Our 10 Favorite Working Women for International Women’s Day
Women make the world go ‘round. Ok, we need men too, or the world would be lopsided and there would be no one to open jars, but it’s International Women’s Day, so we’re focusing on the fairer sex and how they make the world a better place.
International Women’s Day was started in the early 1900s by female socialists and trade unions. Today it is supported by the United Nations with the intent of highlighting the importance of women workers and advancing their rights in workplaces, politics and societies around the world.
It’s always been easy for us to imagine women in the workplace, because for as long as we can remember, our pop culture has given us great examples of these fearless and feminine contributors to society. Unlike our parents, we’ve had countless great examples of working women in television and movies.
Whether they’re using their feminine wiles to tirelessly fight for what’s right, managing households while holding down successful careers or just doing what they can to make their way in a world that isn’t always easy for a woman on her own, these working women on the big and small screens captured our hearts, made us laugh and showed us what it means to be a woman in a man’s world.
Here are ten of our favorites.
Liz Lemon – ’30 Rock’
Liz Lemon is so adorably awkward and flawed that every one of us, women and men, can feel a little bit better about ourselves even as we understand that we are not alone in our own weirdness. This working gal manages the extreme personalities on the cast of her successful TV show, eats junk food like it’s going out of style without getting fat and orders cheese steaks in bed. What the what? What’s not to love?
Mary Richards – ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’
Before there was Liz Lemon, there was Mary Richards. Mary left her comfort zone to start a new life in Minneapolis on her own. She used her wit, charm and that spunk Lou Grant hated so much to go from answering the phones at the news desk to being a successful producer and on-camera personality. She really did turn the world on with her smile.
Doralee Rhodes, Violet Newstead & Judy Bernly – ‘Nine to Five’
The working world wasn’t all fun and games for women — there were places where being quirky and spunky wouldn’t get you far. These three women put up with a lot of stuff during their daily grind and showed us you can look good doing it and, in the end, manage to end up ahead of your sexist boss.
Clair Huxtable – ‘The Cosby Show’
This amazing TV mom had it all. She was smart and beautiful with a gorgeous family, a loving husband and a successful career as a lawyer. We all wanted Clair Huxtable, with her quick wit and ability to rule her roost with just a look, to be our mom. She showed us how a modern woman could have it all.
Erin Brockovich – ‘Erin Brockovich’
Another example of a working mom, Erin Brockovich proved that a woman could raise kids on her own, start from the very bottom with no experience and end up being a successful attorney. She used whatever she has in her arsenal (even if it’s a push-up bra) to get her way while never stopping in the fight for what’s right. She also taught us that as long as we’ve only got one derriere, we can wear whatever we want.
Kitty Forman – ‘That ‘70s Show’
Kitty Forman was a working TV mom that was supposed to be different from the TV moms of her show’s era. She maintained her household with an iron fist hidden adeptly inside a pair of kid gloves. She could get her way in any situation and was always realistic about who her family really was, and loved them anyway. She was a mom, a wife and a nurse and the Forman universe revolved happily around her. How could they not with that laugh?
Tess McGill – ‘Working Girl’
Tess knew she could do more in the corporate world. She was headed to the top and she was going to do what she had to do to get there. Ok, maybe she shouldn’t have impersonated her boss, but she had the chutzpah to back it up, so it worked. With a mind for business and a body for sin, she couldn’t lose. And we will forever admire any woman who gets Harrison Ford in the end.
Elle Woods – ‘Legally Blonde’
Elle Woods is a classic example of a woman who achieves power and success while still maintaining her feminine side. She showed us there is no need to give up pink for a drab business suit or wrap your hair in a tight bun to be taken seriously. You just have to be smart, be charming and look out for your friends. And carry around a teeny, tiny, menacing dog named Bruiser.
Pam Beasley – ‘The Office’
We loved Pam from day one. She’s cute, sweet, clever, capable, unassuming and the girl we wish we were buds with at work and after hours. Starting out as a receptionist, she worked her way up the Dunder-Mifflin ladder and proved you can be a working mom in a room full of crazy coworkers. She can be kind and devious in the same moment, and makes being the girl next door more attractive than the hottest supermodel. We have rooted for Pam since the beginning and any one of us would make four or five extra trips to the copier just to have a chance to chat with her at her desk and try to earn that smile.
Vivian Ward – ‘Pretty Woman’
Somehow this Cinderella story about a true working girl made us romanticize the idea of being a prostitute. But, clearly, the most satisfying scene, the day the hooker with a heart of gold got a little respect, was when she walked back into the fancy store on Rodeo Drive and had her “big mistake” moment. Vivian had a job none of us wants, but she was just trying to do the best she could and we can all understand that.
BONUS: Every Working Woman’s Theme Song