The following is in no way a complete list, but it is a legitimate and sincere list of women who have inspired me or lifted me when it was most needed. Feel free to add to the list if you notice or feel anyone’s missing. Happy International Women’s Day!

For their contribution to my brain and the order of my thoughts, for the sheer entertainment value, and for their strength:
Maya Angelou
Virginia Woolf
Zora Neale Hurston
Marguerite Henry
Jane Austen
Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë
Louisa May Alcott
Alice Walker
Gloria Steinem
Edith Hamilton
Marion Zimmer Bradley
Sue Grafton
J. K. Rowling (and Hermione, and Ginny, and Prof. McGonagall, and Molly Weasley…)
Emily Dickinson

For showing me and helping me believe that I was more than I was hearing when growing up; for fighting for what’s right and sticking to principles; for balancing ass-kickery and woman-hood; for sheer entertainment and for making fun of themselves:
Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman)
Lindsay Wagner (The Bionic Woman)
Kate Jackson {etc.} (Charlie’s Angels)
Tyne Daly & Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey)
Lucy Lawless & Renée O’Connor (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Gillian Anderson (The X-Files)
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Marina Sirtis (Star Trek: The Next Gen.)

Kate Mulgrew (Voyager)
Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman – film)
Carrie Fisher (Star Wars)
Maggie Smith (Too many to list)
Helen Mirren (Too many to list)
Dame Judy Dench (Too many to list)

For being cool and beautiful; for giving me endless hours of musical poetry while driving, studying, and learning; for bucking the system and surviving the system; and for musical ass-kickery:
Pat Benatar
Billie Holiday
Joan Baez
Carol King
Tracy Chapman
Natalie Merchant
Loretta Lynn
Patsy Cline
Ella Fitzgerald
Connie Francis

For being there when I didn’t know I needed her; for driving me crazy; for re-discovering her painting skills; and for occasional ass-kickery: