Sponsored by ‘Outsiders’ on WGNA

Women are on the rise. They’re doing it in the real world and the fruits of their labor are finally receiving representation in the entertainment industry.

In the 80s and 90s, strong female characters like Murphy Brown and Roseanne were few and far between and women in powerful roles were labeled as ball-busters. Now, sophisticated leading roles for women are more common and thanks to producers like Shonda Rhimes and Jenji Kohan the opportunities are increasing.

Today’s female television characters are no June Cleavers. They are women with grit and poise, full of rich nuances and contradictions. In no particular order, here’s a list of some of television’s most empowering women.

1. G’Win, “Outsiders”

Mountain woman G’Winveer has true grit. Once the “healer” of an off-the-grid community, G’Win finds herself coming into a new, more powerful role. After a series of political struggles, this fearless rogue is next in line to lead her people. The fearless matriarch-to-be curb stomps gender norms and makes masses of bruting men fall in line.

2. Emily Gilmore, “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life”

When we rejoin Emily in the Netflix remake, “Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life,” the family matriarch is grieving the loss of her recently departed husband. For the first time in 52 years, Emily is without her partner and learning to live on her own. She leaves the life she’d always known behind and fights like hell to come out on the other side of grief a stronger and more powerful woman who is capable of finding happiness in solitude.

3. Daenerys Targaryen, “Game of Thrones”

Daenerys Stormborn of the House Targaryen, First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons. If that extended title doesn’t scream, “I’m the mf’ing boss,”?—?nothing does. Dany has traveled far and fought hard. She’s rallied her troops and is growing her army to take back her rightful place on the throne. And no man or beast can stop her.

4. Selina Meyer, “Veep”

Meyer puts out political fires like a boss and has been sworn in as president twice after previous, less-than presidents were forced to resign. She manages her private and personal life with flair and is an outstanding example of female leadership.

5. Leslie Knope, “Parks and Recreation”

Leslie Knope works hard. To say she’s passionate about her job as Deputy Director of the Pawnee City Department of Parks and Recreation is an understatement. Her eye is always on the prize and her uncompromising nature means that she always gets what she wants.

6. Ernestine, “Underground”

Ernestine was the head slave at the Macon plantation. After having an affair with the plantation owner, she bore two children, Rosalee and James. In a turn of events, the fierce underdog kills off her owner. *slow clap*

7. Annalise Keating, “How to Get Away with Murder”

Annalise puts on a tough front but don’t mistake her bold moves as heartless. She fights hard to protect her loved ones, even if it means putting herself on the line. Her undying loyalty to the Keating five proves she’s not heartless, she’s just willing to do whatever it takes.

8. Alicia Florrick, “The Good Wife”

Time and time again Alicia Florrick proved to be so much more than just a good wife. She pushed through a public scandal by returning to her career as a high-powered litigator and cared for her two, teenage children all the while. Eventually she got the credit she deserved and gained a reputation as a can-do woman with a whip-smart mind.

9. Galina “Red” Reznikov, “Orange Is The New Black”

The Head Chef of the Litchfield prison leads a group known as ‘Red’s Girls.’ She’s a cold Russian grandmother with an iron fist, but she only uses it to protect her flock. She is a judicious mastermind who knows how to game the system in order to get her girls what they deserve. Red is the kind of woman you’d want in your corner.

Tune in to WGN America on January 24 to watch G’win’s ascendency during Season 2 of Outsiders!