12 Films With Strong Career Women Who Inspire You To Be Your Best Self

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12 movies to watch
10 min read

Films are a great way to relax and unwind, but they are also a really important way to connect, learn, and get inspired. Hundreds of career movies are made about men and their jobs, but working women are not often portrayed by big media companies. 

Not only are films a great way to inspire, but they also function as a fun and informative tool to teach the young girls some major life lessons. When you see strong female characters in movies on-screen doing something that you aspire to do in your life, it gives you the motivation and confidence to keep working on yourself. 

Here is a list of brilliant career oriented movies starring strong female characters, for all the young women out there, looking for inspiration and confidence to become strong career women.

Movies About Independent Women

The Devil Wears Prada 

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A classic film that everyone has heard of, The Devil Wears Prada is the adaptation of a book with the same name. On the surface, it might seem like a fun film full of fashion and fabulous women, but at its core, it is so much more. It is about women building their careers with the help of sisterhood. There are women at the top of their game and women who are just starting out, those who keep toiling despite obstacles, and of course, the men who just can’t leave behind the patriarchal structure. One of the best women centric movies.

Mardaani 

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We’ve seen loads of men in a police uniform, from Singham to Dabangg. But how many police women have we seen on the big screen? Mardaani is not just another light-hearted flick with jokes galore. This is a hard-hitting and gorgeous piece of cinema that goes into a lot of deep-rooted issues and systematic crimes in the country. The protagonist is a strong, shockingly fierce, and determined career-woman who makes you want to aim to be the best as well. 

Legally Blonde 

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This is a brilliant film whose protagonist challenges the patriarchy while stepping through life in hot pink stilettos. Gender-based and appearance-based discrimination are rampant throughout the world, and the job markets are no different. This revolutionary film sneaks into movie-night bucket lists in the guise of a light-hearted chick-flick, but the meat of the story is about a woman with an unshakable work ethic, self-confidence, and the courage to take on the world. 

Tumhari Sulu 

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If slice-of-life is your cup of tea, Tumhari Sulu is the perfect film to watch. The story follows the life of a simple home-maker who turns her household upside down by taking on the role of a radio jockey. Full of laughter and tears, the film promises to take you on a wholesome journey. Working women in Indian households often face impossible choices and unsupportive families. This movie about an independent Indian woman takes you on a tour of all the pitfalls of that life. 

Kiki’s Delivery Service 

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Who can say no to flying broomsticks, a seaside town, and a female entrepreneur? This is a gorgeous anime film with beautiful visuals, a mesmerizing soundtrack, and lovable characters. Studio Ghibli regularly releases absolute bangers and Kiki has become a go-to for all those feeling down. A story of a young girl finding a new home, starting her own business, and making new friends, this slice-of-life film will make you feel all warm inside!

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The Proposal 

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What does it take to be a woman in a high position? Is it just her work ethic and expertise or does she need to have the respect of her juniors as well? If you enjoy romantic comedies but are tired of the sexist and misogynistic portrayal of women in those tales (I’m looking at you, The Ugly Truth), this is a great film to watch a woman in power. There are Hollywood films with some great female leads with promising careers, but the story always ends with marriage or kids. In this one, she is still the boss lady that she was at the beginning. Another inspirational movie about women and how they are capable of so much more in life.

Black Swan

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Want something tragic but without the ever-present male lead? Would you like to spend an evening watching something dark and spine-chilling but with a powerful female lead? Black Swan is the film for you! With gorgeous cinematography and gripping storytelling, Black Swan sneaks in with a young, aspiring dancer, and leaves you with a confident, leading dancer–plus a few other twists in the tale that are better explored with popcorn in hand. 

Chak De!

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A beloved film, often seen as one of the best films about Indian women in sports. Sportswomen in India are not afforded the same respect and adoration that men in sports enjoy. This film showcases some of the most career-focused women. They battle it out with the ever-present patriarchal structures, misogynistic men, and institutionalized sexism that is prevalent in India. 

Perfect Blue 

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We’ve all watched Hannah Montana aka Miley Cyrus growing up and going ‘wild.’ Before that we had Lindsey Lohan. Before that we had Britney Spears. And so on it goes. The life of a pop star is not as easy as the bright lights might suggest. This gorgeously drawn and animated film follows the roller coaster of a pop star’s life. If you are a fan of psychological thrillers and women working with media, this is the perfect film for your late-night binge list.

Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl

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If you are looking for some action, the perfect film to get your adrenaline pumping is Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl. Recently released, the film took inspiration to a new level. There are some career paths that are often closed to women for various reasons. Some families do not want their daughters to take on a masculine role. Some jobs just do not have space for growth when it comes to women. This film is a blast of inspiration for all those women who want to take over any such job descriptions. If you’re dreaming of that defence forces life, this is the film to watch.

Mona Lisa Smile 

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Gender biases, norms, sexism, and misogyny are all taught to young girls in school and at educational institutions. Mona Lisa Smile is an absolutely phenomenal piece of work that follows the life of one teacher who wants to change the status quo from the ground up. Being a teacher is a job that most women are allowed to have. However, being a teacher and being a good teacher are two different games altogether! Mona Lisa Smile offers you a ride into the gamut of human emotions with its witty portrayal of women in education. 

Page 3 

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A nail-biter straight from the Bollywood bigwigs, Page 3 is a brilliant depiction of women in journalism in India. The film goes through ups and downs and takes you along for the ride. The protagonist is a dedicated, confident young woman who is taking on the topsy-turvy world of Indian politics and the media circus. Crimes, scandals, romance all come crashing together in a brilliant iteration of lights, camera, action feat. a strong career woman in this film!

There are other brilliant women-centric shows and films that talk about women in power, women who fight against the injustices of the world, and women who rock at their jobs. All we need now is to boost the visibility of these films. There are stories out there that just need to be read!

Every woman sitting at home can watch, learn, and grow with these gorgeous and captivating work related movies.. Which ones are your favorites? Tell us in the comments below!

Updated 17 September 2021

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Prerna is an avid writer and procrastination enthusiast. She likes to hang out with books but being social is a skill she has yet to master. A student of literature and creative writing, Prerna loves meandering over diverse themes, polishing her creative processes, and finding trivia that might one day turn into a story. Travel and literature are very high on her list of things she likes to write about. She keeps wanting to write poignant articles about anime but is often distracted by other anime.

1 COMMENT

  1. I am in awe of these movies. I have watched almost all of them. And yes. There are many more movies that show women taking their career seriously. Would love to share them across with you.

    1. The Intern – This movie is not just about a 60 year old retired person getting back to work to find himself a routine but also about a woman who is the founder of a company and a demanding workaholic. It’s a must watch for every one who wants to understand how to balance things between work and work.

    2. Erin Brockovich – A real life story of a woman who single handedly brought down the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company to their knees saving a lot of lives from Chromium poisoning.

    3. Raatchasi (Tamil) – A movie which shows the conviction needed to run a school. She plays the role of the headmistress of a poorly run school and turns it into one of the best ones.

    4. Anandi Gopal (Marathi) – A biopic of the first ever woman doctor of our country.

    5. Autorsha (Malayalam) – A story of a woman who learns a lot about life working as an Auto Rickshaw driver.

    6. Dhunki (Gujrati) – A story which revolves around two people, one who loves to cook and the other who loves to code who come together for a startup – a food app. It depicts all the struggles a working woman goes through to come up with her own start up.

    7. Miss India (Telugu) – A story about an Indian girl who went all the way to the US to introduce them to the taste we love the most – Chai. This movie shows the journey of a woman entrepreneur.

    There are many more of them. It’s just a matter of how we look at them.

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