Female-­Lead TV Shows Worth Binge-­Watching Right Now

by Sherah Ndjongo

Hollywood is no stranger to being held under fire for its lack of gender diversity in television. In fact, many have started to question why the percentage of women on camera has only increased four percent from 1997 to today or why only 23% of creators are women, which are only a couple examples of the hundreds of statistics that have brought this issue to light. However, despite television's faults with gender diversity, there are more women in lead roles than there has ever been before. To learn about a nice selection of distinct and elaborate women-lead series available in various easily accessible platforms, continue reading.

"Jane the Virgin"

Not only is "Jane the Virgin" hilarious, but it has Golden Globe Award­-winning actress Gina Rodriguez as the lead alongside an incredibly talented diverse cast. Based on a Latin­-American soap opera called Juana la Virgen, the narrative of this series revolves around a hard­ working young woman who becomes pregnant after an unexpected accident at the doctor’s office.  As Jane’s story unfolds, the storyline gets increasingly complex by the minute, but it still fails to be uninteresting or predictable. If you ever have free time, check out "Jane the Virgin" for a few laughs and a Latin telenovela feel. 

"The Mindy Project"

It's not too common for a romantic sitcom to have a regular diverse cast, let alone star a smart, sassy, and funny leading lady who also happens to be a woman of color. We're lucky to have been gifted with "The Mindy Project" on Hulu. Mindy Kaling, who writes, produces, and stars in this original comedy series, isn’t afraid to tackle topics such as being a successful woman in a male­-dominated field, which makes it even more nuanced and layered. In the end, one huge reason behind what makes "The Mindy Project" a must-­see show is its unapologetically confident leading character. 

"Marvel's Jessica Jones"

This Marvel production became an instant hit when it first premiered on Netflix in late 2015, and a huge part of its success is its noir former heroine, Jessica Jones, portrayed by Krysten Ritter. This 13­-episode drama series captivates audiences with its titular protagonist deviates from the typical superhero archetype, exhibiting flaws, suffering from abuse, and dealing with post- traumatic stress disorder. In addition to this relatable female lead is a supporting cast made up of quite a few equally independent and fierce women, which is all the more reason to give “Jessica Jones” a view on Netflix.

"How to Get Away with Murder"

Viola Davis made history when she became the first African-­American woman to take home an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, which is indicative of how her performance as the dangerously brilliant and unreadable criminal law professor named Annalise Keating steals the critically acclaimed show. “How to Get Away With Murder” is a prime example of a universally praised series that has quite a high number of powerful, developed, and intricate female characters and blends together elements of mystery and legal drama with unique and shocking twists. 

"Orange is the New Black"

This Netflix favorite is on the fast track to becoming a feminist television classic for how it challenges the mainstream media’s representation of women in a way that has never really been done before. This show is based on the memoirs of Piper Kerman who, after serving 13 months for drug trafficking and money laundering, becomes an activist campaigning for the rights of the 200,000 female prisoners, primarily women of color, who are incarcerated in the United States. It places a huge emphasis on character development rather than focusing entirely on the plot while it simultaneously raises the voices belonging to women that often go ignored or unheard. This fact alone makes "Orange is the New Black" a series you won’t ever regret watching. 


Scandal is one of those rare TV shows that makes you addicted to it after watching just a single episode. Kerry Washington portrays a former White House Director of Communications and one of D.C.'s most respected "fixers” called Olivia Pope who, as a commanding and complicated female lead, is the driving force of the show. The series observes the professional and personal mishaps of the incredibly bright and charismatic Pope. Overall, you can call “Scandal” anything you want, but you can never call it anything less than compelling.

Hollywood has a large gender diversity problem that should definitely be paid more attention to. However, it’s always a good idea to start tackling this issue firsthand by recognizing the diverse game-­changing television shows with influential female lead characters we have today.



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