Strong female presence

  • Female character may be either main protagonist or secondary character.
  • If secondary character, or in an ensemble, female character takes an active role in the development of the story, i.e. protagonist is an active party and doesn’t simply react to situations.
  • Either girls take on non-traditional roles or, if they take on a traditional role, they are not portrayed as weak. In either case, there is an active choice in what they do.
  • Protagonist does not depend on men to support her; she gains power through personal effort.


  • Three-dimensional with a back-story, personality, flaws, etc.
  • Characters are representative of different personalities, ages, backgrounds, relationships, ethnicities, etc.
  • Character is unique for the story - not a stock character, i.e. a “Mary-Sue.”
  • Characters are not defined exclusively by their relationships.
  • If protagonist is in a position of power, she uses her power for purposeful action.
  • Protagonist grows in a positive manner and doesn’t stay dependent on others.


  • The storylines may come from multiple genres, which can address the interests of different girls.
  • Readers from different backgrounds can read the book and relate intellectually and emotionally to different aspects of the story.
  • Sexual or physical violence against women is not used as a plot device. Sexual/physical violence must be taken seriously and dealt with thoughtfully.


  • The art can be in any style or medium.
  • Images enhance the story, and are not used for meaningless shock value.
  • No matter the art’s style, women and girls are not hypersexualized.

Our thanks to the Ameila Bloomer Project which we referred to and helped us form many of our criteria.