7 Favorite Female Punk Bands for International Women's Day

Riot Grrrls, Post-Punk, Protest Punk. We love em' all.

March 8, 2019

(Photo by Chris Moorhouse/Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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In honor of International Women's Day, we want to throw a spotlight on a few of our favorite female/female-centric artists in the punk rock scene. 

They are listed in no particular order - We wouldn't pit women against each other on International Women's Day.

There are definitely some women missing from the list. Feel free to add them in the comments. 

Siouxsie and the Banshees

Susan Janet Ballion known as Siouxsie Sioux began her music career as the frontwoman with the punk band Siouxsie & the Banshees.

This female fronted punk rock band formed in London in 1976. Their debut album “The Scream” was released in 1978.

Patti Smith Group

Patti Smith is sometimes called the Godmother of Punk. She's sometimes called the Punk Poet Laureate. 

She broke onto the scene with the 1975 debut album “Horses” which fused poetry and punk. 

X-Ray Spex

Poly Styrene and Joan Elliott-Said (vocals) Jak Airport (guitar) Paul Dean (bass) Lora Logic (saxophone)

This pioneering female punk band formed in London in 1976. They were short-lived, only together for five singles and one album, “Germfree Adolescents.” The band’s work carries a strong anti-consumerism theme.

By 1979 the band was no more, but their music endures. The single “Oh Bondage Up Yours” is a classic.

Bikini Kill -
If there was a queen of the Riot Grrrls it was Kathleen Hanna, the frontwoman of Bikini Kill. Like most great things in the ’90s, this band sprung from Washington state, not Seattle, but Olympia. Kathleen Hanna (vocals) Billy Karren (guitar) Tobi Vail (drums). The band pushed for a female-centric environment at shows, bringing all the women to the front of the stage, handing out lyric sheets to them.The band’s debut album “Pussy Whipped” was released in 1993.

Babes in Toyland

Kat Bjelland (vocalist/guitarist) Lori Barbero (drums) Maureen Herman (bass) Herman left the band and Clara Salyer is the current bassist. 
This 90’s band was formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1987. Babes in Toyland Released three studio albums. “Fontanelle,” released in 1992 was considered their most successful. The group disbanded in 1997 but reunited in 2014.

Pussy Riot -

This Russian punk protest band was Founded in 2011. The group is comprised of a variable membership of 11 women. They are known for their guerrilla performances in public places. Their music centers around Feminism, LGBTQ rights, and opposition to Vladimir Putin.

The group has no conventional albums, but their songs and music are readily available across the internet. 

The Slits

Ari Up, Palmolive, Viv Albertine, Tessa Pollitt.

The group formed in London in 1976. They supported The Clash on tour several times and their debut 1979 debut album “Cut” is a classic punk staple.