25 Female-Driven Movies That Will Make You Feel Better About The Future Of All Womankind

It is so easy to feel discouraged by everything that's going on in the world. This weekend is the March for Choice in Dublin, and there will be similar events around the world in support of Irish women's rights. While it's inspiring to see people taking to the streets to demand equality, it's also a reminder that we're still not afforded the luxury of control over our own bodies. At times like these we need a serious pep talk. Watch the films below and get 25!

1. Dangerous Minds

Michelle Pfeiffer is getting a divorce and needs a job. This actually seems to be the premise of most female teacher movies (as you'll see later on). She goes into a disadvantaged school and, you guessed it, fixes racism. I can't help it, I love this movie so much. At first the students don't like her but then she gains their respect by treating them as equals and also...using song lyrics to teach them about poetry. But hey, it works!

2. Freedom Writers

Hilary Swank is not getting a divorce, but she is a middle class white woman who really wants to teach in disadvantaged schools. So many people try to persuade her to back to the "nice part of town" but she is determined. Once again, the students don't really respect her at the beginning. In the end she gets through to them through the story of the Holocaust. It seems really random, but talking about how these Jewish kids were sent to concentration camps or hidden in attics actually resonates with some 21st century kids living in a rough neighbourhood where their lives are on the line every day.

3. Hunger Games

These movies may be "young adult" but the trend towards strong female teenage role models is so wonderful that people from all ages can benefit. Katniss is just trying to survive in a really harsh post-apocalyptic society. What's great about her is that she doesn't want to be a hero, or to lead a rebellion, or even to be in a relationship. She just does what is necessary to protect her family and that puts her in an unexpected leadership role. She has many flaws, makes a lot of mistakes, and that just makes you like her even more. The best part is that she's in the middle of a love triangle and barely notices.

4. Divergent

Another "young adult" series that could inspire more "old adult" movies to cast kick-ass women in starring roles. In some ways, Divergent is even better than the Hunger Games because there isn't a stupid love triangle, just one guy who is obsessed with Tris. She likes him and all but, once again, she's in the middle of a rebellion and that's her number one priority. There are also some really cool twists in the story line, and some other incredibly tough female characters to be inspired by.

5. The Blind Side

I actually had to remove a bunch of movies from this list because it was beginning to feel like an "X amazing Sandra Bullock movies" list. The two main characters in The Blind Side are a black teenage guy and a middle-aged white woman. The plot develops around their unusual friendship and how it changes them both for the better. Sandra is so fierce in this movie. In some ways she gets to play the boss-man role where she just makes demands and expects them to be followed out. Instead of thinking of her as bossy we just watch her in awe and make notes on how to be assertive in our own lives. It helps that her family love and respect her so much.

6. Legally Blonde

What a movie. What a character. What a time to be alive. Asking people if they like Legally Blonde is basically the ultimate test. It's easy to see the vibrant pink movie art and think "lame" without giving it a second look. But there are so many layers to the "Woods, comma, Elle" story. Where do we even begin? How about a rivalry between two women over a man who ultimately become friends and ditch the useless guy altogether? Or a woman who wears pink unapologetically and still wipes the floor with her opponents in the courtroom? Just the fact that everyone assumes Elle is a bimbo and makes jokes at her expense, only to be responded to with kindness and friendliness is enough to make us worship the ground Ms Woods walks on.

7. 10 Things I Hate About You

Oh Heath, you were taken from us too soon. This movie made us fall in love with the Australian heartthrob for the first time. But Bianca, the completely out and proud feminist protagonist, made us fall in love with strong female role models. When most of us first watched this movie, a lot of Bianca's comments probably went completely over our heads. I just remember wondering why she was always so mad at Heath, and wanting her to be with him! But when you watch it again as an adult you can truly appreciate every aspect of her badass persona. She complains in school about not getting to study enough female literature, makes fun of the Mr Popular jock character when he thinks he deserves attention just for being good looking, and refuses to care what anyone at school thinks of her. What a change from most 90s high school movies, right?

