How Grey’s Anatomy’s Empowered Female Characters Are Inspiring Us
Now approaching its record-shattering 15th season, Grey's Anatomy is a pop culture monument. Simply put, the series strikes an emotional chord with people, especially women who see themselves in the shoes of strong female characters such as Meredith Grey and Miranda Bailey. In addition to being talented surgeons, these doctors are complex, passionate people who face challenges with gumption and heart. Below, we're sharing our favorite Grey's Anatomy moments that empower women and inspire fans to be their best selves. You may want to rewatch these moments before tuning into the two-hour premiere on Sept. 27.
Maggie and Meredith Support Amelia During Her Brain Tumor Operation
Grey's Anatomy celebrates sisterhood, quite literally, with Meredith, Maggie, and Amelia's unbreakable bond. Meredith's sister and sister-in-law become the general surgeon's biggest support systems after Derek dies. They help her take care of her kids, process her grief, and even fight for the pay she deserves as the new chief of general surgery. Meredith is also present for her sisters when Amelia is nervous about her wedding and when Maggie's mother dies. Their interactions often take the form of hilarious car rides, but they're also there for each other's scariest moments.
In season 14, the women fight one of their biggest battles together when Amelia learns about her brain tumor. In an emotional scene, Amelia shows Maggie her brain scans and, with every ounce of vulnerability in her heart, asks for her help telling Owen and Meredith. After both sisters find out, they show their support for Amelia during every step of the operation. They truly take care of each other, making us love Grey's not only for its romantic gestures, but also for its meaningful female friendships.
Meredith’s Harper Avery Win
The 300th episode of Grey's Anatomy ends on an extra special note. For her innovative abdominal wall surgery on Megan Hunt, Meredith receives the prestigious Harper Avery award. Her win is a treat for fans who have watched their beloved dark and twisty heroine develop throughout the years. It embraces her professional milestones, as well as her character growth. In his speech for Meredith's award, Jackson emphasizes her surgical gifts, as well as her reputation as a loving mother, sister, and friend who is all too familiar with tragedy. He points out that Meredith turns all of that loss into a "drive to save lives."
This moment is one of many where Grey's Anatomy celebrates womanhood through the triumph of a layered female character. We see no notes of bitterness or rivalry — everyone at Grey Sloan is genuinely thrilled for Mer. Her inspirational win moves us to work hard and support our loved ones.
Jo Confronts Her Abusive Husband
Jo is a freaking warrior queen, Grey Sloan's hardworking chief resident, and Meredith indispensable second-hand woman. Still, she's had to work through her demons. In Grey's 14th season, the doctor faces none other than her abusive estranged husband Paul. He's there with his fiancée Jenny, asking Jo to sign divorce papers. The episode is titled "1-800-799-7233," appropriately named after the number of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. It ends with Jo's actress, Camilla Luddington, reminding viewers that psychological abuse is also a form of domestic violence.
Jo's story reminds us the importance of women supporting each other. Throughout her encounter with Paul, Arizona, Meredith, and Helm look out for Jo's wellbeing by making sure that she's never alone with him. Listening to her conscience, Jo also confesses to Jenny about Paul's abusive behavior. Together, the women form an alliance, and tell Paul that they're taking him to court.
Chief Bailey Goes on Sabbatical
Miranda is the first female chief of surgery at Grey Sloan. In season 14, she navigates some of the biggest challenges that the hospital faces, including a cybersecurity hack and Dr. Vikram Roy's lawsuit threats. While juggling the hospital's affairs, Chief Bailey also works on a colonoscopy device called the Trailblazer. Needless to say, she's a busy woman with a lot going on for her.
One of her biggest hurdles since becoming chief is her health scare, which encourages her to be more in tune with her mind and body. Checking in at Seattle Presbyterian, she correctly suspects that she has a heart attack — emphasizing to her skeptical physician that symptoms manifest differently in men and women. This ordeal reminds her that she's worthy of doing what she loves and of taking a break. When we last see her, the chief decides to go on a well-deserved sabbatical, talking to Teddy about an open interim chief position. Her experience empowers women to trust their instincts and to allow themselves to make time for rest in their busy lives.
Jackson and Meredith Develop the Catherine Fox Foundation
Grey's Anatomy has consistently shown women being supported and respected in the workplace. Meredith has even mentioned that the hospital is her safe place, even calling it her sanctuary. Upon learning about the sexual harassment allegations against Harper Avery, she realizes that this was not always the case.
In the eye of the storm, Catherine, the chairwoman of the Harper Avery Foundation, wants to foot the blame instead of going against the women hurt by her ex-father-in-law. But instead of letting her take the fall, Jackson and Meredith honor Catherine's dedication to medicine by dissolving the Harper Avery Foundation and launching the Catherine Fox Foundation. The latter will maintain the previous organization's funds while repaying, retraining, and rehiring the women abused by Harper Avery. Grey's navigates this storyline about the unsavory revelations of power abuse by honoring a powerful woman with integrity, and showing how organizations can support women hurt by their figureheads.