20 Inspirational Songs for Women

Aretha Franklin

Songs possess the power to inspire. As a result, it is natural for people to look to them in times of need. That is particularly true because women have penned a wide range of inspirational songs, meaning something is sure to resonate with interested individuals.

Here is our opinion on 20 of the best inspirational songs for women:

20. “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift

“Shake It Off” remains one of Taylor Swift’s catchiest singles. Moreover, it is notable because it signaled her transition from country to pop. Besides these things, “Shake It Off” is an excellent choice for interested individuals because it is all about the viewpoint character doing what she wants to do regardless of the issues that run into her.

19. “Gaslighter” – The Chicks

The Chicks took 14 years to release their eighth studio album Gaslighter. When it came out, it met with an enthusiastic response. Partly, that was because of the title track, which is scathing in its condemnation.

Some believe it is about lead vocalist Natalie Maines’s ex-husband Adrian Pasdar. Others suspect more political sources of inspiration. Of course, there is no reason to choose between the two when songs can be multi-layered.

18. “Born This Way” – Lady Gaga

“Born This Way” encourages people to accept themselves rather than feel compelled to change to fit someone else’s notion of who they should be. It is famous for being an anthem of the LGBTQ+ community. However, “Born This Way” was always written to make it easy for everyone to identify with the song.

17. “Good As Hell” – Lizzo

Self-doubt is corrosive. As a result, people feeling down and defeated should spend some time listening to “Good As Hell,” which more than lives up to its name. It isn’t the most sophisticated of songs, but it doesn’t need to be to make its point.

16. “Love Song” – Sara Bareilles

Amusingly, “Love Song” isn’t a love song. Instead, it is a barbed bit of passive-aggressiveness directed at the higher-ups at Sara Bareilles’s record label, who wanted her to write nothing but tame, radio-friendly fare. Spite might not be the most positive of emotions. Even so, the evidence suggests it can make a powerful motivator.

15. “This One’s For the Girls” – Martina McBride

Martina McBride intended “This One’s For the Girls” for women at various points. Specifically, she mentioned teenagers struggling with high school, young adults trying to figure out where they are going, and middle-aged women coming to terms with their age.

However, “This One’s For the Girls” uses those points to communicate its message of love and support, which was always meant to encompass every woman.

14. “Roar” – Katy Perry

Katy Perry has more than one song that can go on this list. One of the best would be “Roar,” a classic example of a self-empowerment song. After all, its viewpoint character starts as someone who stays silent because she is scared of making a fuss.

By the end, she can stand on her own, having discovered immense inner strength when pushed past her breaking point. The song is a bit cliched. Still, one should remember that the line between cliche and classic is paper-thin.

13. “Stronger” – Britney Spears

“Stronger” came from Britney Spears’s second studio album in 2000. For context, she was still singing teen pop in those days because Spears didn’t transition to a more mature sound until her third studio album in 2001.

Despite this, it is easy for people of all ages to connect with “Stronger” because it emphasizes the strength to stand on one’s own.

12. “Woman” – Kesha featuring the Dap-Kings Horns

Kesha released her first studio album in 2010 and her second studio album in 2012. Then, she took five years to release the follow-up Rainbow in 2017. That makes sense because Kesha had a rough time between these releases.

First, she had to check into a treatment center for various issues. Second, she sued her former record producer Dr. Luke, who she accused of sexual assault and abuse.

Still, “Woman” and the rest of Rainbow made it clear that Kesha had lost none of her hit-making skills because the release went straight to the top of the charts.

11. “Brave” – Sara Bareilles

“Brave” came out a bit before Katy Perry’s “Roar.” It is a very different song because the two women are very different artists. Despite this, they touched upon some of the same themes.

Primarily, “Brave” makes two points. One, people should be themselves. That is an oft-repeated message. Unfortunately, that is necessary because it is a rebuttal to a still-relevant issue. Two, the song says bravery is inspirational.

People who choose to be themselves can encourage others to follow in their footsteps, thus resulting in a virtuous cycle. Thanks to that, seemingly small choices can have far-reaching consequences.

10. “Unwritten” – Natasha Bedingfield

People shouldn’t forget their past. After all, it contains valuable lessons for those willing to study it. Sadly, people can do that to excess, thus getting dragged down by their doubts.

“Unwritten” is a rebuttal to that kind of thinking. It reminds the listener that the future remains unwritten, meaning it is up to them to make the most of things rather than let time steadily slip away from them while they are focused elsewhere.

That might seem obvious. Alas, it is too easy for us to get distracted by one thing or another.

9. “When the Heartache Is Over” – Tina Turner

Romantic relationships are tough. Some people are lucky enough to get everything right the first time around. In contrast, the rest of us have to muddle through things, meaning there is a real risk of encountering heartache.

