Titles celebrating womanhood, relatable female leads and a story that depicts reality authentically are some of the key factors that make some series the most loved Netflix shows for women. As the genre is becoming a highly searched segment on the OTT platform, show creators are getting into the skin of these characters, upholding their true nature as well as adding nuanced layers to portray their development over the episodes.
A series grounded in reality, with a strong woman protagonist essayed with simplicity and grace and a story that captivates the minds — many series on Netflix use these aspects to make shows that have gained immense applause. They have become favourites among women, who tend to identify with the characters on celluloid.
Be it portraying Devi Vishwakumar in Never Have I Ever (2020-2023) or the ambitious-yet-goofy Emily Cooper in Emily In Paris (2020-), the shows of today don’t shy away from showing free-spirited women with a girl-next-door attitude who are fun-loving and yet have their goals set.
From Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana in The Crown (2016-2023) to Tokyo and Nairobi in Money Heist (2017-2021) and Wednesday Addams in Wednesday (2022), strong female leads continue to dominate the screens with their rage, grit and humour.
So, if you are looking for something both interesting and meaningful, take a look at our list of select Netflix shows with formidable female characters and impeccable storylines.
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Some of the best Netflix shows for women with incredible characters and stories
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- The Crown (2016-2023)
- Maid (2021-)
- Grace and Frankie (2015-2022)
- The Queen’s Gambit (2020)
- Wednesday (2022)
- Good Girls (2018-2021)
- Bridgerton (2020-)
- Crash Landing On You (2019-2020)
- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (2018-2020)
- Never Have I Ever (2020-2023)
- GLOW (2017-2019)
- The Baby-Sitters Club (2020-2021)
- Money Heist (2017-2021)
Created by: Peter Morgan
Cast: Claire Foy, Olivia Colman, Elizabeth Debicki, Imelda Staunton
Synopsis: The show chronicles the reign of Queen Elizabeth II from the 1940s to modern times, marked by numerous events that have shaped the course of the British monarchy. Notably, a significant shift in dynamics unfolds in Buckingham Palace with the rise of Princess Diana’s popularity and the turmoil in her personal life, ultimately leading to her divorce from Prince Charles.
About the series: The final season of The Crown, season 6, will be released in two parts. Part 1, rolling out on 16 November, will follow the final days of Lady Di and Dodi Fayed, while the second part will be more about Prince Charles, his sons and Camilla. Even after six seasons, this Netflix original show will not reach the present day.
The Crown stars several actors to portray different timelines and age differences of the characters. However, the people depicted on screen remain the same.
Awards won: Till now, The Crown has bagged 27 BAFTA nominations with three wins, 21 Primetime Emmy Awards out of 69 nominations and seven Golden Globes out of 19 nominations.
Image: Courtesy The Crown/ Photo by Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix – © Netflix 2020, Inc/ IMDb
Created by: Molly Smith Metzler
Cast: Margaret Qualley, Nick Robinson, Rylea Nevaeh Whittet
Synopsis: Alex Russell (Qualley) is a young mother who escapes an abusive relationship. In a bid to give her child a better life, she turns to housekeeping and barely manages to make ends meet. A mother’s selfless love and zeal to raise her child keep her going despite the struggle with the law.
About the series: This limited drama series is based on Stephanie Land’s New York Times best-selling memoir Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay And A Mother’s Will to Survive (2019).
Image: Courtesy Maid/ IMDb
Created by: Marta Kauffman, Howard J. Morris
Cast: Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen
Synopsis: Grace Hanson (Fonda) and Frankie Bergstein (Tomlin) are not friends. But when their husbands, who are business partners, admit they have been romantically involved for nearly 20 years and are leaving their wives, the two women are forced to bond and navigate the situation.
About the series: This Netflix series is an outstanding comedy-drama that celebrates womanhood and the spirit of female friendships. The series co-creator Kauffman was also a writer on F.R.I.E.N.D.S (1994-2004).
