World Features

Nine K-Dramas That Lead With No-Nonsense Female Characters

While Korean dramas have built a strong fanbase across the globe, its female characters are often described as ‘small’, ‘petite’, and ‘fragile’. However, in recent years, efforts have been made to write strong and impactful characters for women. If you are too tired of watching a K-drama with the leading lady as a damsel in distress, here is a list of nine K-dramas put together by Silverscreen India, with powerful female leads.

1. Search WWW (2019)

Set in the 21st century, this 16-episode drama is about three professional women- Bae Ta-mi (Im Soo-Jung), Cha Hyeon (Lee Da-hee), Song Ka-Kyung(Jeon Hye-jin), who are fighting to strive in the world of technology and ‘search engine’ industry.

2. Mystic Pop-up Bar (2020)

An occult fiction, this drama revolves around the story of a female ghost named Weol-Ju (Hwang Jung-eum) who is punished for 500 years and given the task of helping 1,00,000 humans in order to avoid hell. Weol-Ju runs a bar in Seoul to find troubled humans to fulfill her task. The 12 episode series highlights various social issues like vilification of women and sexual harassment at workplaces.  

3. Strong Girl Bong-Soon (2017)

Do Bong-soon (Park Bo-young) and her mother Hwang Yin-Ji (Shim Hye-jin) are far from ordinary. They come from a long line of women who have herculean physical strength. This leads Do Bong-soon to become a bodyguard of a troubled CEO, Ahn Min-Hyuk (Park Hyung-Sik). The series comprises 16 episodes and explores Bong-soon’s journey as a strong woman and an aspiring gamer.

4. Weightlifting fairy Kim Bok-joo (2016)

This 16-episode drama speaks about the life and struggle of a female weightlifter named Kim Bok-Joo (Lee Sung-Kyung). The series explores the stereotypes attached to weightlifters and how the female lead tackles them. The series also focuses on the lack of attention given to women in weightlifting in South Korea as compared to gymnastics.

5. Crash Landing on You (2019)

A global fashion and cosmetic company’s CEO Yoon Se-ri (Son Ye-jin), in a paragliding mishap, ends up at North Korean town.  Directed by a North Korea defector, Lee Hung-Hyo, this romantic drama gives vivid details of life in North Korea and the world of women there.  

6. It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (2020)

Available on Netflix, this romantic drama is 16 episodes long and normalises talks on mental health. The series introduces a strong female lead Ko Moon-Yeong (Seo Yea-Ji) and brings another strong character during its runtime. The main plot revolves around the romantic relationship between Mun-Yeong, who struggles with socialising and Moon Kang-Tae (Kim Soo-Hyun), who is a health-care provider. 

7. One Spring Night (2019)

This K-drama explores the romance between a single father, Yu Ji-ho (Jung Hae-In), and Lee Jeong-in (Han Ji-min), a librarian, who is in an unhappy relationship with Kwon Gi-Seok (Kim Joon-Han). The 16-episode series is a refreshing take on South Korean romance and streams on Netflix. 

8. Hi Bye Mama (2020)

Available on Netflix, the plotline of this drama revolves around mother Cha Yu-ri (Kim Tae-hee), her daughter Cho Seo-woo (Seo Woo-jin), and the daughter’s step-mother Oh Min-jung (Go Bo-gyeol). After the mother dies in an unfortunate accident, leaving behind her newly born daughter, this is a warm tale of trust existing between women. The drama tries to change the audience’s perspective of stepmothers and relationships between women.

9. Something in the Rain 

The literal translation of this Korean drama is ‘Pretty Noona (sister) who buys me food’. The series is 16 episodes long and has a fresh take on gender roles. The drama revolves around the relationship between a career woman, Yoon Jin-a (Son Ye-jin), and her best friend’s younger brother Seo Joon-hee (Jung Hae-in) and proves to be a refreshing change from the common male savior trope.