One of the finest moments in OTT and films is seeing women stand up for themselves. And it’s time we celebrate and applaud women who use their voice to speak up against flawed systems and individuals who perpetuate sexism or injustice. 

Hence, here is a list of our favourite female characters standing up for their beliefs and speaking up about them like absolute bosses! Read on. 

1. When Maya Rajguru (played by Dimple Kapadia), from A Thursday, makes it clear that emotions are not a weakness or a hinderance in women’s abilities to make important decisions. 

This scene was much, much needed. Especially because the stereotype is that women can’t handle leadership positions because they’re ‘too emotional.’

2. When in Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Sandeep (Parineeti Chopra) calls Pinky out for belittling her. 

Sandeep’s dialogue points to how easily society overlooks women, their accomplishments and their caliber, simply because the world expects them to be nothing but accessories and cater to them in the kitchen and the bedroom. 

3. In one of the best body positive dialogues that Bollywood has given us, Isha (Sanah Kapoor) in Shaandaar, happily tells her groom that she is absolutely fine with her body, that she accepts and loves herself as she is. 

An inspiration for how to respond if anyone tries to shame you about your body. 

4. When in this scene in Dev D, Chanda (played by Kalki Koechlin) frees herself of the shame that society expects women to embody when their intimate photos and videos are leaked. 

Why is the shame placed on the person who is exploited and abused, anyway? Isn’t it the perpetrator who needs to be told to take accountability and not the victim who should change parts of themselves?

5. One of my personal favourites. This dialogue from Pagglait, is a perfect example of how often patriarchy likes to discredit and patronize women when they follow their inner guidance and compas. 

Sandhya (Sanya Malhotra) couldn’t have said it better. As a woman, you’re often deemed mad or scatterbrained when you begin taking full charge of your life, based on your self-taught smarts. 

6. When in Luck By Chance, Sona finally prioritized herself, even if that meant leaving someone she loved behind.

Any relationship that makes you feel like it’s more about what you have to offer to the other person than co-existence is definitely not worth it. 

7. Kiara Advani as Megha from Lust Stories was a brilliant example of how women must start speaking up about their sexual desires and expectations. 

The orgasm gap is not an imagined concern. Which is why it is so important for women to discuss their sexual expectations with their partners!

8. When Rani (played by Huma Qureshi) in Maharani, called out the double standards that end up weighing women down rather than empowering them.

For many women, education and opportunities are blocked by the very same people who mock them for not being as competent as them. 

9. Of course, we couldn’t have possibly skipped this excellent reply by Vidya, in Sherni, where she talks about how motherhood is not a compulsory life path for every woman. 

Women are conditioned and often pressurised to become mothers, even before they find suitable life partners, which is unfortunate, to say the least. 

10. Kamala from Never Have I Ever gave us a pretty great woman-in-STEM representation. Especially when she didn’t back down from asking for the professional credit she very rightly deserved!

And she didn’t only stand up to her boss, but to her to-be-husband as well, who told her that she should compromise to get ahead in her career. 

11. Violence is definitely not the answer, but neither is sitting back letting disrespect slide. And some situations are exceptions. Like this one right here from Chak De India, when the team decides to protect and stand up to harrasment. 

FYI, harassment is never okay. And in an ideal world, every woman should be able to reject unwanted attention and advances.  

12. Is there a better reply than this one to men telling women how to exist in a world that is supposed to be half theirs? 

In this scene from Jab We Met, we saw Geet telling the Railway official to mind his business and stop giving out unsolicitated advice in the spiciest and wittiest way possible.

13. Maybe by telling her daughter to not focus on the opinions of men, Rani (Pooja Bhatt) from Bombay Begums, didn’t just stand up for herself, but she stood up against a mentality, an entire system. 

Many women have been raised to see themselves through and build their identities according to the male gaze, and this scene was a reminder to stop doing just that. 

14. What about this instance from Thappad, when Amrita doesn’t wait for the abuse to get worse before she walks out of her marriage?

Amrita taught us all that you don’t need to sit around and wait for a person to improve themselves if it is going to cost you your self respect and peace of mind.

And we thank our lucky stars that we’re finally seeing female characters who have used their voice for fairness and equality.