Image: Courtesy Grace and Frankie/ IMDb
Created by: Scott Frank, Allan Scott
Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Moses Ingram
Synopsis: In the 1960s in the USA, Beth Harmon (Taylor-Joy) is an orphan who discovers her chess prowess and realises she is a prodigy. She masters the game and overcomes all adversities and hurdles to ace this male-dominated field. However, her success comes with a heavy price.
About the series: This Netflix series is based on a 1983 novel of the same name by American writer and amateur chess enthusiast Walter Tevis.
Awards won: The Queen’s Gambit has earned 11 Primetime Emmy Awards along with a Golden Globe win for Taylor-Joy in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series, Anthology Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television in 2021. The series bagged the Golden Globe for the Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture Made for Television the same year. Carlos Rafael Rivera won the 2022 Grammy for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.
Image: Courtesy The Queen’s Gambit/ IMDb
Created by: Alfred Gough, Miles Millar
Cast: Jenna Ortega, Emma Ryers, Christina Ricci
Synopsis: While studying and finding her way at Nevermore Academy, Wednesday Addams (Ortega) tries to harness her supernatural abilities and new psychic powers to rescue the town from the wandering killing spree. She also learns about the supernatural mystery that embroiled her parents 25 years ago and decides to solve it.
About the series: Following the success of the first season, Netflix confirmed its renewal for a second season on 6 January 2023. The series draws its inspiration from The Addams Family cartoon and previous series and movies, although they are set in separate timelines. Acclaimed filmmaker Tim Burton has created four episodes of the series and serves as an executive producer.
Image: Courtesy Wednesday/ IMDb
Created by: Jenna Bans
Cast: Christina Hendricks, Retta, Mae Whitman, Reno Wilson, Lidya Jewett
Synopsis: Sisters Beth Boland (Hendricks) and Annie Marks (Whitman) and their best friend Ruby Hill (Retta) are three mothers from the Michigan suburbs who are grappling with financial issues in their lives. To end their troubles, they decide to pull off a grocery store heist. However, their crime drags them into deeper waters than they had imagined.
Image: Courtesy Good Girls/ © 2020 NBCUniversal Media, LLC./IMDb
Created by: Chris Van Dusen
Cast: Phoebe Dynevor, Jonathan Bailey, Regé-Jean Page, Luke Newton, Julie Andrews, Nicola Coughlan
Synopsis: When Daphne Bridgerton (Dynevor), the eldest of eight sisters in the powerful Bridgerton family, steps into London’s elite marriage market, she is approached by suitors who initially seem unrivalled. However, when her elder brother Anthony Bridgerton (Bailey) begins dismissing them, the high society scandal sheet written by the mysterious Lady Whistledown (Andrews) begins to attack Daphne. This is when the Duke of Hastings (Page) arrives, and Daphne is taken in for a spin with an unmissable attraction.
About the series: Speaking to Digital Spy, Adjoa Andoh (who plays Lady Agatha Danbury) confirmed a 2024 release for season 3: “Season three will be coming out next year. That’s been in the can for a while and with each season, the show gets slightly more fabulous. It gets more complex.”
Awards won: Bridgerton has won the 2021 and 2022 Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Period and/or Character Hairstyling.
Image: Courtesy Bridgerton/Photo by LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX/LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX – © 2021 Netflix, Inc./ IMDb
Created by: Lee Jung-hyo
Cast: Hyun Bin, Son Ye-jin, Seo Ji-hye
Synopsis: Yoon Se-ri (Son), the heir to a South Korean conglomerate, crashes into North Korea following a paragliding mishap. Here, she meets North Korean army officer Ri Jeong-hyeok (Hyun), who feels protective of her. Ri tries to hide her in safety, and amid their time together, they both fall in love.
About the series: This romantic Korean drama series has a 100 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Image: Courtesy Crash landing On You/ © tvN /IMDb
Created by: Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Cast: Kiernan Shipka, Ross Lynch, Lucy Davis
Synopsis: As her 16th birthday draws closer, Sabrina Spellman (Shipka) must make peace with her contrasting identity as a half-witch and half-mortal. She must use her supernatural powers to defend her family and the daylight world from looming threats.
