12 Must-Follow Instagram Accounts for the Empowered Woman

By Lauren McGoodwin

No need to spend time lurking your favorite accounts to find out where they get their inspiration — we already did the work for you.

Comparison really is the death of joy. Mark Twain had it right, all those years ago. At Career Contessa, we think your social media feeds shouldn’t be about comparison. They should actually be nothing short of witty, inspiring, roast-fully sarcastic, sassy, motivating and uplifting all at the same time. And to help you out, we compiled a list of our very favorite accounts — so grab your phone and get ready to “follow” along. (Haaa, get it?) It’s ok, we eye-rolled, too. Here’s our decisive list of the accounts every empowered woman simply must follow.

Women Under the Influence

All the female filmmakers who weren’t nominated at the Golden Globes (thank you, Natalie Portman.) A stream of incredible female-directed films, helping you support all the women in cinema, whose time isn’t up.

Girls At Library

Seriously, where would be without Girls At Library? GAL (for those in the know) is one of the best resources today for insightful interviews with intellectually savvy, creative women. This is a site that celebrates women who read and makes us want to read a lot more in 2018. Their Instagram account is there to make sure we stay on track.


Unbothered launched quietly a few weeks back, but it’s already garnered tons of fanfare. It’s a social offshoot created by Refinery29 that’s specifically targeted at (and run by) Black millennial women. This is one of the feeds we’ve needed more than anything — where you’ll find the real perspectives, real feelings, and real bodies of real women — that will lead you to demand “more voices like these, please.”

17.21 Women

A platform dedicated to showcasing absolutely incredible Asian-Pacific Islander women throughout history, whose stories have been left untold, or whose legacies have been forgotten with the passage of time. The feed is set up as a photo-journalism style of storytelling, and each post will uplift and motivate you — by remembering all of those who have come before us.

Rupi Kaur

She’s a poet and we all know it. She’s also an artist, photographer, and feminist. Her words have uplifted, challenged, and comforted so many of us — whether they’ve helped us embrace love, loss, revolution, or our own femininity — and there’s plenty more to come right there in her account. To be honest, there are few things better than scrolling along and finding one of Kaur’s aesthetically (and soulfully) pleasing poems pop up to brighten your day.

Elaine Welteroth

Up until a couple of weeks ago, the 31-year-old Welteroth was the editor behind Teen Vogue* which, if you haven’t been paying attention, is one of the most daring publications right now when it comes to speaking out against gender inequality. Recently, she announced she’s leaving the publication to a new, exciting project. What? You’ll need to follow her to find out.

*Since we’re on the subject, you might want to follow Teen Vogue’s newest sibling publication, Them, while you’re at it.


A bold, real, relevant and necessary feed run by Liz Plank, an award-winning journalist and the producer of the Divided States of Women podcast. Sometimes she’s sassy, sometimes she trolls us all with a meme, sometimes she roasts people, and sometimes she graces us with an uplifting dose of motivation. Regardless, it’s (dare we say “magically?”) always just what you need.

Girl Gaze Project

Started by a rad group of women including Amanda De Cadenet, Inez van Lamsweerde, and Amber Valetta, GirlGaze is a simple yet effective project: by showcasing photography and films made by Gen Z women, they seek to narrow the gender gap in a male-dominated industry. So basically, by following their Instagram account, you’ll flood your feed with the work of underrepresented women photographers and creatives. Sounds pretty glorious to us.

Female Collective

All about intersectionality, self-love, and loving other women, too. Intersectional feminism is the name of the game. Every post is simply empowering — and pulls us all a little closer together. Following this account feels like an act of rebellion. But you’re joining an entire empire of your sisters at the same time. Oh, and all those incredible feminist t-shirts you’ve been seeing around? Yeah, you can definitely find them here.

Natalie Morales

Trust us, you’ve seen her in something. Whether it was on Girls, one of her earliest roles, in Parks and Recreation, or more recently, in Battle of the Sexes, Natalie Morales has been sneaking into your consciousness, one comedic quip at a time. But it’s her refusal to play by the rules — or even acknowledge that some rules might exist — that lands her firmly on this roundup. She’s written outspoken op-eds about the problem with us romanticizing Cuba (her home country) and last June came out as queer in a letter on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. We have a feeling she’s got plenty more to say.

Issa Rae

Ummmmm, do we love her or do we LOVE her? Issa is our daily reminder that it’s OK to just be you. More than OK, actually — it’s essential. So make like Issa and embrace your awkward, insecure, badass, beautiful, paradoxical self, ladies. (Also, how do we have as much fun as she does? Like, every day? And while we’re at it — can we be invited to the next Malibu party?)

Career Contessa

Because unlike the traditional career site, we keep things fun yet informational. And it’s ok to be proud of your own feed!