ability to adapt to any situation and do what has to be done for the sakes of their children.

Mrs. America (2020)

Mrs. America
87 %
7.8/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba
Created by Dahvi Waller
Beyond the A-list cast, this historical drama could not be more fitting for Women’s History Month. It delves into the political movement that took place in the ’70s to pass the Equal Rights Amendment that would guarantee equal rights for both men and women. While the focus is on Phyllis Schlafly, a controversial conservative activist who campaigned to ratify the amendment to the constitution, and it’s a dramatization of the story, the miniseries still highlights an important part of history, covering both sides including prominent feminists of that era, like Gloria Steinem and Shirley Chisholm. It’s no surprise that this miniseries, delivered in nine episodes, received 10 Primetime Emmy Award nominations and was named by the American Film Institute as one of the 10 best from 2020.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (2017)

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
78 %
8.7/10
tv-ma 4 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Rachel Brosnahan, Alex Borstein, Michael Zegen
Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino
Yes, it’s a comedy about, well, comedy. But beneath the constant laughs is an important story about a woman who bucked conventions. While the creators have never confirmed that the main character, Midge Maisel, is based, loosely or not, on any early-day female stand-up comedian, there are parallels with people like Jean Carroll and Joan Rivers. Set in the ’50s, with season 4 shifting to the ’60s, after her husband leaves her for his secretary, Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) discovers her talent for stand-up comedy. A local comedy club manager (Alex Borstein), also female, sees potential and decides to take Midge under her wing. As the two try desperately to make it in a male-dominated industry, they face hurdles and crash down walls. It’s an inspiring story delivered with a healthy dose of laughter.

Fleabag (2016)

Fleabag
92 %
8.7/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sian Clifford, Olivia Colman
Created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge
The perfect series for the confident, modern-day woman who is comfortable with her sexuality, this series is not only a great choice to watch for Women’s History Month because of the show itself but also in recognition of creator and executive producer Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who has become an inspiration for other women in the entertainment industry due to her many accomplishments. A British black comedy, the story is based on Waller-Bridge’s one-woman stage show and follows the title character, a free-spirited, sexually-awoken young woman living in London just trying to make it through day-to-day life. It’s one of the few series that maintains a solid 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with critics calling it “clever and viciously funny.”

Good Girls Revolt (2015)

Good Girls Revolt
65 %
8.2/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Genevieve Angelson, Anna Camp, Hunter Parrish
Created by Dana Calvo
Inspired by the Lynn Povich book of the same name and based on events from real life, Good Girls Revolt is set in 1969 when several young women are working at News of the Week magazine. While many of these women are better educated and more talented than the male reporters, they remain stuck in low-level, lower-paying jobs. What’s more, they end up writing much of the content the men use in their authored stories yet don’t get any credit. Often compared to Mad Men but told from a female perspective, the series brings attention to the still-relevant issues of equal pay and recognition in the workplace.[/dt_media]

The Great (2020)

The Great
77 %
8.2/10
tv-ma 2 Seasons
Genre Drama, Comedy
Cast Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult, Phoebe Fox
Created by Tony McNamara
Catherine the Great, Empress of All Russia, went from being an outsider to the longest-running female ruler in the history of Russia following a coup d’etat that ousted her husband. In power from 1762 to 1796, she has been credited with helping the country grow, revitalize, and flourish. While this series is satire and dubbed a comedy-drama, it’s loosely based on a real-life character. And when thinking back to important women in history, The Great brings to light one of, well, the greats.

Dickinson (2019)

Dickinson
72 %
7.6/10
tv-14 3 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Drama
Cast Hailee Steinfeld, Toby Huss, Adrian Enscoe
Created by Alena Smith
Emily Dickinson grew up in the 18th century, an aspiring poet who fought against traditional conventions, including the expected tasks of women and her parents’ desire to marry her off. Instead, Emily loved to immerse herself in her poetry. This comedy takes place during the 19th century and adds a modern and humorous spin to the tale, showcasing a version of Emily as she deals with the typical trials and tribulations of coming-of-age. In reality, Dickinson was alleged to be an eccentric recluse who, similarly to the character in the series, had a very close relationship with her sister-in-law and muse, Susan. While the interpretation in this series is fiction, it’s a look back at a young woman who carved her own path and whose true talent was not discovered and recognized publicly until after her death.

