30 Empowering Feminist Movies To Watch With Your Kids

From Moana to Matilda, options are aplenty!

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For parents who want to raise feminist children, it can sometimes seem like an uphill battle when it comes to the media they ingest. Throughout history, movies have traditionally gone with male leads, while female characters have often been secondary in the storylines. The damsel in distress or the love interest, for instance. Nowadays, however, there are thankfully plenty of amazing feminist movies about strong women to watch with your kids, whether they're toddlers or tweens.

From newer animated hits like Disney's Moana and The Princess and the Frog to older beloved classics like A League Of Their Own and Matilda, there are enough options on this list to keep the whole family entertained and feeling inspired. And don't worry, all of the movies below have a G, PG, or PG-13 rating, so there's something for your tiniest viewers up to your teenage movie buffs to enjoy.

Much has been written about how to raise a feminist child — someone who cares deeply about equality and fairness, socially, politically, and beyond. It's a lifelong lesson, of course, and introducing your children to fun, inspiring, and powerful movies with empowering female leads certainly helps get the job done. So read on for inspiration to help plan out your family's next movie night.



If you're looking to watch a movie with younger kids featuring a strong woman who is also kind, brave, and compassionate... just watch Moana. Rated PG, the 2016 movie follows Moana, the strong-willed daughter of a Polynesian chief who is chosen by the ocean to find a relic for the goddess Te Fiti and save her village. Moana has become synonymous for strong-willed, independent, determined girls for good reason. She doesn’t let anything stand in her way and yes, as a little side note, she is not focussed on finding a romantic partner to save her. Plus the music is catchy so it’s a win/win.

Watch Moana, rated PG, on Disney+.

Legally Blonde


Legally Blonde, rated PG-13, might not seem like an obvious pick, but that's why it's such a great movie to watch with older kids. Elle Woods is a stereotype-smashing feminist who goes after what she wants and, perhaps most importantly, learns to believe in herself along the way. Elle really embodies what it means to be true to yourself. She makes mistakes along the way but she’s open to learning, open to finding true friends in all walks of life, and ultimately open to knowing what she can do even if no one else is supporting her. Another important element? Elle is proof that feminism is not an either/or proposition. She reminds us all that it’s okay to want beautiful things while also knowing we are not defined by those beautiful things.

Watch Legally Blonde, rated PG-13, on Hulu and Amazon Prime with premium subscriptions, or on YouTube for $3.99.

The Princess and the Frog


Princess Tiana is absolutely the star of 2009's G-rated The Princess and the Frog. Sure she finds love with her prince, but that’s actually okay. The concept that feminism is somehow negated by romantic love in a movie is pretty outdated. For Tiana, her life is about following her dreams: to own a restaurant in New Orleans and be an independent person. Oh, and to stop being a frog. She pulls it all off, too, and she finds love along the way with a prince who supports her, understands her, and wants her dreams to come true. That’s love, my friends.

Watch The Princess and the Frog, rated G, on Disney+.



Do you know what kids love? Seeing a movie where they are smarter than the adults. Being a young girl can feel about helpless sometimes, and who doesn’t want to believe that, somewhere deep inside them, there is real magic just waiting to get out? And of course to use it against every mean adult who has thus far done you wrong? I’m an adult and I don’t hate this idea. The 1996 adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matlida is the perfect movie for just that. Matilda Wormwood is surrounded by horrible adults, but fortunately she has some magical gifts that has her besting them at every turn.

Watch Matilda, rated PG, on HBO Max.

Akeelah and the Bee

Amazon Prime

In this PG-rated film, Akeelah is a young girl from Los Angeles who loves to spell. A movie about spelling bees might not seem terribly exciting, but if you’ve ever actually seen a spelling bee in real life you know. They’re full of tension and drama and the 2006 movie Akeelah And The Bee is about so much more than that. Perseverance. Passion. Drive. Akeelah has to go against her mother to enter the National Spelling Bee. She knows this competition could change her life. And she goes for it. With an entire community cheering her on, because everyone loves a hero.

Watch Akeelah and the Bee, rated PG, on Tubi or YouTube for $3.99.



