I posted about female role models in children's/YA literature a few days ago, bemoaning the rather short list of good characters I could think of. Visiting with one of my best friends yesterday, we discussed it some and she suggested Meg from the Wrinkle in Time series. Definitely someone who should be on the list! (By the way, I was quite saddened to read about Madeline L'Engle's death this past fall. Slate and Salon had a number of fitting and moving tributes to her.)
Since I'm re-reading the Arrows of the Queen series by Mercedes Lackey, I should also mention that Talia of that series fits the bill. Lackey's tales are almost like a Benetton commercial: people from all walks of life, sexual preferences, income levels, etc. I don't think I noticed it as much when I first read the books in early high school, but now it seems almost too obvious. I mean, I love the books, I love the characters, but she takes such great pains with equality that it's near comical. Ah well. Lackey's work isn't exactly Pulitzer stuff, but it does keep you warm and entranced on a cold winter's night.
C'mon-- there've got to be more strong female characters! Let's hear them!