The Wilds (2020)

The Wilds
76 %
7.3/10
tv-14 2 Seasons
Genre Mystery, Drama
Cast Sophia Ali, Shannon Berry, Jenna Clause, Reign Edwards, Mia Healey
Created by Sarah Streicher
An interesting inclusion on this list, The Wilds has been called Lord of the Flies but with girls. At the heart of the story is a group of troubled young women, all from different walks of life, whose parents send them on a retreat designed to heal them and get them out of their respective funks. But when the plane crashes on a deserted island, and the girls are forced to fend for themselves and deal with their own demons, truths are revealed, and the challenges of being a teenage woman are brought to light. At the heart is a story of feminism and one woman’s desire to prove, through unconventional methods, that when pushed to their limits, women can prevail.

Diary of a Future President (2020)

Diary of a Future President
6/10
tv-pg 2 Seasons
Genre Comedy, Kids
Cast Tess Romero, Charlie Bushnell, Selenis Leyva
Created by Ilana Peña
Looking for something to watch with your kids to celebrate Women’s History Month? This comedy-drama is all about 12-year-old Elena, who, like many children, has big dreams of one day becoming president. The series is presented through voice-overs and read passages from Elena’s diary, with Gina Rodriguez as an older version of Elena in the future, having officially fulfilled her dream. It’s an inspiring story that not only teaches kids to follow their dreams but also shows a young girl going through all the typical things women can relate to. It’s the perfect feel-good series to watch with the entire family this month. The series has been lauded by critics and audiences alike.

Sex and the City (1998)

Sex and the City
64 %
7.2/10
tv-ma 6 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon
Created by Darren Star
A questionable ending and lackluster limited series revival aside, if there was ever a series that promoted female empowerment, it was this one. Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte were 30- and 40-something single women living in New York City and navigating their busy careers, social lives, and dating. Every female fan felt like she could relate to one of these women or possessed a mix of qualities of each. But what stood out was that each woman followed her own path and was unapologetic about her journey and choices. Even without the ridiculously expensive wardrobes, high-flying careers, and steady revolving door of dates, every woman aspired to be like these fierce and confident ones from the trailblazing series that made viewers stand up and pay attention to HBO as a provider of fabulous original television content.

I May Destroy You (2020)

I May Destroy You
86 %
8.1/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama
Cast Michaela Coel, Weruche Opia, Paapa Essiedu
Created by Michaela Coel
Vocal activist, feminist, and actor Jane Fonda made sure to call out this British series and its powerful message at the Golden Globes. Creator Michaela Coel uses the 12 episodes of this drama to tell a fictionalized version of her own personal tale of being raped. Arabella, her character, blacks out during a night out with friends and slowly begins to recall the events that occurred. The story that follows is an honest, emotional depiction of a young woman dealing with the trauma of having been violated in more ways than one. Yet Coel manages to tell a very serious story in a way that has been praised for being both dark and uncomfortable as well as hilarious. It’s a fine line that Coel balances beautifully.

Unbelievable (2019)

Unbelievable
83 %
8.4/10
tv-ma 1 Season
Genre Drama, Crime
Cast Kaitlyn Dever, Toni Collette, Merritt Wever
Created by Susannah Grant
Following several rapes in Washington, two female detectives investigate while a teenage victim who comes forward is accused of lying. It’s an interesting story that navigates every side of the female experience when it comes to rape and sexual assault cases. Drawn from the T. Christian Miller and Ken Armstrong article “An Unbelievable Story of Rape” and their book A False Report, the series has been called both heartbreaking and powerful. A great option for fans of the true-crime genre, this one puts a spin on an oft-told story that actually sheds light on female survivors and their stories.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970)

The Mary Tyler Moore Show
8.1/10
7 Seasons
Genre Comedy
Cast Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod
Created by James L. Brooks, Allan Burns
When it comes to groundbreaking women in entertainment, one who often comes to mind is Mary Tyler Moore. The premise of her namesake series sounds humdrum today, but in the early ’70s, the idea of a young career woman rising up the ranks at a news program with no desire to fill the typical female role turned heads. The sitcom went on to be considered one of the best series of all time. Moore, who died in 2017, was and remains to this day an inspiration to young comedians and actors, female and male alike.[/dt_media]

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