21 Famous Poems About Women’s Strength

Reviewed by Amanda Heal, Motivational Trainer & Coach Amanda Heal Amanda HealMotivational Trainer & Coach facebook_icontwitter_iconlinkedin_iconyoutube_iconinsta_icon
Written by Sneha Tete
Edited by Subhrojyoti Mukherjee
Last Updated on

If there is one universal reality we must accept, it is that women are the most powerful beings on the planet. Here, we have compiled some of the most beautiful poems for women, describing their grit, love, and sensitive nature. It is no surprise that innumerable poems have been written to praise women’s strength and courage. We have listed some excellent poetry that describes women’s fortitude. Scroll down to read them all and pass them on to the wonderful women in your life who embody inspiration and sensuality in equal measure.

21 Famous Poems About Women’s Strength

1. Being Independent – Rupi Kaur

“i do not want to have you
to fill the empty parts of me.
i want to be full on my own.
i want to be so complete
i could light a whole city
and then
i want to have you
cause the two of us combined
could set it on fire.”

‘Being Independent’ focuses largely on recovery, with a particular emphasis on self-fulfillment and self-love. The more experienced speaker of this chapter now knows that you must enter a relationship with yourself before anyone else.

Being Independent by Rupi Kaur

2. Aurora Leigh – Elizabeth Browning

“Therefore, this same world
Uncomprehended by you must remain
Uninfluenced by you. Women as you are,
Mere women, personal and passionate,
You give us doting mothers, and chaste wives.
Sublime Madonnas, and enduring saints!
We get no Christ from you, — and verily
We shall not get a poet, in my mind.”

‘Aurora Leigh’ is a novel in verse that follows the title character, an aspiring poet, through several nerve-wracking twists. In one disclosing passage, Aurora’s cousin and would-be suitor, Romney Leigh, summarizes his attitude toward her and women writers of that era.

protip_icon Did You Know?

Aurora Leigh is an epic comprising 9 books in total. This work is considered one of the best pieces of literature of the 19th century, making her a prominent woman writer of her time.

3. No Fault In Women – Robert Herrick

“- No fault in women, though they be
But seldom from suspicion free;
– No fault in womankind at all,
If they but slip, and never fall.”

‘No Fault In Women’ talks about how the things women may want, the thoughts they have, and the things they do are not their fault. They may slip, but they never fall. Similarly, even if they complain about how tedious their dress is or dye their cheeks, it is not because of their vanity but because of the beauty standards set by society.

4. Fearful Women – Carolyn Kizer

“An educated woman is a danger.
Lock up your mate! Keep a submissive stranger.”

Carolyn Kizer’s poems are a reflection of her feminism. She has explored mythology, politics, science, nature, music, Japanese and Chinese literature, and feminism in her series called ‘Pro Femina.’ This poem is a representation of how strong women can be. Her poems empower women to embrace their strengths and feminine side.

Fearful Women by Carolyn Kizer

5. Two Women – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

“A cruel tongue and a jealous mind.
Void of pity and full of greed,
She judges the world by her narrow creed;
A brewer of quarrels, a breeder of hate,
Yet she holds the key to ‘Society’s’ Gate.”

The poem talks about two women she knew and how dissimilar they were. While one was cheerful and merciful, the other was cold and chaste. The poem talks about how society reacts to each of the women.

6. Women – Louise Bogan

“They wait, when they should turn to journeys,
They stiffen, when they should bend.
They use against themselves that benevolence
To which no man is friend.”

The poem talks of how a woman’s life plays out when she’s forced to live in an abstract space full of restrictions and little exposure to either urban or rural worlds. It teaches women to be hesitant in their actions and rigid in their beliefs. It is also believed to teach them to indulge their emotions to an unreasonable degree. However, in describing this world, the poet is trying to show that it has been constructed by men.

Just like the poem, Emily, a blogger, celebrates the strength and complexity of women. She states, “Women may show more emotion than men sometimes, but this also is a sign of strength because we are willing to face our emotions. Sharing and opening up are signs of confidence. Strength isn’t being emotionless. Strength is learning to handle our turbulent and confusing emotions with grace and steadfastness (i).” Furthermore, she acknowledges the physical differences between men and women but then shifts the focus to the often-overlooked resilience and endurance shown by women.

7. There’s Wisdom In Women – Rupert Brooke

“But there’s wisdom in women, of more than they have known,
And thoughts go blowing through them, are wiser than their own.”

The poet talks about how his lover, who is new to the concept of love, could talk such truths about it. Even though the poet’s lover is young and ignorant, she is still a woman who has an innate wisdom in her.

8. Lines On Hearing It Declared That No Women Were So Handsome As The English – Mary Darby Robinson

“BEAUTY, the attribute of Heaven!
In various forms to mortals given,
With magic skill enslaves mankind,
As sportive fancy sways the mind.
Search the wide world, go where you will,
VARIETY pursues you still;
Capricious Nature knows no bound,
Her unexhausted gifts are found
In ev’ry clime, in ev’ry face,
Each has its own peculiar grace.”

Ever thought about what the women around the world might be like? This poem is basically the poet’s reaction upon hearing that English women have been declared the most beautiful in the world. She talks about how all the women around the world have a beauty of their own and that beauty lies in diversity.

