17 Empowering Poems About Strong Women

Get ready to be inspired by the resilience and power that emanates from the poems ahead. 

We've curated a collection of verses that showcase the incredible spirit of strong women from all walks of life

These poems capture their unwavering determination, fearlessness, and relentless pursuit of their dreams as they conquer challenges and break boundaries. 

Allow these words to uplift and embolden you as they pay homage to the indomitable spirit of women who refuse to be held back.

Why You Should Read Women's Empowerment Poems

Delving into the world of women empowerment poems offers a transformative experience that can reshape your perspective on strength, resilience, and the indomitable spirit of women. 

Here's why you should immerse yourself in these dynamic and relevant verses:

  • You'll be inspired by the stories of courageous women who have overcome adversity, reminding you of your own inner strength.
  • You'll connect with shared emotions, experiences, and challenges that create a sense of unity and sisterhood.
  • You'll gain valuable insights into the struggles and triumphs of women from diverse backgrounds, promoting empathy and understanding.
  • You'll discover powerful voices in poetry that challenge societal norms and expectations, empowering you to question the status quo.
  • You'll find motivation and encouragement in the face of your own obstacles, drawing from the strength of the women depicted in these poems.

17 Empowering Poems About Strong Women

beautiful woman headshot Poems About Strong Women

Allow these words to uplift and embolden you as they pay homage to the indomitable spirit of women who refuse to be held back.

1. Beware, honey by Sandra Cisneros

I’m an aim-well,
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

2. Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

3. Won't you celebrate with me by Lucille Clifton

won't you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me

and has failed.

4. It’s your flaw I want to taste, by Lora Mathis

It’s your flaws
I want to taste.
Your crooked mouth.
The way you smell after
being out all day.
The lump in your throat.
Your shaky hands.
Your morning breath.
Your prickly legs.
Your pimpled politeness.
Your tangled hair.
I don’t want to be able to
run my fingers through you
easily. It’s no fun writing
about perfections.
I want to talk about you-

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5. Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

6. Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why), by Nikki Giovanni

I was born in the congo
I walked to the fertile crescent and built
the sphinx
I designed a pyramid so tough that a star
that only glows every one hundred years falls
into the center giving divine perfect light

I am bad
I sat on the throne
drinking nectar with allah
I got hot and sent an ice age to europe
to cool my thirst
My oldest daughter is nefertiti
the tears from my birth pains
created the nile

I am a beautiful woman
I gazed on the forest and burned
out the sahara desert
with a packet of goat's meat
and a change of clothes
I crossed it in two hours
I am a gazelle so swift

so swift you can't catch me

For a birthday present when he was three
I gave my son hannibal an elephant
He gave me rome for mother's day

My strength flows ever on

My son noah built new/ark and
I stood proudly at the helm
as we sailed on a soft summer day
I turned myself into myself and was
men intone my loving name
All praises All praises

I am the one who would save

I sowed diamonds in my back yard
My bowels deliver uranium
the filings from my fingernails are
semi-precious jewels
On a trip north
I caught a cold and blew
My nose giving oil to the arab world
I am so hip even my errors are correct
I sailed west to reach east and had to round off
the earth as I went
The hair from my head thinned and gold was laid

across three continents

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended

except by my permission

I mean...I...can fly

like a bird in the sky…
woman looking at camera Poems About Strong Women

7. Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth

(Note: This poem, originally a speech given by Truth in 1851, highlights the strength and resilience of women, particularly Black women, in the face of adversity.)

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages,
and lifted over ditches,
and to have the best place everywhere.
Nobody ever helps me into carriages,
or over mud-puddles,
or gives me any best place!

And ain't I a woman?

Look at me!
Look at my arm!
I have ploughed and planted,
and gathered into barns,
and no man could head me!

And ain't I a woman?

I could work as much
and eat as much as a man –
when I could get it –
and bear the lash as well!

And ain't I a woman?

I have borne thirteen children,
and seen most all sold off to slavery,
and when I cried out with my mother's grief,
none but Jesus heard me!

And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head;
what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"]
That's it, honey.
What's that got to do with women's rights
or Negroes' rights?
If my cup won't hold but a pint,
and yours holds a quart,
wouldn't you be mean
not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there,
he says women can't have as much rights as men,
'cause Christ wasn't a woman!
Where did your Christ come from?
Where did your Christ come from?
From God and a woman!

Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made
was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone,
these women together ought to be able to turn it back,
and get it right side up again!
And now they is asking to do it,

the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me,
and now old Sojourner

ain't got nothing more to say.

8. The Courage That My Mother Had by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The courage that my mother had
Went with her, and is with her still:
Rock from New England quarried;

Now granite in a granite hill.

The golden brooch my mother wore
She left behind for me to wear;
I have no thing I treasure more:

Yet, it is something I could spare.

Oh, if instead she'd left to me
The thing she took into the grave!—
That courage like a rock, which she
Has no more need of, and I have.

9. The Journey by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice --
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.