8. Erin Brockovich

This is basically the movie I use for reference when I'm trying to find other "social dramas with strong female leads" to watch. She is another character who was never really trying to be a hero. She was just trying to make ends meet and keep her family safe. She has some romances, but they are never the central part of her story. Instead, she gets work with a small law firm and uses her compassion and resilience to help the little guy beat a huge corporation.

9. Mona Lisa Smile

Okay, woops, it's another Julia Roberts film. But, can you blame me? She gets all the good roles! More importantly, this film has an incredible female cast. There are about two male characters and I can't remember either of their names. Julia plays a teacher (yes, I do love this movie category) at an elite women's finishing school. The women in her class are incredibly intelligent, but they mostly want a degree so that they can be an asset to their husbands. As Julia teaches them how to really love and appreciate art, we get so many different reactions from the women. Some still want to get married, others want to be loose and fancy free, while others want to follow in Julia's footsteps and focus on their education. This is feminism. Making sure everyone has the chance to make their own decisions about their lives and then supporting them no matter what they choose.

10. Hidden Figures

If this film doesn't rock your world then maybe you secretly hate women. The ladies in this film take so much shit from everyone if makes you wonder how they have the motivation to keep coming to work every day. But they do, and they literally change the course of history. I don't know which parts of the movie are factual but I hope it's EVERY PART. The three main characters are all pushing the boundaries in their own different ways, and you're rooting so hard for them to succeed that it's almost hard to relax and just enjoy the film.

11. Bridesmaids

The theme of this film is something I can completely relate to - friendship envy. Chances are if we are friends and you are reading this article, I have at some point seen you with pictures of other people and felt like you were betraying our friendship. Sorry, not sorry. This movie is proof that you can have a hilarious and extremely popular film with mostly women. It seems like we shouldn't still have to prove this kind of thing, but that's the way it is. The cast is mainly SNL women and they are led by the wonderful Kristen Wiig.

12. Working Girl

Amazing 80s film about Melanie Griffith trying to become a career woman. Harrison Ford is extremely sexy in it, however unfeminist that might be to say, and Sigourney Weaver is the perfect villain. To top it all off, Carly Simon wrote the theme song and it will inspire you to move to New York and get a job in an office. Let the river run.

13. Music of the Heart

What's this, another movie about a female teacher? Whatever, it's time for you guys to accept me as I am. Meryl Streep is getting a divorce and needs to find a teaching job (sound familiar). She's an incredible violinist so she uses those skills to prove to the school board that children of low income families can learn a classical instrument, and that the discipline required will help them in many other aspects of their lives. There are a bunch of tear-jerker moments, inspirational music scenes, and cameos from world famous classical musicians.

14. Sister Act 2

Maybe you have seen the first movie and loved it, but I'm telling you, this one is better. Dolores comes back to help out her nun pals who are now working as teachers in a disadvantaged school (that's right, it's about teaching again). She teaches a music class and forms a school choir so that the kids can compete in a national competition, win some prize money and feel a sense of pride that is missing from their lives. The one and only Lauryn Hill plays one of the troubled teens, and just getting to hear her sing is enough of a reason to watch the movie.

15. Little Women

Clare Danes,Winona Ryder, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon...need anymore incentive? When their father goes off to fight in the war it's up to the women of the family to fend for themselves. Most of the film focuses on the dynamics of this female-dominated family, as they get into fights, go to parties, and fall in love. If you don't love Jo then you'll find another sister to relate to. Spoiler: Amy is a little brat and potentially a pyromaniac.

16. Mermaids

Winona Ryder again, playing a very melodramatic American teenager, with Christina Ricci as her adorable little sister, and Cher as the goddess matriarch of the family. Winona deals with her inferiority complex and resentment towards her beautiful mother, while Christina just wanders around having the time of her life. Find the theme song on Youtube, performed by none other than Cher herself.