It can be hard to end a romantic relationship. Even so, it is sometimes necessary because people need to look out for their well-being. “When the Heartache Is Over” sums up that attitude well.

It acknowledges the hurt but stresses that the viewpoint character will be alright in the end. As such, “When the Heartache Is Over” is a song of perseverance.

8. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor

Speaking of which, “I Will Survive” is similar to “When the Heartache Is Over.” However, its emotions feel rawer, which makes sense because its lyrics make it clear that a confrontation is happening.

Still, “I Will Survive” is no meek song of longing. Instead, it is full of fire and fury because the viewpoint character has emerged stronger from her heartache, meaning she has no interest in reconnecting with a seemingly regretful ex.

7. “Run the World (Girls)” – Beyonce

Beyonce is another artist with multiple songs that can make this list. “Run the World (Girls)” isn’t necessarily the best-known. After all, it peaked at the number 29 position on the Billboard Hot 100, which is extremely impressive by normal standards but not even close to being the best of Beyonce’s best.

Still, “Run the World (Girls)” deserves a high place on this list for being unapologetic about its message. Sometimes, a straightforward song is the best way to ensure a successful landing for its message.

6. “Think” – Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin released “Think” back in 1968. At the time, her career was seeing a lull. Something that dissipated when “Think” hit the airwaves. Those were different times.

Even so, “Think” became the sixth of Franklin’s 20 songs to reach the top of the charts. To an extent, that was because the song’s themes of freedom and respect resonated with listeners, having been released just a short while after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Interested individuals should never mistake timing for the whole of the song’s appeal.

“Think” became one of the staples in Franklin’s repertoire. It couldn’t have held that spot over the decades if it didn’t possess any inherent appeal.

5. “Fight Song” – Rachel Platten

Everyone has doubts. We are creatures of flesh and blood rather than metal automatons. If anything, it would be weirder for someone to move through life while remaining 100 percent confident in themselves the entire way.

The critical question is whether we can overcome those doubts. Of course, we don’t need to do everything on our own. Instead, it makes sense for people to use whatever tools and tricks hearten them.

Listening to Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” is as good a way to build that sense of scrappiness as anything else. Its viewpoint character describes a dire situation.

Generally speaking, being in a small boat out on the ocean is dangerous, even though it is metaphorical rather than literal in this context. Despite this, the viewpoint character has a strong determination to follow her convictions regardless of what other people think, which is downright inspiring.

4. “Fighter” – Christina Aguilera

Interested individuals have no shortage of fight songs to choose from. For another example, consider Christina Aguilera’s “Fighter” from the early 2000s, a mix of rock and R&B that won much praise when first released.

The lyrics are directed at a man who betrayed the viewpoint character, thus causing her to become stronger, tougher, and wiser because of the incident.

Curiously, that figure doesn’t seem to have been real because Aguilera cited her home and school as sources of inspiration for the song. “Fighter” peaked at number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 but was a Top 10 hit in several other countries.

3. “Survivor” – Destiny’s Child

Once upon a time, Beyonce was better known for being a part of Destiny’s Child rather than a solo artist. The group had a somewhat lackluster debut.

Subsequently, Destiny’s Child proved itself by releasing one successful follow-up after another. “Survivor” was the title track of the group’s third studio album. Moreover, it is famous for being a response to a joke that compared the group to the show Survivor because of lineup changes.

Given the song went platinum in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, it is clear who had the last laugh.

2. “Not Ready to Make Nice” – The Chicks

The Chicks found initial success from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s. Then, the lead vocalist Natalie Maines commented on being ashamed that President George W. Bush was from Texas right around the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which provoked a huge uproar in the United States.

The group might have been able to calm things by backing down. Instead, they stood their ground. In 2006, the Chicks released Taking the Long Way, a studio album that met with a hostile reception from much of their former fanbase but found a better reception elsewhere.

“Not Ready to Make Nice” is exactly what it sounds like, which is to say, a statement of defiance directed at those who tried to silence them or worse. Moreover, it is just an incredible song, as shown by how it won not one but two of the most coveted Grammys at the 49th Grammy Awards.

1. “Respect” – Aretha Franklin

Technically, Otis Redding was the first to record “Respect” in 1965. His release was a hit. Despite this, Aretha Franklin’s version from 1967 is the one that tends to be remembered, which makes sense for several reasons.

First, it was a bigger hit than its predecessor. Two, it had significant differences in music and lyrics, thus enabling it to stand apart from its predecessor rather than be judged side-by-side.

Third, the song’s emphasis on human dignity resonated with many listeners, so much so that it became one of the anthems for second-wave feminism. No wonder “Respect” is considered one of the greatest R&B songs ever released.

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