Why the Women on the Big Bang Theory Are the Best Role Models on TV: It’s about more than just how great geek girls are, you know
Posted on Mar 4, 2015 02:25pm

The Big Bang Theory has long been loved for bringing nerd culture to the mainstream, reminding us that smart is cool and that comic books aren’t just for kids. But once you sift through the Star Trek references and string theory research, you’ll find the show isn’t just a celebration of MENSA-level genius — it’s also a show that commemorates strong women.

While the women aren’t always in the spotlight, their characteristics challenge gender stereotypes in both the realms of academia and the social world. Penny, Amy, and Bernadette inspire women of all ages to embrace what they love without shame, and remind them that they can be just as smart and as valuable as the boys — or smarter, for that matter.

Let’s take a look at each of these powerhouse women.


Penny may not be on the same academic playing field as the others, but you’d be wrong to assume she’s not smart. Sure, she doesn’t have a Ph.D, but she’s proof that street smarts and social skills can be just as valuable. It’s these skills that helped her bring our lovable, nerdy crew together in the first place.

Without Penny, Bernadette and Howard might have never met, Sheldon would have probably been too afraid to commit to his relationship with Amy, and Raj — well, he would’ve been fine. What’s important is that it took a supposed non-genius to unite a group of geniuses.

Penny’s also an incredibly hard worker who is dedicated to pursuing her dreams. While the others went to college, Penny devoted her time to auditioning. Having a job at the Cheesecake Factory in order to support herself financially might not be as prestigious as working in a microbiology lab, but her passion for acting is just as admirable.

Unlike the others, Penny follows her heart instead of her head, making her a trusting and loyal friend. Need someone to talk to? She’s there, no question about it. She’s forgiving and empathetic, and those are qualities the other characters sometimes have a hard time understanding.

But just because she sees the good in people doesn’t mean she lets others walk all over her. She’s not afraid to call out her friends if they’re being bullies, or if they question her intelligence. Penny doesn’t let Leonard push her around, and she’s made it quite clear that she won’t be swayed to make important decisions unless she’s convinced she’s ready.

Amy Farah Fowler

Amy’s brilliant. She studied at Harvard and has her Ph.D. in neurobiology. She genuinely loves what she does, and she’s not about to apologize for it.

What’s refreshing about Amy is that she doesn’t let her work define who she is. So many powerful women on television are depicted as workaholics who have to sacrifice their social and romantic lives in order to get ahead in their career fields. But, Amy already feels confident in her career, and she’s ready to explore other areas of her life.

Since meeting Penny, Amy has taken an interest in developing female friendships and doing things outside of the lab. She has finally learned that she can take some time away from her studies to grab a few drinks with friends, go shopping, and even fall in love — she’s even mentioned marriage as part of her five-year plan!

Like everyone, Amy has her own issues that make her relatable and human. Although she loves Sheldon, she’s insecure about her relationship, and craves more of a human connection with him. With Penny’s help, she’s started to stand up for herself and has demanded that Sheldon treats her with the respect she deserves. In fact, she even dumped Sheldon once for saying that her career was inferior to his! Go girl!


Bernadette’s the most outspoken woman on the show. While she’s sweet, she’s also not afraid to bite back if someone insults her. Hey, as a woman in a male-dominated profession, who can really blame her?

Like Penny, Bernadette worked at the Cheesecake Factory in order to support her dream. But instead of acting, she devoted her time to getting her Ph.D. in microbiology and now works at a pharmaceutical company. Despite making her husband Howard a bit uncomfortable, Bernadette isn’t apologetic for having pursued a higher education than him. He knows that her choice was best for her, and wasn’t made for anyone else.

Unlike a lot of TV relationships, Bernadette is portrayed as the dependent character who has her life in line instead of Howard. When they got married, Howard moved into her apartment since he was still living with his mother.

Bernadette is a natural competitor, which she credits to having five siblings. Sometimes her persistent attitude can come across as mean-spirited and pushy, but there’s no denying that she fights for what she wants until she gets it.

In addition to being interested in science, Bernadette isn’t afraid to embrace her more feminine side. She’s interested in fashion, hair, and makeup and even participated in beauty pageants as a girl. All this proves is that women can definitely be smart and pretty — there doesn’t need to be a choice between the two!