Disney has now put out two versions of Mulan: the original animated film from 1998 and the live-action movie released in 2020. Whichever version you want to watch with your kids, you are going to see a strong female character willing to risk her life to protect the father, and the people, she loves. It’s important to remember that Mulan is based on a Chinese folk tale called The Battle Of Mulan, about a young girl who takes the place of her aging father to go to battle. She is trying to bring honor to her family, yes, but she is also trying to find the version of herself that feels the most honest.

And that version is a warrior.

Watch both versions of Mulan, with the live-action rated 12+ and the animated version rated 6+, on Disney+.

A Wrinkle In Time


Ava DuVarnay's 2018 adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's classic children's book A Wrinkle In Time is a fantastic deep dive for kids to watch. Meg Murray bravely sets out to find her long-lost father with the help of her friend and little brother, and their guides along their adventure are three supernatural women. It is important to note that Meg spends a fairly significant amount of time worrying if she’s beautiful enough, so parents might want to have a conversation with their kids about that. But mostly it’s a beautiful movie full of strong women.

Watch A Wrinkle In Time, rated PG, on Disney+.


Officer Judy Hopps is the first bunny on the police force in the animal world of Zootopia, and she aims to prove she can do the job with a little positivity and a lot of heart. She's one of the more endearing strong female leads out there (I think it's the eyes). Judy Hopps is also a great example for young girls that size does not need to be an impediment. Just because someone might be bigger than you doesn’t mean they are stronger, or more resourceful, or that they have more potential. Judy can mete out justice with the best of them.

Watch Zootopia, rated PG, on Disney+.

Little Women

Amazon Prime

Greta Gerwig's PG-rated, 2019 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women is arguably the most feminist yet. Marmee, played by Laura Dern, sets the tone for a woman who is maternal and a feminist. Strong and kind. And not afraid to admit that sometimes she is not happy with her lot in life. As for Jo March and her sisters, they are the real love stories of the piece. Especially Jo's speech about women being "more than their hearts" while also admitting that she is so lonely... it should be required watching. For all of us.

Watch Little Women, rated PG, on Hulu with a premium subscription.

Spirited Away

The beautiful anime film from Studio Ghibli, 2001's Spirited Away, does an incredible job of showing a strong female character who is actually flawed and afraid. When young Chichiro is trapped in a spirit world far from her parents, she cries. She's afraid. And yet she perseveres. She is also the lead character in the movie, an especially rare honor even in 2001. The majority of Spirited Away is told from her perspective, giving her the most important voice in the film. She gets to tell her story, in a sense, and Chichiro’s courage alongside her vulnerability make this an eminently watchable movie.

Watch Spirited Away, rated PG, on HBO Max.



When comedians Kristen Wiig and Kate MacKinnon starred in an all-female, PG-13 rated remake of Ghostbusters in 2016, there was an outcry from fan boys everywhere. Fans of the original movie from 1984 were really, really not ready for women to be the main characters. It does make you wonder whether or not any of them actually saw the four women suit up to fight ghosts or protested on principal alone. Regardless, this movie was a fun updated version of the equally fun original. But with women. How is this a problem? Watch and decide for yourself.

Watch Ghostbusters, rated PG-13, on Amazon Prime.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was a Jedi. But that was only for boys. Even if you just wanted to pretend. Girls were allowed to be princesses, and even that definition was quite different from the princesses we know today. I cannot tell you how much it meant to me not only to see a new powerful Jedi in Rey. Definat, powerful, vulnerable, kind. And perhaps even more, to see Princess Leia finally become the powerful commander she was always meant to be in 2017's PG-13 rated Star Wars: The Last Jedi... absolute magic.

Watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, rated PG-13. on Disney+.



This 2018 Netflix original film Dumplin' is for a slightly older audience, but its message is so important. Self-acceptance, friendship, knowing your own worth, and loving Dolly Parton no matter what. It might not seem like a love of Dolly Parton is necessary to be a true feminist, but it is simply a universal truth. Jennifer Aniston plays a pageant mom who struggles with body image issues, raising a daughter desperately trying to make her own way in a world that is determined to define women by their size alone. Watch it with your tween and then listen to some Dolly after.

Watch Dumplin', rated PG-13, on Netflix.

Inside Out


Riley from 2015's Inside Out is a happy 11-year-old girl who finds herself struggling with her emotions when she moves from Minnesota to California. The movie sees Riley go through a whole wealth of different emotional experiences, with her feelings shown as actual characters, as she tries to navigate her new life. It’s so important for all kids to see that big emotions are real, that everyone has them, and that it’s okay to feel like they are getting the better of you sometimes. This PG-rated movie is a great choice for kids who don't always know how to express themselves.