10. The Applicant by Sylvia Plath

First, are you our sort of a person?
Do you wear
A glass eye, false teeth or a crutch,
A brace or a hook,

Rubber breasts or a rubber crotch,

Stitches to show something's missing? No, no? Then
How can we give you a thing?
Stop crying.

Open your hand.

Empty? Empty. Here is a hand
To fill it and willing
To bring teacups and roll away headaches
And do whatever you tell it.
Will you marry it?
It is guaranteed
To thumb shut your eyes at the end

And dissolve of sorrow.

We make new stock from the salt.
I notice you are stark naked.
How about this suit—
Black and stiff, but not a bad fit.

Will you marry it?

It is waterproof, shatterproof, proof
Against fire and bombs through the roof.
Believe me, they'll bury you in it.
Now your head, excuse me, is empty.
I have the ticket for that.
Come here, sweetie, out of the closet.

Well, what do you think of that?

Naked as paper to start
But in twenty-five years she'll be silver,
In fifty, gold.
A living doll, everywhere you look.
It can sew, it can cook,

It can talk, talk, talk.

It works, there is nothing wrong with it.
You have a hole, it's a poultice.
You have an eye, it's an image.
My boy, it's your last resort.

Will you marry it, marry it, marry it.

11. I, Being Born a Woman and Distressed by Edna St. Vincent Millay

I, being born a woman and distressed
By all the needs and notions of my kind,
Am urged by your propinquity to find
Your person fair, and feel a certain zest
To bear your body’s weight upon my breast:
So subtly is the fume of life designed,
To clarify the pulse and cloud the mind,
And leave me once again undone, possessed.
Think not for this, however, the poor treason
Of my stout blood against my staggering brain,
I shall remember you with love, or season
My scorn with pity,—let me make it plain:
I find this frenzy insufficient reason
For conversation when we meet again.

12. Sadie and Maud by Gwendolyn Brooks

Maud went to college.
Sadie stayed home.
Sadie scraped life
With a fine toothed comb.
She didn’t leave a tangle in.
Her comb found every strand.
Sadie was one of the livingest chits
In all the land.
Sadie bore two babies
Under her maiden name.
Maud and Ma and Papa
Nearly died of shame.
When Sadie said her last so-long
Her girls struck out from home.
(Sadie had left as heritage
Her fine-toothed comb.)
Maud, who went to college,
Is a thin brown mouse.
She is living all alone
In this old house.

13. Her Kind by Anne Sexton

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.
I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.
I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

14. Fire by Nikita Gill

Remember what you must do
when they undervalue you,
when they think
your softness is your weakness,
when they treat your kindness
like it is their advantage.
You awaken
every dragon,
every wolf,
every monster
that sleeps inside of you
and you remind them
what hell looks like
when it wears the skin
of a gentle human.

15. When you fall for a man who could never love you by Aman Batra

When you fall for a man who could never love you
don’t say I didn’t warn you
when you fuck your way to his heart
and find broken chandeliers
from every time he was hung
and cut down while still shining
don’t say I didn’t warn you
Be foolish
Be foolish
Be foolish
burn down the caution signs
bulldoze the barriers between his past
and your passion
it’s the only way you’ll learn
you’re not his firefighter
it’s not your job to save him

16. To The Indifferent Woman by Charlotte Anne Gilman Perkins

You who are happy in a thousand homes,
Or overworked therein, to a dumb peace;
Whose souls are wholly centered in the life
Of that small group you personally love;
Who told you that you need not know or care
About the sin and sorrow of the world?

Do you believe the sorrow of the world
Does not concern you in your little homes? —
That you are licensed to avoid the care
And toil for human progress, human peace,
And the enlargement of our power of love
Until it covers every field of life?

The one first duty of all human life
Is to promote the progress of the world
In righteousness, in wisdom, truth and love;
And you ignore it, hidden in your homes,
Content to keep them in uncertain peace,
Content to leave all else without your care.

Yet you are mothers! And a mother's care
Is the first step toward friendly human life.
Life where all nations in untroubled peace
Unite to raise the standard of the world
And make the happiness we seek in homes
Spread everywhere in strong and fruitful love.

You are content to keep that mighty love
In its first steps forever; the crude care
Of animals for mate and young and homes,
Instead of pouring it abroad in life,
Its mighty current feeding all the world
Till every human child can grow in peace.

You cannot keep your small domestic peace
Your little pool of undeveloped love,
While the neglected, starved, unmothered world
Struggles and fights for lack of mother's care,
And its tempestuous, bitter, broken life
Beats in upon you in your selfish homes.

We all may have our homes in joy and peace
When woman's life, in its rich power of love
Is joined with man's to care for all the world.

17. The Kindest Words by Rumi Kapur

The kindest words my father said to me
Women like you drown oceans.

Final Thoughts

Through these powerful works of poetry, we witness the raw and unbridled strength of women who face adversity head-on. These poems echo with the voices of those who have overcome obstacles, shattered glass ceilings, and defied the odds. 

They serve as a testament to the unwavering courage and resilience that lie within every woman. So let these poems be a guiding light in your own journey towards empowerment and inspire you to reach new heights.