For this year’s Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we pledge to ‘Choose to Challenge’. Celebrate with these empowering tracks while we challenge the status quo and encourage more women to break the barriers and create a more gender-equal world. Sing your hearts out because this is our month, ladies!
Respect by Aretha Franklin is a confident declaration of what women really want from this society: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. This groundbreaking 1967 track is as relevant today as when it was released making it still one of the most streamed feminist anthems of today.
Find out what it means to me”
Bo$$ by Fifth Harmony encourages women to be independent by being their own boss. In this track which also inspires women to own and share their confident and strong selves, successful ladies such as Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey were mentioned.
“Working for the money ’cause that’s what my momma taught me
So yo ass better show me some respect”
The Man by Taylor Swift calls out the double standards women have to struggle with constantly. This track from Swift’s album Lover also comes with a compelling music video that challenges gender stereotypes from start to finish.
“I’m so sick of running as fast I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man”
Confident by Demi Lovato motivates women to feel proud and great about themselves. When Lovato wrote the song, she was in the process of trying to overcome self-image and body issues, and this track was the result of her journey to self-acceptance.
“I used to hold my freak back
Now I’m letting go
I make my own choice
Bitch, I run this show”
9 to 5 by Dolly Parton talks about gender inequality and patriarchy in the workplace. This 1980s hit track also commemorates working women and has remained a relevant female worker’s anthem since its release.
“Yeah, 5 to 9 you’ve got passion and a vision
‘Cause it’s hustlin’ time, a whole new way to make a livin’
Gonna change your life, do somethin’ that gives it meanin’”
Don’t Call Me Angel by Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, and Lana Del Rey is a collaboration theme song made for the new Charlie’s Angels film. This powerful track, sung by three of the most influential pop singers in today’s industry, emphasizes that women can steer away from the conventional “good girl” persona which has been imposed upon them ever since.
“See you here with somebody
You sizin’ up my body, oh yeah
Don’t you know that I bite when the sun set? Yeah
So don’t you try come around me”
You Don’t Own Me by Lesley Gore is a reminder to the world that women should be in charge of their own body and life choices. This 1963 hit is a timeless classic that aims to boost female independence.
“Don’t try to change me in any way
You don’t own me
Don’t tie me down ’cause I’d never stay”
Tomboy by Princess Nokia honors women who don’t conform to traditional feminine gender roles and standards. Nokia wrote this track as a celebration of accepting her flaws and owning her sexuality, and at the same time to give a middle finger to the conventional image imposed on women.
“You come to my party, you gon’ meet my army
A room full of girls and we actin’ real rowdy”
Salute by Little Mix is a call to action for women to stand up in solidarity against misogyny and patriarchy. Armed with military metaphors and battle cries, this track engages women everywhere to not be afraid to make their own decisions and create their own identity without a man controlling them.
“Don’t need ammunition, on a mission
And we’ll hit you with the truth
Divas, Queens, we don’t need no man, salute”
Just a Girl by No Doubt is a 1990s track that serves as a satirical critique to the typical male chauvinist notion that women should be protected and sheltered at all times. Written by Gwen Stefani after her father reprimanded her for a late-night drive to a bandmate’s house, this track quickly rose to fame due to its sentiments being echoed by other women around the world.
“Oh, I’m just a girl, pretty and petite
So don’t let me have any rights
Oh, I’ve had it up to here”
Q.U.E.E.N. by Janelle Monáe (feat. Erykah Badu), which stands for “Queer, Untouchable, Emigrants, Excommunicated, and Negroid,” focuses on the empowerment of oppressed women from different marginalised groups. In this funky jam, the power duo brings forth the misconceptions, inequality, and negative stereotypes that these groups of women have to face day by day.
“Even if it makes other uncomfortable
I will love who I am”
Good as Hell by Lizzo is a self-love anthem packed with a music video of a posse of ladies celebrating together and being done with trashy people who take them for granted.
“Woo girl, need to kick off your shoes
Got to take a deep breath, time to focus on you
All the big fights, long nights that you been through
I got a bottle of Tequila I been saving for you”
Part of Me by Katy Perry narrates a toxic relationship involving a controlling man who always keeps the woman down. This power-pop track then continues to go into the post-breakup process where the female protagonist remains to be strong and unbreakable despite the things she went through in the said relationship.
“Throw your sticks and your stones
Throw your bombs and your blows
But you’re not gonna break my soul”
Most Girls by Hailee Steinfield elevates all kinds of women, regardless of their differences. This track attempts to break the old societal habit of pitting women against each other, most especially the typical, tiring statement “you’re not like other girls.”
“Most girls are strong and smart and beautiful
Most girls work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
“Most girls: Our fight to make everyday, no two are the same”
U.N.I.T.Y. by Queen Latifah speaks out against the disrespectful acts women receive from abusive people in society. This Grammy Award-winning track addresses serious issues that almost every woman faces, such as sexual harassment on the streets and domestic violence.
“And nothing good gon’ come to ya til you do right by me
Brother you wait and see (Who you callin’ a bitch? Uh !)”
Woman by Kesha (feat. The Dap-King Horns) is a funk-filled pop track that embraces the best qualities of being a woman, like independence and self-sufficiency. Written by Kesha due to her rage against Donald Trump’s controversial pussy-grabbing remark in 2017, this anthem is perfect when one just feels like screaming from the top of their lungs: “I’m a motherfucking woman!”
“Don’t buy me a drink, I make my money
Don’t touch my weave, don’t call me “honey”
’Cause I run my shit, baby”
Hey Girl by Lady Gaga and Florence Welsh promotes the idea of women coming together, lifting each other up, and having each other’s backs. This track, written by the dynamic duo, also serves as a clapback to the sexist stigma of pitting successful women against each other.
“Lady is it lonely? I been calling out your name
Tell me that you need me, ‘cause I need you just the same”
Run the World (Girls) by Beyoncé is a pretty self-explanatory feminist bop which answers the question: “Who runs the world?” Of course, it’s us—GIRLS.
Can build a nation
With our love we can devour”
Happy International Women’s Day!