Country music is a genre unlike any other, and the women of country are especially amazing. Talented musicians and skilled storytellers, they craft entire worlds in their songs. Sometimes they’re catchy breakup anthems, while other times they’re bound to make us cry. Either way, the women of country music are an amazing group that’s always getting bigger and stronger.
Many of the women in country music are also very into girl power. Whether they actively express their political beliefs or not, there are tons of country songs dedicated to gender equality, men treating women with respect, and girls being who they want to be. Some of these songs are serious, while others make you want to get up and dance. No matter what though, these songs carry awesome feminist messages that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
16. “She’s Not Just a Pretty Face” – Shania Twain
Shania Twain is one of the most successful recording artists of all time, and she’s also a strong woman who knows what she wants. At the peak of her fame, she used her music to make important statements about female empowerment, particularly with this song. In “She’s Not Just a Pretty Face,” Shania calls out women working in many different fields, applauding them all for being strong and capable. Shania is gorgeous, but it’s her music and the message behind it that really matters. This song also makes us all want to be astronauts.
15. “Phenomenal Woman” – Olivia Newton-John
You probably know Olivia Newton-John as Sandy from the Grease, but she’s also had a long and successful recording career. The Australian star has skated between pop and country, slaying both effortlessly. Her 2005 song “Phenomenal Woman” is all about how amazing it is to be a woman, and you can tell Olivia is really feeling it. In fact, her whole album Stronger Than Before is dedicated to inspiring women after winning her battle with breast cancer. It’s powerful to listen to a lady who has withstood so much and still came out on top.
14. “Wide Open Spaces” – The Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks have never been afraid to speak their minds, but more on that a little later. In this song from 1998, the group sings about a daughter leaving home to explore all the possibilities for her life. “She needs wide open spaces, room to make her big mistakes.” The song is incredibly catchy, and it carries an important message about how sometimes you need the freedom to figure out who you really are. The song’s lyrics really hit home with the group’s teenage fans, and was a huge hit for them.
13. “Pageant Material” – Kacey Musgraves
Not everyone has the same idea of what’s beautiful, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In her song “Pageant Material,” Kacey Musgraves sings about the importance of not changing yourself to fit with what others want. She shows that it’s okay to be a little rough around the edges, as long as you stay true to yourself. The song also makes some pointed commentary about the pageant system, which has some deeply ingrained sexist problems. Kacey’s right, she probably can’t make world peace happen while wearing a swimsuit.
12. “I’m a Survivor” – Reba McEntire
If you’re a fan of Reba, this one should be familiar. “I’m a Survivor” was originally a new song on one of Reba McEntire’s greatest hits album, but it ended up also being used as the theme song for her show. The song tells the story of a premature baby who nearly died, but survived and went on to become a single mother. Reba is an artist with a talent for telling stories in her songs, and this anthem about being too tough to ever give up is no exception. There’s something so perfect about the image of “gentle hands and the heart of a fighter” that just makes us want to cry.
11. “Gunpowder and Lead” – Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert is definitely one of the most badass women in country, and this song shows why. In “Gunpowder and Lead,” Miranda sings about how she’s waiting at home for her abusive partner with a loaded shotgun. For this song, she was inspired by her parents, both of whom were private investigators who would take in women who had been abused. Countless women struggle with abusive relationships, and this country jam is packed with strength and determination to get out of a bad situation. A gunshot goes off at the end of the song, but it’s left to our imagination what actually went down.
10. “Guys Do It All The Time” – Mindy McCready
Mindy McCready was one of the brightest country stars of the ’90s, but her story took a sad turn after her early success. She long suffered from depression before ultimately committing suicide in 2013. Despite the sad end to her story, her music is still pretty empowering. In this song, she pokes fun at the idea that men and women are looked at differently for doing the same things. So what if she wants to watch sports and go out drinking with her friends? It’s a shame that Mindy isn’t still around, but at least we have her music to remember her by.
9. “This One’s For the Girls” – Martina McBride
Everyone loves Martina McBride, and this is one of her classic girl power anthems. She encourages women to “dream with everything they have,” and the message is personal for her. The video features her two oldest daughters, and she urges them to power through the hard times and conquer the world. There are numerous other women of all ages in the video, including Martina’s good friend Faith Hill. It’s fun to see so many faces just having a great time together, and the message of the song is definitely something we can all get behind. Why aren’t there more songs like this?
8. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” – Shania Twain
Shania’s second song on this list is just as feminist, but a little less serious. Even from the title, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” is an epically fun song about letting it all hang out. She just wants to have a good time, and we have a feeling she’s not letting anything get in her way. The song clearly struck a chord with lots of people, going platinum and winning a Grammy in 2000. Let’s go, girls!