10 C-Drama With Strong Female Lead Characters for International Women's Day Inspiration

Chinese drama strong female lead

To wish everyone a Happy International Women's Day today, we listed 10 Chinese dramas between 2021 to 2023 in different genres that have a strong female lead character

We define a strong female character as someone who shows independence, emotional strength, resilience, courage, and bravery in the drama. 

Someone who outpowers the male lead, and emerges as the best character in the entire drama with a lot of progress and development, and not someone who, after so many twists and turns, still needs to be rescued by the male lead. 

We give weights to the emotional strength of the character because during trying times, when we are hit by challenges and difficulties, it's our emotional stability that saves the day.

Our survival depends on how mentally and emotionally strong we are. Our growth and balance in life always depends on how stable our emotional aspects. 

The following are some of the Chinese dramas we know (between 2021 to 2023) that are carried by the strength, energy, and steadfastness of the main female lead.

10. Stand by Me (2023)

  • Main leads: Zhao Jinmai and Bai Yufan
  • Genre: Youth Modern Drama
  • Episodes: 30
  • Original network: Mango TV
  • Douban score: 8.2
Zhao Jinmai as Luo Qiqi delivered a great performance in this drama. This is so far her best acting portrayal in her career as far as dramatic elements are considered.

Chinese drama strong female lead
Zhao Jinmai in Stand by Me 

The way she cries and is rebellious at the same time will easily draw you to the story. She receives a lot of praise for her acting in this drama.

Her role is almost similar to Growing Pain, in which she starred with Guo Junchen in 2019 and in the 2022 second season. But her Luo Qiqi character has a lot more dynamic, strength and steadfastness. 

9. Back From The Brink (2023)

  • Main leads: Neo Hou
  • Genre: Costume fantasy/xianxia
  • Episodes: 40
  • Original network: Youku
  • Douban score: 7.2
Back From The Brink is not a female-centric drama, but somehow Zhou Ye's character managed to overpower the strength of the main male protagonist played by Neo Hou. 

Chinese drama strong female lead
Zhou Ye as Yan Hui

This is the only drama of Zhou Ye so far that I am impressed with her acting ability. The way she added grit to the character of Yan Hui is so convincing. 

All throughout the drama, Yan Hui emerges as the main heroine, helping Tian Yao (Neo Hou) rebuild his life and dignity, and recover what he had lost in the past. 

At every turn, Yan Hui is the most courageous and adventurous character in the drama who always puts her life at risk to make Tian Yao safe and alive. She endures a lot of sacrifices to save the people she loves. 

8. Delicious Romance (2021)

  • Main leads: Li Chun, Baby Zhang, and Naomi Wang
  • Genre: Modern/Romance/Slice of Life
  • Episodes: 20
  • Original network: Tencent
  • Douban score: 8.1
Delicious Romance is probably one of the most underrated C-dramas in recent years. If you're a woman and looking for something to inspire you to get on with life after hitting rock bottom, this is a good drama to watch.

Chinese drama strong female lead
Naomi Wang, Li Chun, and Baby Zhang

The three female leads are both empowering women, having their individual stories of strength to tell, which is appropriate for this International Women's Day celebration. 

Liu Jing (Li Chun), Fang Xin (Baby Zhang), and Xia Meng (Naomi Wang) are best friends who are navigating their lives during the pandemic through different challenges in life - divorce, family, career, finances, and social expectations, pretty much relatable to all of us. 

Three modern women who experienced life's ups and downs but through their independence, courage, and resilience, they triumph over misfortunes and trials, inspiring us to live life as it happens. 

7. The Long Ballad (2021)

  • Main leads: Dilraba Dilmurat and Wu Lei
  • Genre: Costume/Action/Romance
  • Episodes: 49
  • Original network: Tencent
  • Douban score: 6.1

This is the only drama of Dilraba Dilmurat that I am truly impressed with her acting, and drawn to her persona. Li Chang Ge is so far her best portrayal and her most impressive drama role with a lot of character development. 

Chinese drama strong female lead
Dilraba Dilmurat as Li Changge

Li Chang Ge's life is tumultuous and unfortunate. A princess whose entire family is murdered due to a power struggle of relatives, and she is left without a home and loved ones, 

But her journey to revenge, redemption, and emotional healing, is what makes Li Chang Ge a truly fascinating female character in a drama. She did not confine herself to the corner of angst and remorse, she dealt her fate with a lot of heart for growth and faith, and a desire for peace and reconciliation. 

6. The Legend of Zhuohua (2023)

  • Main leads: Jing Tian, Feng Shaofeng
  • Genre: Costume/Historical/Romance
  • Episodes: 40
  • Original network: Tencent
  • Douban score: 6.9
Well, Jing Tian always plays a strong female character in all the dramas she starred in since her debut, so watching another strong female character, Mu Zhuo Hua, in The Legend of Zhuohua is no longer surprising.

Chinese drama strong female lead
Jing Tian as Mu Zhuohua

Mu Zhuohua is a woman who resists the traditional marriage system and is determined to gain fame as an official. Having this kind of strength as a woman during ancient times is somewhat empowering, considering the strong patriarchal system and dominance of men during ancient times.