Watch Inside Out, rated PG, on Disney+.



Sure, the dark wizard from the 2014 Disney film Maleficent might not be everyone's first choice for a feminist character. But the thing is, she kind of is a true feminist. Especially as played by Angelina Jolie. She was just out there living her best life in the forest when invaders came and she rose up to protect people. She got betrayed and yes, maybe she got a little mean. But she's also strong. And complicated. And perhaps one of the most misunderstood characters to exist in Disney canon. Plus her costume is really just about the best out there.

Watch Maleficent, rated PG-13, on Disney+.

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella


Cinderella is one of those complicated characters who can feel a bit tough to define. She doesn’t come out of the gate as a feminist icon, especially as she tends to sit back and let others rule the roost, quite literally. But she also finds her way eventually, perhaps never more so than in the 1997 version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella starring Brandy as the title character. She eventually meets her Prince Charming, of course, but she also gets Whitney Houston as her fairy godmother. Maybe that’s what all strong female leads need; a fairy godmother to set them on the right track.

Watch Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, rated G, on Disney+.

Bend It Like Beckham

In Bend It Like Beckham, a young Indian girl named Jess is a talented soccer player who is not permitted to play organized sports by her strict parents. After her new friend Jules sees Jess playing for fun, she insists she join her semi-pro team. And Jess’s life completely changes. There’s another romance in the movie, with Jess discovering she has feelings for her coach, but mostly this is a story about a girl who goes after her passion. And a friend who won’t let her give up, no matter what.

Watch Bend It Like Beckham, rated PG-13, on Disney+.

Queen Of Katwe

There is just something special about seeing a girl defy society’s expectations and carve her own path, regardless of what that path might, in fact, be. This is exactly what happens in the 2016 Disney movie Queen Of Katwe. It’s the story of 10-year-old Phiona, a girl who learns to play chess in the village of Katwe in Uganda. More than that, Phiona is incredibly talented. She goes from living in poverty in Uganda to competing in chess tournaments on an international level, against all odds. This movie was inspired by a true story that was genuinely uplifting and powerful.

Watch Queen Of Katwe, rated PG on Disney+.


In 2012, Disney really knocked it out of the park with the movie Brave. This is the story of young Merida, a woman who is going to defy customs to carve her own path, no matter the cost. She is an amazing archer living in Scotland at a time when women were not meant to be archers. Or warriors. Or really much of anything other than a wife and mother. Merida is perhaps a touch impetuous and makes a big mistake by asking a local witch to grant her a wish, but she stays true to herself, and her destiny, throughout.

Watch Brave, rated PG, on Disney+.

Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

She's been a feminist icon for so long, her name has essentially become synonymous with brave, inquisitive young women everywhere. 2019's Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase re-introduced fans to the beloved teen detective. In this version, Nancy is ready to head off to college after graduating from high school when, surprise surprise, she finds herself getting caught up in a supernatural murder mystery. She takes the case like the little detective she’s always been, and maybe plants a seed of interest for some of her young fans along the way.

Watch Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase, rated PG, on Tubi.

Wonder Woman

Patty Jenkins' amazing version of Wonder Woman was released in 2017, and for those of us who grew up looking up to the iconic '70s superhero, it was an absolute blessing. This new version of Wonder Woman, saw Diana Prince training with her fellow Amazon women to become a warrior before leaving the home she loves to fight for humanity. Diana is by no means the only heroine in this movie. Special shoutout to the entire community of Amazon women who take down Nazi forces like it’s absolutely no problem at all. What's better than that?

Watch Wonder Woman, rated PG-13, on HBO Max.

Wonder Woman 1984

Wonder Woman 1984 is a flash forward to the 1980s, where Diana Prince is just trying to live her life before she gets roped back into saving the world again. Diana finds herself going up against Maxwell Lord and a villainess named Cheetah, both of whom will see her drawing from all of the wisdom, strength, and courage she learned from her Amazonian days. She steps up in a fun, empowering movie that feels sort of exactly right, especially when she and Cheetah are facing off against each other. Plus the costumes are kind of incredible, I’m just saying.

