As a part of our ongoing coverage of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Oola is highlighting inspiring women across a variety of sectors.
Whatever genre interests you, there’s bound to be a podcast to help you delve deeper into the subject, help you explore a new angle, or teach you something new. True crime, human behavior, pop culture, education, history, self-help, philosophy, and comedy barely scratch the surface of the number of genres and podcasts available for your listening pleasure.
The most popular podcasts tend to be hosted by men, but there are some amazing podcasts hosted by strong, interesting, powerful, smart, and hilarious women. Whether new to the podcast world, revisiting old favorites, or wanting to explore new subjects, there's something on this list to check out. Read on for our favorite podcasts hosted by some amazingly talented women.
Everyone's favorite author, social worker, researcher, and self-proclaimed awkward person, Brené Brown tops our list of female-hosted podcasts. In Unlocking Us, she has meaningful and sometimes difficult conversations with people from all walks of life. Unlocking Us explores issues like FFTs (f*cking first times), navigating the pandemic, authenticity, and vulnerability. Sometimes with others and sometimes just speaking to the listeners. The first episode premiered at the beginning of the pandemic and BB has been there for us throughout.
Episodes with Alicia Keys, President Joe Biden, and Dolly Parton, stand out as some of the most interesting and thought-provoking, but all the episodes are wonderful. Start with your favorite guests, or go in order. Once you finish Unlocking Us, check out the TED Talk star's latest podcast, Dare to Lead.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. This podcast inspires us to challenge ourselves and make changes in our lives.
We love women supporting women and Call Your Girlfriend's hosts Aminatou Sow, Ann Friedman, and producer Gina Delvac claim their attitude is "collaboration, not competition." Being able to vent to your besties in a space that is safe is invaluable and listening in on these conversations feels just like that. The podcast started in 2014 and the first episode discussed everything from Obamacare to Beyoncé.
Throughout the years, the podcast has tackled topics about women's health, politics, feminism, and much more. In 2018 Vice President Kamala Harris, (then a senator from California) visited the podcast to speak about policy goals, accomplishments, and her wonderfully optimistic outlook, which ultimately changed the face of America. Likely, people won't mispronounce her name anymore.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama has in-depth conversations with friends, family, and somewhat randomly Conan O'Brien about relationships, marriage, community, raising kids, and more. The podcast began at the beginning of quarantine and her first guest was President Obama, in which they spoke about their different upbrings, meeting each other, finding their passions, sacrifices, and ultimately becoming involved with politics and community service.
It's like a sneak peek into a dinner conversation at the Obama's table that people (yes, even those on the opposite side of the political spectrum) will benefit from listening to. Other episodes cover topics like women's health, friendships among women, mentors in the workplace, family relationships, and growing up on the Southside of Chicago.
From the creators of This American Life, Serial has won every major award for broadcasting, including the first-ever Peabody awarded to a podcast. The same production company is responsible for 2017's wildly popular S-Town in 2017.
Although this is a true-crime podcast, host Sarah Koenig's voice and storytelling style are so comforting. In case you've been living under a rock, season one of Serial (released in 2014) follows the story surrounding the 1999 murder of teenager Hae Min Lee. Adnan Sayed was arrested and charged with her disappearance and death, but the details surrounding the murder are hazy. As an investigative reporter, Koenig poses questions that seemingly no one else cared to answer.
The second season follows the story of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier who walked away from his post in Afghanistan and was captured and detained for five years by a Taliban-aligned insurgent group.
Serial's third season looks at ordinary court cases in Cleveland, Ohio to unravel the mystery surrounding the judicial system. The stories are complicated and compelling and Koenig is the guide through it all.
Latin for "invisible things," NPR podcast Invisibilia features hour-long stand-alone episodes about invisible forces in our lives. Topics center around how behavior, ideas, emotions, beliefs, assumptions, and thoughts shape our lives.
In the first season, Alix Spiegel and Lulu Miller (who sound very much alike) tell stories and interview people who are having sometimes hilarious, sometimes terrifying, and always intriguing experiences.
The hosts have changed over the years. Hanna Rosin joined the show in the second season, and in 2021, NPR announced the new hosts Yowei Shaw and Kia Miakka Natisse, who previously worked as producers on the show. We are excited to hear more from these women to see what new issues the podcast will tackle in the winter of 2021.
Fans voted Office Ladies Podcast of the Year in 2021. Angela Kinsey (who played Angela) and Jenna Fischer (who played Pam) break down episodes of The Office in this wonderfully funny and heartwarming podcast. The two former costars talk about Office Easter eggs and their undying love for Keanu Reeves, as well as their personal lives.
Office Ladies episodes feature fast facts, deep-dives on interesting topics, and interviews with fellow castmates, directors, and guest stars. Each one focuses on one episode of The Office, so they can get a bit tedious. However, for fans of The Office, having people who were there share behind-the-scenes information only makes it more special. Re-watch all the episodes before listening, or just listen in order to reminisce and learn everything about your favorite Office episodes.
Currently, the duo is at 71 episodes with no sign of stopping anytime soon! The pair also announced that they are working on a book, called The Office BFFs, which is available for preorder now.
OITNB actress, producer, storyteller, and transgender icon Laverne Cox has a fun and thought-provoking new podcast. She's going "there" with her guests in this production from Shondaland Audio. On a mission to have a "spiritual makeover" for herself and listeners, Cox engages in conversations about an array of subjects that inspire and may even change worldviews.
According to Forbes, The Laverne Cox show "was created in hopes that it may foster perspectives that might inspire new behavior in each of us, to in turn get us closer to becoming the very best versions of ourselves." Cox does just that in her preliminary episode with guest Brené Brown (Brené all day!). The two break down issues surrounding race, gender imbalances, vulnerability, de-and re-humanization, and how we'll restore divisiveness in the US.
Although this is a newer podcast with only a few episodes out right now, we are excited to see where this podcast goes!
Lowes started the podcast back in 2018 when she had a newborn. Episodes cover perplexing parenthood puzzles, including breastfeeding, whether to hire a doula, IVF, adoption, postpartum, pregnancy, and parenting during a pandemic.
One reviewer raved, "I am loving this podcast! Katie packs every episode with tons of amazing content, guests, and interviews that will motivate, uplift, and inspire you. I highly recommend!"
UnF*ck Your Brain is a podcast that promises to do just that. Master Certified Confidence Coach Kara Loewentheil, J.D. walks you through ways your brain is playing mind-tricks on you in bite-sized 20-minute episodes. For instance, have you ever wondered if that little voice in your head that says something is a bad idea is anxiety or intuition? Listen to episode 148.
As a former lawyer, Loewentheil started the podcast to help her former cohorts, then quickly realized the material—family life, social life, imposter syndrome, people-pleasing, social conditioning, mindfulness—could resonate with a much wider audience. UFYB teaches how to overcome social conditioning and self-critical thoughts in order to reduce anxiety and insecurity, boost self-confidence, and get what you want in life.
And for the grand finale, we've saved the best for last. If you haven't heard Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark's wildly popular true-crime podcast My Favorite Murder, what are you even doing with your life? The California girls recount terrible tales infused with a tension-taming dose of comedy in this classic podcast that started a true crime empire. In addition to providing countless hours of entertainment, the dynamic duo has done much to normalize the stigma surrounding mental health. Way to make therapy cool, ladies!