Strong women have used their voices to demand change within the country music space throughout the last few years. Feminist such as Mickey Guyton, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood, and more have dedicated their time to help shift the industry in the right direction.
However, before the honky tonk scene became more accepting – country music trailblazers such as Trisha Yearwood, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker, Reba McEntire, and Martina McBride had to fight for equality within the male-dominated industry in order to get their anthems heard.
The ladies of country music would utilize their power of storytelling to deliver sensitive, yet necessary subjects to pave a path for women today. For instance, Loretta Lynn was canceled by several radio stations after standing up for reproductive rights, and Dolly Parton fearlessly pointed out the horrific sexism in the '80s.
In honor of International Women’s day, CMT is paying respect to the resilient females who have pushed their boundaries and societal norms to alter the musical landscape. Scroll through the list below and see if your role model scored a spot on the inspirational roundup.
“I’m a Survivor" – Reba McEntire
The country music legend released the ultimate female empowerment anthem, “I’m a Survivor,” in 2001. The toe-tapping track became the theme song to her hit television show “Reba,” about a single mother of three navigating life in a Southern suburb. The Oklahoma native instills confidence in women who tirelessly try to make ends meet for their families.
“A single mom who works two jobs | Who loves her kids and never stop| With gentle hands and a heart of a fighter | I’m a survivor,” she sings in the chorus of the uplifting melody that serves as a reminder to be fearless. Songsmiths Shelby Kennedy and Philip White penned the inspiring message that reminds prominent today.
"The Pill" – Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn has always utilized her platform to advocate for women's rights. Despite societal standards, the hitmaker has never shied away from sparking difficult dialogues. Therefore, she released her ballad "The Pill" in 1975 to start a conversation around the benefits of birth control. Lynn's controversial lyrics deliver a story about an irritated female tired of raising children independently.
"All these years I've stayed at home | While you had all your fun |And every year thats gone by | Another babys come | There's a gonna be some changes made |Right here on nursery hill | You've set this chicken your last time | 'Cause now I've got the pill," the hitmaker sings while touching on a topic that many considered "Taboo."
“9 To 5” – Dolly Parton
In the 1980’s Dolly Parton’s single “9 To 5” called for women to join forces and fight for fair working conditions, as females were faced with sexism and inequality in corporate America.
The queen of country music has recently teamed up with Kelly Clarkson to remake the progressive anthem for a new documentary titled, “Still Working 9 To 5.” The two are recreating the thought-provoking hit and turning it into a ballad to stress that gender discrimination is still prevalent today. The single is set to roll out in May of 2022.
“Man! I Feel Like a Woman” – Shania Twain
Shania Twain released “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” back in 1997, and the up-tempo hit still remains on several party playlists today. Long nights spent celebrating at gay bars with friends inspired the feminist and LGBTQ+ ally to pen the up-tempo tune. The country-pop hitmaker encourages females to “have a little fun” by doing whatever it takes to feel confident and beautiful.
Twain wrote the dance-floor favorite alongside then-husband Robert John ‘Mutt’ Lange. The energetic single found a home on her “Come on Over” collection. The record brought Twain’s music career to new heights, as she became one of the best-selling females in country music.
“This One’s For The Girls” – Martina McBride
Martina McBride is a country music trailblazer with a diverse repertoire of soul-touching anthems. For instance, “A Broken Wing,” “Concrete Angel,” “Independence Day,” and many more. However, her chart-topping single, “This One’s For The Girls,” is a melody that hits home for many females nationwide.
McBride touches upon the triumphs and tribulations of womanhood throughout the karaoke-worthy tune. The hitmaker encourages her listeners to be brave, stand their ground, and chase dreams with their heads up high.
“This one’s for the girls| Who’ve ever had a broken heart | Who’ve wished upon a shooting star | You’re beautiful the way you are | This one’s for the girls | who love without holding back| who dream with everything they have | All around the world | This one’s for the girls,” the influential voice sings in the early 2000s tribute track.