The Most Important Life Lessons We Learned From Women in Sci-Fi

Science fiction creates incredible stories that push the limits of what's possible through depictions of fanciful futures and incredible technology—and one thing that makes sci-fi particularly revolutionary is its history of portraying powerful women.

Sci-fi frequently depicts women as its heroes, whether they're traveling through space, fighting killer robots or navigating the space time continuum. Clearly, these powerful ladies know what they're doing. Here are some of the most important lessons we've learned from them along the way.

Princess Leia (Star Wars)

Leia taught us that even when we're the only ladies in the room, we deserve just as much respect and recognition as the boys. Women are powerful and women are leaders—and when someone sarcastically calls us a princess, we own it.

Princess Leia briefs rebel pilots on Hoth base

(The Empire Strikes Back via Lucasfilm Ltd.)


Ellen Ripley (Alien franchise)

Ripley taught us that even when things seem hopeless and we're faced with the scariest of obstacles, we still have to fight to survive and protect the people we care about most. When those obstacles seem insurmountable, she demonstrates that you need to get creative and use all tools at your disposal to overcome them.

Ellen Ripley in Power Loader in Aliens

(Aliens via 20th Century Fox)


Zoe Washburne (Firefly)

Zoe taught us that even on a spaceship with the wiliest of crews, the biggest hero can be a woman. She's courageous, headstrong and a born leader who keeps her cool even when things are totally falling apart, and her ability to take control shows us that sometimes men can be the damsels in distress, in need of a woman to rescue them. Just because you're tough as nails doesn't mean you can't still be compassionate.

Gina Torres as Zoe Washburne in Firefly

(Firefly via 20th Century Fox Television)


Gamora (Guardians of the Galaxy)

Gamora taught us that we are not defined by our pasts. She knows that anything negative that has happened to her already cannot be changed and that what she's been through will help her see any positives in what's yet to come. She's proof that even when you're surrounded by bad apples, it's possible to find the good within yourself and do the right thing.

Zoe Saldana as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy

(Guardians of the Galaxy via Marvel Studios)


Sarah Connor (Terminator franchise)

Sarah Connor taught us that even when life deals us a bad hand, we have to take on the challenge and do what we can to make the most out of a less-than-perfect situation. We guide our own fates. Sarah shows that when every other option is exhausted, sometimes you just need to take matters into your own hands and make things happen.

Sarah Connor Terminator with dog

(The Terminator via Pacific Western Productions)


River Song (Doctor Who)

River Song taught us you're allowed to try on different things and experiment with different versions of yourself until you land on the one that's perfectly you. Even when she knows things are going to end badly, she shows grace and humility—and she confirms it'never cool to spoil the ending.

Alex Kingston as River Song in Doctor Who

(Doctor Who via the BBC)


Nyota Uhura (Star Trek)

Uhura taught us to always be confident and stand our ground, even when people are trying to stop us or convince us to take the easy way out. Sometimes, it makes sense to break the rules when those rules are stopping you from doing the right thing. She's also proof that it always helps to learn the language when you're traveling in a foreign land.

Zoe Saldana as Nyota Uhura in Star Trek

(Star Trek via Bad Robot Productions)


If you liked this list, click HERE to find out which female superhero you are based on your zodiac sign.