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The Greatest Female TV Role Models 

Ranker TV
Originally by
Updated March 9, 2020 46.9k votes 2.1k voters 22.9k views 144 items

List Rules Strong and admirable woman and girl characters in television

List of the greatest female TV role models. Here are the rankings for the best female characters for your daughter to look up to. The TV shows with great female role models span the decades, from black-and-white to digital film. They also span the style, from live action multi-camera sitcoms to cartoons. Who are some of the best female role models on TV?

You could make a pretty good case for Leslie Knope's passion, Liz Lemon's wit, and Rachel Green's attitude. Or, if people really want to talk about strong independent women, we have listed ladies like Susie Greene from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and Xena (the Warrior Princess). Some seem to think even Nancy Botwin from "Weeds" is a good female role model on television -- perhaps for her business sense. TV can make a difference in the culture, as shows can set standards and aspirations for young women, or men, with the remote control.
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list ordered by
1
Olivia Benson is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
lemonhead added Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
2
Buffy Summers is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
3
Leslie Knope is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Parks and Recreation
4
Kathryn Janeway is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
phoebelouise added Star Trek: Voyager
5
Dana Scully is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
The X-Files
6
Abby Sciuto is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
LaChance added NCIS
7
Rebecca Katsopolis is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Full House
8
Nyota Uhura is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: The Animated Series
9
Mary Richards is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
10
Sophia Petrillo is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
The Golden Palace, The Golden Girls
11
Topanga Lawrence is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
JVall14 added Girl Meets World, Boy Meets World
12
Wonder Woman is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman, Justice League Unlimited
13
Dorothy Zbornak is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
The Golden Girls
14
Jessica Fletcher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Murder, She Wrote
15
Penelope Garcia is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
LaChance added Criminal Minds
16
Cristina Yang is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
phoebelouise added Grey's Anatomy
17
Laura Ingalls is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
MeganAnderson added Little House on the Prairie
18
Lorelai Gilmore is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Gilmore Girls
19
Jaime Sommers is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
phoebelouise added Bionic Woman
20
Brienne of Tarth is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
Game of Thrones
21
Maggie O'Connell is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
lemonhead added Northern Exposure
22
Carla Espinosa is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
phoebelouise added Scrubs
23
Caroline Ingalls is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
MeganAnderson added
24
Lucy Ricardo is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
I Love Lucy, The Lucy–Desi Comedy Hour
25
Anita Van Buren is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Female TV Role Models
phoebelouise added Law & Order