There are several women in the world of country music who have not only helped the genre move forward, but impacted the music world at large, and 10 of these songs make our list of the best country songs about being a woman.
The many fearless women who have paved the way for fellow female artists have used their voice in the most effective ways, from Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton to Shania Twain and Carrie Underwood.
This handful of songs by the most powerful women of country music offer a sense of empowerment and strength. Underwood's "All American Girl" makes the list, along with a fierce track by fellow leading lady Miranda Lambert. Progressive numbers from Lynn and Parton were also important to include, in addition to obvious selections from Twain and Martina McBride. Keith Urban is the lone male artist on the list, making a powerful statement with his single, "Female."
If there's one characteristic that all these women have in common, it's their desire to invoke a sense of female empowerment in the music they sing, uniting artists and listeners alike across generations. Check out our list of the 10 best country songs about being an empowered woman.
"Guys Do It All the Time"Mindy McCready
McCready packs tons of attitude into this sassy song, which turns the tables on gender stereotypes. The country star gives the guys a taste of their own medicine, proving that women can do anything men can do, like party with their friends until the wee hours of the morning. "Get over it, honey, life's a two-way street / Or you won't be a man of mine / So I had some beers with the girls last night / Guys do it all the time," she sings in the female-centered proclamation that challenges hypocrisy and gender cliches.
"All-American Girl" Carrie Underwood
Underwood shines a spotlight on an "All-American Girl" in this sweet song that reveals the special role a woman plays in a man's life, with the singer showing off the various ways she's impacted his life story. Underwood follows the journey of a woman from birth to marriage who captures the heart of her father and husband, passing on the torch to another little girl who will undoubtedly grow up and have the same influence on the men in her life. The light-hearted hit has become a fan favorite in the singer's catalog with its heartfelt message.
"Female" hit a strong nerve in the country music world right out of the gate, and it's not hard to see why. While the song's lyrics are poignant and heartfelt, it's Urban's conviction that takes the powerful message to new heights. The song questions the age-old argument that someone is "asking for it" based on the clothes they wear, while dishing out plenty of heart. Lyrics like "When you hear somebody say somebody hits like a girl / How does that hit you? / Is that such a bad thing? / When you hear a song that they play saying you run the world / Do you believe it? / Will you live to see it?" not only make you think, but stick up for women in a way that any male country artist had yet to do.
"I'm a Survivor" Reba McEntire
McEntire supports all the fighters in the inspiring "I'm a Survivor." While the song highlights the story of a premature baby and the single mom who tirelessly takes care of her, the singer sticks up for every determined woman in the world who refuses to give up even when times get tough. The country star gives a voice to all the women with "gentle hands" and the "heart of a fighter" and believes in the message so much, she made it the theme song to her TV show, Reba.
"Girl in a Country Song"Maddie & Tae
The fierce duo rightfully made a name for themselves when this strong debut single hit airwaves. The young stars challenged the norms of the "bro country" style, standing up against the shallow stereotypes portrayed in such songs. "Bein' the girl in a country song / How in the world did it go so wrong? / Like all we're good for / Is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend / Nothing more," they sing in the chorus, throwing the forced gender cliched of "painted on cut off jeans" and "keep our mouth shut and ride along" back in the faces of the songs that enforce these qualifications. It not only showed the lack of respect women receive in the "bro-country" world, but proved the power of the female voice with its sharp writing and keen observation.
Lynn has always been a trailblazer for women in music, but "The Pill" made a statement that went beyond the walls of country music. The song, released in 1975, shone a spotlight on the topic of birth control at a time when most artists wouldn't have dared to do so. The story centers around a wife and mother tired of having children and done with her absentee husband's abandonment, taking matters into her own hands by going on the pill. "There's a gonna be some changes made / Right here on nursery hill / You've set this chicken your last time / 'Cause now I've got the pill," she commands in the powerful song that was not only a bold statement, but put the power into the woman's hand in a message that still holds up today.
"This One's For the Girls"Martina McBride
As one of country music's most powerful female voices, McBride was made for this list, especially with one of her signature hits, "This One's For the Girls." The carefree tune calls out to all the females and the triumphs and tribulations they endure, from standing their ground to living their dreams and all the broken hearts in between. It's almost impossible not to feel a sense of positivity when listening to this song, and McBride's genuine spirit and appreciation for women comes through, creating a true sense of solidarity.
There's a reason "9 to 5" has become one of Parton's most famous hits. Always a firecracker, the country superstar doesn't hold back detailing the stress of working in the unsupportive world of corporate business. While the lyrics relating to feeling unappreciated and as if your dreams will never come true are universal, the film in which the song appears highlights the sexism women are forced to face in the workplace. "9 to 5" only continues to show Parton's fearlessness in sharing important messages with the world and serves as a progressive anthem for women of all generations.
"Gunpowder and Lead"Miranda Lambert
Lambert is one of the most influential voices in modern day country music and she packs an incredible punch in "Gunpowder and Lead." The fiery song takes on the uncomfortable topic of domestic violence, but rather than focusing on the despicable person perpetrating the violence, Lambert gives the power to the female lead, who takes a stand in the most badass of ways. Lambert is one of the few people who could tackle such a subject and turn it into an empowering anthem that has all the elements of a strong female country song: bold, fierce and unapologetic.
"Man! I Feel Like a Woman"Shania Twain
When thinking of country songs that celebrate being a woman, this classic Twain hit instantly comes to mind. The song's upbeat energy is infectious, with Twain's enthusiastic spirit shining through along with the cheerful lyrics that celebrate womanhood. She said it best when she proclaimed, "The best thing about being a woman is the prerogative to have a little fun," making us all free to "feel the way I feel" in a hit that made a statement in the 90s country sound.