5. Stand or Fall (2023)

  • Main leads: Qin Lan, Wang Yang
  • Genre: Modern/Office Drama/Romance
  • Episodes: 32
  • Original network: Tencent
  • Douban score: 6.3
Have not watched this, but based on its reviews in Douban, this drama sounds to be another story of an empowering woman in contemporary times whom we all can relate to, especially those who are struggling in the workplace.

Chinese drama strong female lead
Qin Lan as Guan Wen 

Guan Wen (played by Qin Lan) has a thriving career in a foreign company. She is known as an “invincible opponent for unreasonable clients”. But one day, she was framed by her subordinates in the workplace. So she chose to resign without the security of another job.

She is banking on her work experience and skills. It is said that when you are over thirty and have accumulated a lot of work experience, it is easier to find a good job. Surprisingly, Guan Wen finds it difficult to get a job (I feel her OMG! 😄). 

After failing many interviews, she chooses a job inside a mall that just opened, which is below her career stature. In addition to her downgrading career, this mall has a trouble of its own. It is struggling and cannot attract business and investors. 

She met Ding Ning (Wang Yang), her former college sweetheart and a cold-blooded workplace "assassin", who is very demanding and intimidating. 

The relationship between the two went from being entangled with each other to being ambiguous, and then from breaking the ice and holding hands to taking a sudden turn. 

4. A Journey To Love (2023)

  • Main leads: Liu Shishi, Liu Yuning
  • Genre:Costume/Suspense
  • Episodes: 40
  • Original network: iQIYI
  • Douban score: 6.4
This is so far the most badass role that Liu Shishi played. Her character as a female assassin overpowers all the boys in the drama and she can slay without mercy.

Chinese drama strong female lead
Liu Shishi as Ren Ruyi

Ren Ruyi is a strong female character, fearless, fierce, and deadly. She is a highly skilled martial artist who is ready to defend her country and the people she cherishes but with a heart and not just a cold-blooded assassin. 

But there's something in her character development that loosens its strength (it's not Liu Shishi's fault, it's the scriptwriter's flaw that made Ren Ruyi inconsistent), wrapping it uneventfully. Nonetheless, Ren Ruyi is still a highly empowering drama character.

3. A Lifelong Journey (2022)

  • Main leads: Song Jia, Lei Jiayin, Yin Tao, Xin Baiqing, and Ding Yongdai
  • Genre: Period/Family Life
  • Episodes: 58
  • Original network: iQIYI, CCTV
  • Douban score: 8.4
This is a family drama that chronicles the three generations of the Zhou family at a time when China was facing difficult times during the Cultural Revolution and transitioning into embracing various reforms. 

Chinese drama strong female lead
The Zhou Family

In 50 years, the Zhou family has been swept by the tides of change in China and The Zhou family tries to beat the odds and works hard to create a better life for them. There's a strong message of women's empowerment woven into this drama, each presents a different story of resilience and courage. 

2. Wild Bloom (2022)

  • Main leads: Zhao Liying, Ou Hao, and Li Guangjie
  • Genre: Period/Business Life
  • Episodes: 36
  • Original network: iQIYI
  • Douban score: 8.2
Zhao Liying played Xu Banxia, a strong female character who needed to rise above inconveniences during the waning period of the Cultural Revolution when China began to open up to the world through its economic reforms.

Chinese drama strong female lead
Zhao Liying as Xu Banxia

Due to her strong portrayal in this drama, Zhao Liying earned a Best Actress nomination at the 28th Magnolia Awards, one of China's major award-giving bodies for TV excellence, presented by the Shanghai International Film Festival. 

Wild Bloom (its plot is almost similar to Blossoms Shanghai) is a period drama that tells the story of aspiring people headed by Xu Banxia (Zhao Liying), embracing innovation during the time China started opening up to the world.

It shows the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in the 1990s and the reality of surviving and seeking development in the tide of the times. 

1. Parallel World (2023)

  • Main leads: Ni Ni and Bai Yu
  • Genre: Adventure/Fantasy
  • Episodes: 38
  • Original network: Tencent
  • Douban score: 6.8
Ye Liuxi (Ni Ni) is the strongest female character in the C-drama I have watched in recent years, and Ni Ni really nailed her role in this drama! 

Chinese drama strong female lead
Ni Ni as Ye Liuxi

Ni Ni made Ye Liuxi a badass character who can be fearsome and unflinching at every turn. She can be deadly under any circumstance but is kindest to the people she cares the most.

The intrepid adventures she undergoes in the frightening world of so many supernatural elements, pump thrills and suspense, and Liuxi remains unperturbed by the danger around her, We can't help but wish to have at least a portion of her bravery and resilience to fight the odds and demons in life.

But despite appearing rambunctious and fearsome, Liuxi is a gorgeous and beautiful woman who can melt even the coldest man's heart. 

Liuxi is a fearless woman who can kick someone hard in the ass, but she is so easy to be loved and appreciated because she can be sweet and kind.

Ni Ni's chemistry with Bai Yu who played Chang Dong is so electrifying. Their rapport is just so sweet to watch. And for the first time, I began seeing Bai Yu in a different light - more on the hotness and handsomeness side of life. 😂

They are our top 10 choices of strong female lead characters in Chinese drama between 2021 to 2023. You can share your choices too. Happy International Women's Day!

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