Too often, Star Trek fans tend to focus on the amazing male friendships amongst Starfleet officers (Kirk and Spock, Data and Geordie, Picard and Number One, O’Brien and Bashir.) Yet Starfleet has produced some amazing female friendships and enviably strong and accomplished women. The perfect squad contains women with skills, talents and the ability to get things done. The women of Starfleet may span several centuries, species and areas of expertise, but their common talents are their courage, competence and dedication to their continuing mission to explore strange new worlds – and boldly go where no one has gone before.
Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher – The Next Generation
These two have to be mentioned together, as the highest ranking women on the Enterprise-D and as close friends. Both are incredibly intelligent and accomplished. While it’s hopeful that more women are active in STEM fields by the twenty-fourth century, Dr. Beverly Crusher has managed to become one of the most prominent doctors in Starfleet Medical, even briefly commanding the organization. She has an excellent sense of work/life balance as a single mother to her teenaged son, Wesley. Betazed Deanna Troi has advanced degrees in psychology, and seems to be the head of human resources for a ship of over 2,000 crew members – definitely women to respect.
Colonel Kira Nerys – Deep Space Nine
Colonel Kira starts Deep Space Nine deeply opposed to the idea of the Federation and Starfleet. A Bajoran, she had fought against her planet’s occupation as a member of the Bajoran resistance. Kira has a fierce sense of protectiveness for her fellow Bajorans, and is unwilling to thoughtlessly follow Federation law or procedures. In a Bajoran society where women are often expected to be modest and devout, Kira demonstrates that her faith and strength can coexist. Without abandoning her values, she comes to understand the benefit of cooperation. In today's world, Kira would be a bold and independent girl group member.
Lieutenant Uhura – The Original Series
In a multi-species squad, it’s probably good to have a xenolinguist. Lieutenant Uhura is fluent in a variety of alien languages, ranging from Klingon to all three dialects of Romulan. She’s also a good listener–unsurprisingly, after having to convey the nuance of negotiations between the Enterprise and various alien ships. Uhura has long been an inspiration for other women. An incredible range of women, from Oscar-winning actress Whoopi Goldberg to NASA astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, have been inspired by Uhura and her role, not only as the sole woman on the Enterprise’s bridge, but as one of the few black women shown to be an equal and competent professional. Even Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was a fan. A friend who can listen, negotiate and inspire? Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Uhura?
B'Elanna Torres – Voyager
Loyalty is an essential quality in a friend and as a half-Klingon, B’Elanna Torres has her own unique sense of loyalty and honor. Another woman in the STEM field (she is, after all, the Chief Engineer of the Voyager), B’Elanna deals with conflicts which have historically been portrayed on television as male-focused–she learns to deal with her anger and aggression in a more healthy manner, as well as dealing with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. B’Elanna’s Klingon heritage allowed her to be a rare female character grappling with her own identity and nature, eventually harnessing her destructive impulses into a talent for understanding the complex machinery of the Voyager’s engines while raising her young daughter, Miral. B’Elanna is the fighter of the squad, defying the stereotypes of what being a girl can mean.
Keiko O’Brien – Deep Space Nine
Military officers are often the focus of Star Trek, but they tend to be single ones (so as to be more free to pursue romances with aliens!). Military spouses garner less screen time and are forced to rearrange their careers to be supportive partners. Keiko began her career as a botanist, but after transferring to Deep Space Nine to follow her husband Miles’ career, began to really search for a purpose on the lonely outpost. Concerned about her daughter’s education, she eventually opened a school. She also served her deep space community as a foster mother while (if that wasn’t enough) still completing botanic research, occasionally participating in exploratory missions.
Keiko is a character who may have different details and nuances of her busy life , but her struggles to balance career and family are incredibly familiar to most of her twentieth century viewers.