Fans love to get behind a strong leader who is competent in their role by getting the job done. Although women have found equality in TV roles, sci-fi was ahead of the game, showing women in powerful positions in not only our world but in worlds beyond the stars.
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You don't have to be in a traditional leadership role to lead and have others follow, either. Sometimes those intangible leadership qualities are evident to those around them, and they earn respect just by doing what they do best.
Here are some of the toughest chicks in sci-fi, showing that leaders can't be just physically strong, but mentally strong too. Do you have a favorite woman on a science fiction show who belongs on the list? See if your favorite leader made the cut.
If they didn't, tell us your favorites in the comments! While you're here, be sure to catch up on all your favorite sci-fi shows right here on TV Fanatic.
Dutch - Killjoys
Born as Yalena to a wealthy family, Dutch's life has been anything but easy. After her family lost everything, she began her combat training at the tender age of eight, making her the strongest killjoy in the RAC. Her strength is only a part of what makes her a good leader. She shows respect to all walks of life and earns the respect she gets back. Plus, she's smart as a whip, making her a valuable leader and partner with the Jaqobis.
Olivia Dunham - Fringe
FBI special agent, Olivia Dunham, will go to any lengths to get the job done. Even if that includes dropping acid and locking herself in a deprivation tank. She may be extreme at times, but it works for her. She has a kind heart and is essential to lead the charge in solving the Fringe mystery alongside Peter, Walter, and Astrid.
Daenerys Targaryen - Game of Thrones
Starting out as a piece of meat, given to Khal Drogo as payment for an army by her brother, Daenerys Targaryen has come a long way. After Drogo's death, she started to come into her own and, when her dragons are born, the Dothraki proclaimed her as their queen. Her leadership grew in time with her dragon babies.
Dana Scully - The X-Files
Scully, the ever-present skeptic, keeping Mulder's feet on the ground. Sometimes. She doesn't just fall in line with whatever Mulder believes about the X-files. If she did, the pair wouldn't discover as many secrets. Luckily, Scully's her own person and is only swayed when all evidence shows faulty.
Zoe Washburne - Firefly
Zoe is a lethal fighter and a loyal first mate, but she's not afraid to disobey orders with which she doesn't agree. That doesn't make her a lousy crew member; it means she has her own mind and isn't afraid to use it. Those are good qualities in a leader.
River Song - Doctor Who
River Song, aka Melody Pond, was the wife of the Doctor. She not only traveled with the Doctor, she too has Time Lord DNA. Even though she was brainwashed to kill the Doctor, and did, her cunning brought him back. She fought countless enemies, ultimately sacrificing herself for her husband, the Doctor.
Wynonna - Wynonna Earp
Inheriting a rootin' tootin' talent for weaponry from the great Wyatt Earp, Wynonna has the skills to battle her enemies. Using her wits, and a bit of humor, she fights mysterious creatures alongside her fellow Marshalls to rid her town of them for good.
Bo - Lost Girl
Poor Bo didn't know she was a Succubus until she accidentally killed her high school boyfriend, so she didn't start out a leader. She hid for many years until the light Fae found her, while under attack by dark Fae. Bo's fighting skills came in pretty handy defending the light Fae and earned her the respect and followers she needed to protect her Fae and human family.
Liv - iZombie
Okay, so Liv has to feed on brains once a month to survive. That doesn't make her any less effective as a leader. She could simply eat the brains, but she doesn't. Liv uses the memories and traits from the brains she eats to solve the mysteries of their deaths. Well, when life gives you lemons, as they say.
Clarke Griffin - The 100
Just because you're labeled a juvenile delinquent, doesn't mean you can't be a fierce leader. Look at Clarke! She may have started out as a medical apprentice, but she grew into a leader alongside Bellamy, negotiating peace and fighting armies.
Captain Kathryn Janeway - Star Trek Voyager
Captain Janeway was not only the captain of the USS Voyager, but she also fought to save her crew when they got lost in the Delta Quadrant. She never gave up, and it took her seven years to bring them all home. That takes some serious chops and stamina, and if that doesn't make her a great leader, nothing does.
