"Run the World (Girls)" is a song by American recording artist Beyoncé Knowles. The "female-empowerment" song was written by Terius "The-Dream" Nash, Knowles, Nick "Afrojack" van de Wall, Wesley "Diplo" Pentz, David "Switch" Taylor, and Adidja Palmer and production was handled by Switch, The-Dream, Knowles and Shea Taylor. Originally speculated to be titled "Girls (Who Run the World)", an unedited demo of the song leaked on the internet on April 18, 2011. "Run the World (Girls)" was later officially released on April 21, 2011 as the lead single from her fourth studio album 4 (2011).
The song heavily samples "Pon de Floor" by Major Lazer, following the same alternative hip hop-dancehall genres, mixed with the pop and R&B sounds of Knowles. The song's title and lyrics contain an unapologetically aggressive message towards female empowerment. "Run the World (Girls)" initially divided critics, most of whom complimented the song's sample and Knowles' aggressiveness while others criticized the song's musical direction. Several critics compared "Run the World (Girls)" to other female empowering singles released by Knowles in the past such as "Independent Women" (2000), "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (2008), and "Diva" (2009), stating that "Run the World (Girls)" takes a more direct and assertive approach towards female empowerment.
The single peaked only at number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Its commercial reception was better in Oceania and some European territories, It peaked inside the top ten positions in Australia, Belgium, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Scotland, and South Korea. "Run the World" was additionally a top twenty hit in Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom. The accompanying music video for the single was directed by Francis Lawrence and was filmed in California over the span of three days. The video received widespread critical acclaim, with critics affirming that Knowles started a dance revolution and favoring the heavily-choreographed visuals of the music video.
Knowles promoted the song through some high profile live performances, notably at the 2011 Billboard Music Awards and on the French X Factor. Although her performance at the Billboard music awards was well received by critics, it fueled some controversy, concerning the production which looked similar in certain ways to the one put on by Italian pop star Lorella Cuccarini in February 2010 at the 60th Sanremo Music Festival held in Italy.