17. How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Kate Hudson can basically do no wrong in my eyes, especially when she's playing a glamorous magazine writer who always looks incredible and gets hit on by the hottest bachelors in New York. Sure, the premise of this movie revolves around how to drive a man away, but at the same time it points out a bunch of stereotypes about male-female relationship dynamics that we just take for granted. Why are women considered crazy when they get a bit emotional or, heaven forbid, actually act like they like the guy they're seeing? Also, Kate looks like a goddess in the yellow dress and the "Isadora" diamond.

18. How to Marry a Millionaire

If you've ever seen Heartbreakers then this is the vintage equivalent. Three women, including Marilyn Monroe, vow to find rich husbands and to settle for nothing less. They get up to all sorts of shenanigans as they find ways to pretend they are wealthy so that the men they meet don't feel like they're being hunted. The women are very different in character, and manage to be completely poised and graceful while also being hilarious! Talk about the perfect combo. Also, if you wear glasses you will appreciate Marilyn's attempts to navigate around the city without wearing them because "Men aren't attentive to girls who wear glasses."

19. Mulan

She might be a cartoon character but she's a damned inspirational one. There's a minor romance going on, but we all know the most important thing is for Mulan to hide her identity from the other soldiers and SAVE ALL OF CHINA. Big ambition, but we know from the opening credits that this lady can handle it. And you can love the song "Be a man" and still be a feminist. I swear.

20. Private Benjamin

Goldie Hawn is such a comedic actress, it seems unfair that she gets to be incredibly beautiful too. In this movie she begins by relying on men and always wants to be married, until she sort of accidentally joins the US army and learns what it means to be independent and take control of your own destiny. Or, at least, she learns to take orders that will help protect America from foreign powers instead of just taking orders to please her husband. Whatever, she kicks ass.

21. Jane Eyre

Probably my favourite book of all time, but has also been made into several great movies and BBC series'. I would recommend the 2006 mini-series and the 2011 movie. Jane is treated really badly as a child and the great thing is that she doesn't just take it quietly. She is very vocal to her tormentors about how awful they are, unlike some of the more shy and retiring heroines of that time period. When a guy seems to be jerking her around she gives such a powerful speech that you might want to write it down for future use.

22. The Last Holiday

Maybe a strange choice, but Queen Latifah is my role model. In this movie she plays a ordinary women who gets told she has a terminal illness. She decides to take all her savings and go on the extravagant holiday of her dreams before kicking the bucket. It sounds very basic, but she's just really nice throughout the whole movie. Everyone she meets absolutely adores her because she shows the same respect to dowagers as she does to bin men. Not to mention, she's a fricken hilarious actress so you know there will be some shenanigans.

23. A League of Their Own

You only realise how rare it is to see a movie with a majority female cast when you watch something like this. The men are away fighting in WWII, so women finally get the chance to be a part of major league baseball. Gena Davis deals with missing her husband, the pressures of being the star of the team, and trying to ease tensions with her jealous sister, while Tom Hanks gets drunk at the back of the bus. What makes every scene more emotional is the fact that it's based on a true story. The female athletes prove that you can do anything you set your mind to, on and off the field, and you might even spot Madonna running around back there.

24. The First Wives Club

I can't believe I almost forgot this one. It's the kind of feel-good, lady-power movie I could watch over and over again. Three middle-aged women are ditched by their husbands for younger women and they decide it's time to get some payback. Sure, that makes it sound like the entire focus is on men. But your favourite parts of the film will be how Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton's characters become closer friends throughout the process, and decide they want to help all women instead of just themselves. Talk about sisterhood.

25. Ghostbusters

Asking the question "Who are you going to call?" and having the answer be "Four women" is almost enough to make this movie crazy feminist. But the characters are so lovable and funny and intelligent, and the male secretary is a bimbo, and now little girls are going to dress as ghostbusters for Halloween...I don't know guys, it seems almost too good to be true. You will laugh till you cry, and maybe some of those tears will just be from getting to see a group of women save the world from a ghost apocalypse.

If you're not obsessed with any of these movies then we can't be friends. That's just a cold hard fact.