Diana - V
Not all strong leaders are good, as Diana proves. She was downright evil in her alien ways, both to humans and to her own beings, but she commanded leadership. She had a presence and confidence that made those who listened to her to follow her, even if they didn't know they should fear her.
Gwen Cooper - Torchwood
Gwen Cooper didn't always fight for aliens. She found the Torchwood group working as a cop, but quickly became an alien fighter to be reckoned with. She saved the world over and over with her badassery and impressed us all.
Sarah Manning - Orphan Black
Sarah is a fierce and brave chameleon who leads the clones with patience and street smarts. She uses the lessons she learned from her mother to devise a plan to defeat her enemies and win herself and the clones their freedom.
Kiera - Continuum
Kiera, a tough cop from the future, is stuck in the present chasing around eight members of Liber8, a criminal organization in the future. Teaming up with local law enforcement and using her unique communication skills, Kiera works to round up the bad guys before they change the future for good.
Michele - 3%
Michele might have started out naive, but she's always believed in justice. Her drive may come from seeking revenge for her brother's death and clearing his name, but her overall goal is to make a better world for everyone.
Michael Burnham - Star Trek Discovery
Human-born and raised on Vulcan, Michael Burnham was raised to be a leader. Even stripping her of her rank and throwing her in prison didn't keep her down for long. She earned her rank back on Discovery because of her help in ending the war. Impressive.
Eleven - Stranger Things
Eleven might be a young girl, but that doesn't make her any less of a leader. She's marched into danger again and again to save her friends and the town she now calls home. She'll stop at nothing to protect the people she loves, even if that means she dies in the process. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
Madison - Fear the Walking Dead
Starting from the neighborhood lockdown, Madison has led her family through the tangled zombie-sphere. Her actions at times may have looked unethical, but everything she did was for her children's survival. Every group she joined looked to her for guidance, and she gave her life to protect the ones she loved.
Maggie - The Walking Dead
Maggie started out with a stable upbringing by her father, Herschel, who led by example, and she learned how to make good and fair decisions. She's also a big sister with a big heart, but she's nobody's fool. Maggie's an independent woman with a fair hand, and that's why people follow her.
Simone - The Rain
Simone spent six years with her brother down in a bunker when the world went to hell. When it was time for them to venture out into the world, she had no choice but to lead. Fortunately, she was strong and smart, so she lived up to the task of protecting herself, her brother, and their new group of friends.
Aeryn Sun - Farscape
Aeryn Sun was raised to be a soldier, but she didn't just succeed at it, she excelled and moved quickly up the Peacekeeper ranks. Although raised in a cold environment, she learned how to be a loyal friend and crewmate. That's what made her a well-rounded leader and fearless badass.
Chrisjen Avasarala - The Expanse
Avasarala, the Secretary-General of the United Nations on Earth, has worked her way up the ranks without ever winning an election. She gets by on her ruthless cunning and high intellect. She puts Earth first, always, and has put her life on the line to protect her planet and its people more than once.
Starbuck - Battlestar Galactica
People could say Starbuck was a good leader because she would shoot anything, do anything, and had a cockiness about her that would make people feel like she was safe to follow. But having those qualities alone didn't make her a good leader. She was also selfless, damaged, and down to earth. That's what gave her strong leadership skills.
Sam Carter - Stargate SG-1
Sam Carter was not only a brilliant astrophysicist, engineer, and pilot, she was instrumental in building the Stargate Program. She got promoted to the well-deserved rank of commander. Her knowledge of alien technology and her intelligence made her effective in her leadership role.
Kira Nerys: Star Trek Deep Space 9
The question isn't what made Kira an effective leader, but what didn't make her an effective leader. Starting as a child, she volunteered for any mission she could, finally making officer rank on Deep Space 9. She not only led the charge through battles and wars but assumed command of the ship after the war too. That's lifelong dedication.
Caitlin Strucker - The Gifted
You might be surprised to see Caitlin on the list of leaders from a mutant show when she has no mutant powers, but she doesn't need them. She's a strong woman who fights to the best of her human ability and uses her nursing skills to heal and further the fight for mutant rights.