In honour of International Women's Day and Women's History Month, we decided to collate some of the amazing women in film and tv who have been inspirations to us. Clearly, there are far too many inspiring female characters to include all of them, so in no particular order, here are our top ten!
1. Elizabeth Swann - Pirates of The Caribbean
With a character arc worthy of countless awards, Elizabeth Swann (portrayed by Kiera Knightly) from the Pirates of The Caribbean franchise could never be considered helpless at any point. Right from the start she puts herself in dangerous situations for the good of others, never runs from a fight and is the mastermind behind almost all of the brilliant plans throughout the first three of the films. Having been voted King of the Brethren Court, she demands the respect of the other pirates and consistently proves herself worthy of it. Elizabeth is not afraid to say what she wants, and then go after it no matter who stands in the way.
Played by: Kiera Knightly
2. Wanda Maximoff - Marvel Cinematic Universe
Where to even start with Wanda Maximoff! A frankly unimaginable amount of power is available quite literally at her fingertips, making Wanda arguably the strongest Avenger. She's not afraid to fight for what she loves and believes in and definitely makes sure that those who dare cross her, or any of her friends, suffer the consequences of their actions. Having survived tragedy after tragedy, the strength of Wanda's character comes from far more than her power, however. Her incredible resilience and determination make her an incredible influence for young women in so many different ways, as well as the character we needed in the Avengers films!
Played by: Elizabeth Olsen
3. Ellie Sattler - Jurassic Park
Dr Ellie Sattler, famous for the quote "Dinosaurs eat Man, Woman inherits the Earth" is a paleobotanist working alongside Dr Alan Grant when they are both asked to give their opinions on the now iconic Jurassic Park. Ellie doesn't hold back her opinions with regards to the dangers of the park, however she is slightly more restrained in the film as opposed to the book. Ellie has the knowledge needed in certain situations the group find themselves in and she isn't afraid to make that known, especially when she points out very bluntly to Hammond that she is no less capable of any task simply because she is a woman.
Played by: Laura Dern
4. Shuri - Black Panther
Shuri, the sister of King T'Challa of Wakanda is the literal definition of courage, comedy, intelligence and loyalty all in one. She brings an amazing amount of hilarity to the award-winning film Black Panther without sacrificing an ounce of her intelligence. Shuri is the brains behind the Black Panther and this is made known in the film, giving her the respect that she undeniably deserves. We see her on the battlefield as well as in the labs throughout the film, and when the Avengers need to save the world in Infinity War who is it they turn to? Shuri.
Played by: Letitia Wright
5. Padmé Amidala - Star Wars
Padmé Amidala, Queen of Naboo is the main source of female strength for the entirety of the three Star Wars prequels. She deals with everything thrown at her in a mature and confident way, taking everything in her stride. Not letting anyone tell her she can't do something and not taking no for an answer are two qualities we're seeing more and more in tv and film characters and Padmé was one of the leaders in that field. Providing young women watching Star Wars with someone they could aspire to be while still giving off the strength she does continues to make her an admirable character.
Played by: Natalie Portman
6. Sansa Stark - Game of Thrones
Sansa Stark from the HBO series Game of Thrones suffers through some of the worst situations presented in the show and lives to go on and defend her people. She deals with the things she's going through but allows nothing to stop her. Her character goes from the naïve young child we see in season one, to the unbreakably strong woman we see later on which leads to her eventually becoming Queen of the North at the end of the final season. Sansa doesn't let anything or anyone treat her with any less respect than she learns she deserves and her journey is one definitely worthy of more recognition.
Played by: Sophie Turner
7. Amy Santiago - Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Amy Santiago, one of the Ninety-Ninth Precinct's leading detectives proves over the course of seven seasons that you don't need to break rules or intimidate others to be taken seriously. Her hard-working attitude to both work and her home life is inspiring and seeing a woman advance in her career because of this and her intelligence is still too uncommon in film. We see her go from being determined to please those around her, to not being afraid to make decisions for herself. Something we could all do with seeing more of!
Played by: Melissa Fumero
8. Peggy Carter - Marvel Cinematic Universe
Agent Peggy Carter, one of the most distinguished agents of the Strategic Scientific Reserve during and after World War II is the strongest female presence in Captain America: The First Avenger and despite not appearing for long, if at all, in many of the following films in the MCU, continues to leave a huge impact on the audience as well as the characters. Peggy proves that a character can be fearless and a love interest at the same time without sacrificing any of her best attributes. Agent Carter could have been used far more in the series of films but her potential only adds to her likability.
Played by: Hayley Atwell
9. Eowyn - Lord of The Rings
While Eowyn is probably many people's least favourite female character in Lord of The Rings, she is the only one who really makes a contribution to ending the war Sauron is waging on all of Middle Earth. Her desire to fight alongside the men and her determination to get what she wants lead to her killing one of Sauron's most feared soldiers. The Witch King himself tells Eowyn that no living man can kill him, and her iconic response of "I am no man" will forever be one of the most inspiring lines in the film. She does many things over the course of the last two films yet never receives the credit she deserves.
Played by: Miranda Otto
10. Caroline Forbes - The Vampire Diaries
Aside from the Salvatores, Caroline Forbes is one of the most iconic characters in The Vampire Diaries. Of all the show's characters, she deals with the most. After a rocky start in season one, she then dies, accidentally kills someone, loses both parents after both mistreated her in one way or another, is tortured multiple times, is forced to deliver twins, loses her husband on her wedding day and ends up being the only immortal left by the end of the show. Despite all of this, she's the most likeable and logical character of all of them and only gets stronger as the show goes on.
Played by: Candice King
Hope Van Dyme - Marvel Cinematic Universe
Evie O'Connell - The Mummy
Rachel Green - Friends
Brienne of Tarth - Game of Thrones
Okoye - Marvel Cinematic Universe
Valkyrie - Thor: Ragnorok
Maria Hill - Marvel Cinematic Universe
Remember ladies, you bow to no one.
Your inspirations aren't on the list? Leave a comment to tell us who you'd like to see added!
Words by Chloe Pollard.