Women and their role in film and television has always been a highly talked about topic. More and more people are talking about how much women get paid or whether they’re being offered good roles. So much so, it’s easy to forget about the things they have, and more importantly the strong, powerful and inspirational female characters they’ve played. In celebration of International Women’s Day, let’s remember ten strong-willed and inspirational female characters who have blessed our screens over the years.

Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Life isn’t easy, even if you’re the slayer. Buffy had to survive vampires, werewolves, a dozen apocalypses, and much more while trying to survive life. She wasn’t afraid to be driven by her emotions and showed us that while making sacrifices and hard decisions isn’t easy, it’s a part of life. She was proof that no matter who you are, you are strong and have the power within to face any evil that exists in the world.

Leigh Anne Tuohy, The Blind Side

Hard as nails doesn’t even begin to describe southern housewife Leigh Anne Tuohy. She took Michael Oher in and treated him like he was her own. Despite harsh criticisms from others, she knew what she was doing was right and fought for Michael to succeed. What is even more amazing is Leigh Anne is a real person.

Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars was not your average teenage girl. Then again if your best friend was murdered, you were raped, had an alcoholic mother and a whole town against you, you probably wouldn’t be either. Veronica could have let her past get the best of her, but instead she chose to turn her sadness and anger into action. Using her quick wit and brilliance she brought criminals to justice proving that our past doesn’t define us and one person can make a difference.

Princess Leia, Star Wars Series

Tough, resourceful, kick-ass and never a damsel in distress, Princess Leia wasn’t someone you wanted to mess with. Leia went into battle head on, not afraid of what was coming and no matter what, kept fighting until the battle was won. Like Leia, in life we just need to keep fighting our battle because like Leia, we will win.

Peggy Carter, Agent Carter

Peggy Carter doesn’t need superhuman strength to be strong. The crime fighting agent shows that in a field mainly dominated by men in the post World War II era, women shouldn’t be underestimated. But most importantly, Peggy is proof of the timeless truth that a woman can do anything a man can.

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter Series

Harry may have killed Voldemort, but he wouldn’t have gotten as far as he did without Hermione. She was the brains behind the operation, figuring out one clue to defeating Voldemort after another. And when her love, Ron, left her she didn’t let it break her like other female characters. Instead, she was strong enough to put her feelings aside and focus on the bigger picture.

Meredith Grey, Grey’s Anatomy

Over the last 12 years, Meredith Grey has dealt with one challenge and heartbreak after another, yet she still has the will to get up in the morning. Whether is was family troubles, freak accidents or the death of a loved one she keeps going no matter what. She conquers whatever comes her way and always comes out a stronger person for it.

Kat Stratford, 10 Things I Hate About You

Kat didn’t care what anyone thought of her and wasn’t going to change who she was just to meet someone else’s standards. Sarcastic and a feminist, she wasn’t afraid to be who she was. Kat proved that you don’t need to be anyone other than yourself to be accepted.

Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls

Lorelai Gilmore didn’t have it easy. Nothing was handed to her and she had to work hard to get to where she was. Pregnant at 16 years old, Lorelai had to find a way to make it on her own to provide for her daughter, working her way from the bottom as a maid to owning her own inn. Lorelai showed us that with hard work and determination you can achieve anything, even your dreams.

Ellen Ripley, Alien

Not everyone is strong enough to take down an alien by themselves in space. But Ellen Ripley did. A survivalist, Ellen thought out every move before she made it, anticipating what could happen and how she was going to get out of it alive. With her smarts and savvy, she did what seemed impossible. Now 37 years later, Ellen Ripley has gone down as one of the strongest female characters in film history.

By Amanda Pereira