About the series: Considered a spin-off of Riverdale (2017-2023), this Netflix series with a strong woman lead is based on the 2014 comic book series of the same name.
Image: Courtesy Chilling Adventures of Sabrina/ © Netflix/IMDb
Created by: Mindy Kaling, Lang Fisher
Cast: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, Poorna Jagannathan, Darren Barnet, Jaren Lewison
Synopsis: Devi Sishwakumar (Ramakrishnan) returns to school after grieving her father’s demise and is determined to get a boyfriend. She and her friends have a roller-coaster high school life and complicated relationships, while Devi and her mother, Nalini (Jagannathan), also make their way through their interpersonal differences as well as cultural differences as Indian-Americans.
Image: Never Have I Ever/ Photo by Lara Solanki – © 2022 Netflix, Inc./ IMDb
Created by: Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch
Cast: Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Marc Maron
Synopsis: Ruth Wilder (Brie) is a struggling actress in 1985 Los Angeles who makes it into a new women’s wrestling organisation called Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) along with 12 other women. However, she falls out with the director of the organisation, Sam Sylvia (Maron), for his work ethic and realises he has employed her once best friend Debbie Eagan (Gilpin), whom Ruth is forced to confront.
About the series: The show is loosely inspired by the real-life women’s wrestling show of the same name, which was held in the 1980s in Los Angeles. Many of the characters are modelled on real-life wrestlers from the era, and the creators were moved to take up the subject after they saw the 2012 documentary GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, says Business Insider.
Awards won: The show has won three Primetime Emmy Awards before the fourth and final season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Image: Courtesy GLOW/ Photo by Erica Parise/Netflix/ IMDb
Created by: Rachel Shukert
Cast: Sophie Grace, Malia Baker, Momona Tamada, Shay Rudolph
Synopsis: A bunch of pre-teenagers, with their distinct style, fashion choices and personal issues, share a strong bond. Together, they decide to start a babysitting business in the neighbourhood.
About the series: The light-hearted Netflix comedy show is an adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s book series of the same name, released in 1992. The series has received a 100 per cent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Image: Courtesy The Baby-Sitters Club/ IMDb
Created by: Álex Pina
Cast: Pedro Alonso, Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Enrique Arce, Alba Flores
Synopsis: The Professor (Morte) hatches a genius master plan to pull off a heist at the Royal Mint of Spain. For this, he builds a team of outstanding individuals with a past of their own and gives them nicknames of cities. And, just when the group thinks that things are fine, they are forced to take down the Bank of Spain.
About the series: The Spanish series became a massive rage and has given rise to several spinoffs, including a Korean version and another named Berlin. The latter traces the life and journey of this pivotal character (Alonso) and is slated to roll out on 29 December 2023. Money Heist also has great portrayals of strong women, too. Whether it is Tokyo’s (Corberó) ultimate sacrifice, Nairobi’s (Flores) leadership against all the men or Lisbon’s (Ituño) determination to stand by the group when she is taken in, shows the strong personality each character holds.
Image: Courtesy Money Heist/ IMDb
(Hero Image: Courtesy Never Have I Ever/ Photo by Courtesy Of Netflix – © 2023 Netflix, Inc./ IMDb; Feature image: Courtesy The Crown/ Photo by Des Willie/Des Willie/Netflix – © Netflix 2020, Inc/ IMDb)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– What is a good girly series to watch on Netflix?
Some girly series to watch on Netflix include Never Have I Ever (2020-2023), Cooking With Paris (2021), Love Is Blind (2020-) and Hidden Love (2023-)
– Is there any Netflix series with four female leads?
Women At War (2022) is a wonderful Netflix show featuring four women in 1914 France whose circumstances forced them to participate in the ongoing World War as German troops advance. It is created by Camille Treiner and Cécile Lorne.
– Should I watch Good Girls?
Good Girls is a hearty comedy show on Netflix where three women, frustrated with their lives, pull off a robbery at the local grocery store. What happens next makes the show delightful to watch.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India