Watch Wonder Woman 1984, rated PG-13 on HBO Max.

Hidden Figures

20th Century Fox

Hidden Figures is based on the true story of three Black women who worked at NASA in the 1950s and 1960s and were so brilliant they were referred to as "human computers." They were not given any sort of recognition for all of the incredible work they did to help launch astronauts safely into space, so seeing them finally get their due is momentous. Their story went untold for decades, and it's an important one for kids to watch to see what real-life strong women look like. And how far they've had to come. Also it might even get kids interested in math, which is a win-win.

Watch Hidden Figures, rated PG, on Disney+.


Pocahontas might be a Disney animated movie, but it's based on a real woman and bona fide American princess. A woman who defied her father Powahatan and rescued John Smith, an English adventurer, before going on to serve as a translator and ambassador in Europe in the late 16th century. Yes, this version of Pocahontas sees her talking to her raccoon pal and singing that she can “Paint With All The Colors Of The Wind,” but this is one of those rare opportunities when parents can turn a Disney princess movie into a history lesson. Fun for the whole family, right?

Watch Pocahontas, rated G, on Disney+.


Documentaries can be tough for kids to sit through, but the life story of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is no ordinary documentary. Her life's work has changed the world for us all as a women's rights activist, a lawyer, and a Supreme Court justice. RBG tells her story so beautifully, it's all so worth it. If you’re struggling to get the kids interested, hit them with this classic quote, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

Watch RBG, rated PG, on Hulu.

Captain Marvel

It's important for girls to have superheroes to look up to, and few are more impressive than Captain Marvel. The 2019 movie is full of succinct, surprisingly effective feminist quotes. Like when Carol Danvers says simply, “I have nothing to prove to you.” That shouldn’t feel powerful, but for some people it is a great mantra. Captain Marvel follows Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the most powerful heroes in the universe, and kids love it.

Watch Captain Marvel, rated PG-13, on Disney+.

A League of Their Own

There was a time during World War II when women formed the first professional female baseball league. It was a time when many women were slowly crawling forward with more rights, more freedom, and more possibility. And A League of their Own perfectly captures what that struggle might have looked like for a group of women brought together by their love of the game. One of the best themes in the movie is that these women really take care of each other and root for each other’s success, even though most of them knew their baseball careers were going to be temporary. Amazing.

Watch A League of their Own, rated PG-13, on Peacock.


In Wadjda, a 10-year-old Saudi girl enters a competition to recite the Quran in order to win the bicycle of her dreams. It’s a powerful message, because for her a bicycle truly means freedom. The power to go her own way if she so chooses. And yes, she especially wants the bike because she fought with her best friend, a boy named Abdullah, and she wants the bike so she can beat him in a race. But ultimately she is a young rebel with a dream, and everyone is rooting for her to get what she wants by the end.

Watch Wadjda, rated PG, on Netflix.

Real Women Have Curves

America Ferrera is a young girl trying to get into college while also staying true to her Mexican-American heritage in Real Women Have Curves. The 2002 movie has a lot of positive messaging about body image, although parents should know that the main character Ana’s mother constantly insults her about her body. It might be a good idea to have a conversation about that. Otherwise Real Women Have Curves is a powerful coming-of-age movie that is full of charm and all of those push-pull moments many of us recognize. Family vs. ambition, future vs. past, self vs. perception.

Watch Real Women Have Curves, rated PG-13, on HBO Max.

Black Panther

King T'Challa might be the star and main superhero of Black Panther, but let's face it: His mother, sister, and all of the Wakandan female warriors are such amazing examples of strong women who fight for what's right, it might as well be their movie. It was particularly powerful to see women of color celebrated on screen in such a strong way. Nakia, Okoye, Shuri and Ramonda are all women who know how to get things done, whether that means working as an undercover spy, as a scientist, or simply being a wise leader. Who doesn’t want to watch these women lead an all-female army, or really do anything else at this point?

Watch Black Panther, rated PG-13, on Disney+.

Being a strong woman and raising strong women really starts with recognizing strong women. Accepting all of their complicated bits instead of labeling them troublesome or difficult or any other misnomer that does not encapsulate the beauty of a strong woman.

These movies are a form of education in that regard. A guide to all of the myriad types of ways a woman can rise above and ultimately, be recognized as exactly who they are. Strong women.

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