9. They Shut Me Up In Prose – Emily Dickenson

“They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
Because they liked me “still” –

Still! Could themself have peeped –
And seen my Brain – go round –
They might as wise have lodged a Bird
For Treason – in the Pound –

Himself has but to will
And easy as a Star
Look down opon Captivity –
And laugh – No more have I —”

This poem talks about the discrimination women faced in early 20th-century society. Men are symbolized as Prose and women as Poetry. The poem showcases that even when women were oppressed, they still flourished. It also talks about how, when you put down a woman, she will always try her best to stand up and take back the reigns of her life.

10. Phenomenal Woman – Maya Angelou

“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.”

‘Phenomenal Woman’ shows that even though a woman might not be beautiful according to society’s standards, every woman is beautiful on the inside. Inner beauty is much more beautiful when worn with confidence. That is what Maya Angelou has effectively portrayed in this gorgeous poem.

Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

11. I Am She – Butch Decatoria

“I am she
Who waits through the night.
I am she
Who equals the strength
Of his light.”

This poem talks about the roles of a woman and how she loves through each role. The poet describes herself as the one who suffers the most to bring a new life into this world and is, therefore, the one who will stay awake at night worrying over her child. The poet says she’s an equal in strength and ready to charge into the war by “his” side.

12. The Applicant – Sylvia Plath

“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.”

‘The Applicant’ is a poem that shows the patriarchal view of women that society has maintained. The applicant in the poem is a man who is going through an interview to own something. As the poem progresses, it can be made out that the thing the applicant wants to own is a wife. This is a poem that talks about the ruthless patriarchy that plagues the world.

protip_icon Did You Know?

The Applicant was written by Sylvia Plath a few days after she decided to divorce her husband Ted Hughes. The poem has been interpreted to be largely inspired by her tumultuous marriage.

13. Mothers – Nikki Giovanni

“i taught it to my son
who recited it for her
just to say we must learn
to bear the pleasures
as we have borne the pains”

‘Mothers’ talks about the old-school norms of what was expected of a woman. Her hair had to be a particular length, and she could only talk about particular subjects and work a particular job. This poem shows how women have been suppressed by rules and regulations since time immemorial but have still been figures of immense strength and compassion.

Mothers by Nikki Giovanni

14. One For The Ladies – Jeff Gaines

“You taught us to tie our shoes and look after our sisters and brothers.
And that unless we are standing for something correct, we must always be kind to others.”

This poem describes all the ways that women have shaped the world. The poet says that it has always been women who have run the world from behind the scenes. He describes the beauty he sees in women and their actions.

15. The Black Woman – The Calm

“You see cause black women are queens, and when white culture saw their worth, they were rattled
They couldn’t help but try to minimize and de-legitimize, and put a guise over the eyes of all that viewed her.”

The poet describes the way black women are seen by society and how it is completely wrong. A black woman is more than just her body, when white people saw her for what she really is, it left them rattled. He goes on to show us her worth by saying that “without the black woman we have no past and we have no future.”

16. I Am A Woman – Alexandra Mor

“As a designer,
I have always been fascinated by the interplay
between people and objects of design.
The responses change over the years,
and with this in mind, my collections
become tangible reflections
of my own journey,
as a woman to this day.”

The poet, who is also a designer, talks of her fascination with the interplay between people and the changes in responses seen in them each day over the years. She says that her collections have become entangled and reflect her journey, just like a woman of this day and age.

17. The Night of the Scorpion – Nissim Ezekiel

“I watched the flame feeding on my mother.
I watched the holy man perform his rites to tame the poison with an incantation.
After twenty hours
it lost its sting.
My mother only said
Thank God the scorpion picked on me
And spared my children.”

‘The Night Of The Scorpion’ is a description of a night in a village when a scorpion enters the poet’s hut. We see the poet’s mother trying to save her kids and getting stung by the scorpion herself. After hours of intense scientific and traditional cures tried on her, she finally wakes up and thanks God that the scorpion stung her and spared her children.

18. Untitled – Penpal

“We don’t dare to appreciate her
We don’t care to her feelings,
Nor her dreams.
She swallows her pride
To serve us might.”

This untitled poem is a raw look at how the world treats women. Though women do everything in their power to serve everyone – especially the men – around them, they get no appreciation or respect in return. Still, she keeps swallowing her pride and does as she is told. However, this does not diminish the fire within her.

19. Still I Rise – Maya Angelou

“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.”

Maya Angelou talks primarily about self-respect and confidence in this poem. Her words on strengthening oneself and having the courage to face the world have inspired people across the world for decades.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

20. Let Me Not Lose My Dream – Georgia Douglas Johnson

“Let me not lose my dream, e’en though I scan the veil
with eyes unseeing through their glaze of tears,
Let me not falter, though the rungs of fortune perish
as I fare above the tumult, praying purer air,
Let me not lose the vision, gird me, Powers that toss
the worlds, I pray!
Hold me, and guard, lest anguish tear my dreams away!”

‘Let Me Not Lose My Dream’ by Georgia Douglas Johnson portrays a woman who wishes to stay true to herself. The poem showcases the unfaltering motivation, courage, and belief of a woman. It is the ultimate poem on women empowerment.

21. An Introduction – Kamala Das

“…it is I who lie dying
With a rattle in my throat. I am sinner,
I am saint. I am the beloved and the
Betrayed. I have no joys that are not yours, no
Aches which are not yours. I too call myself I.”

In this poem, Das is introducing women around the world. She shows how she struggles with not being able to have an identity of her own. She has always been a daughter, a sister, a wife, or a mother, but has never had an identity of herself. This is a hard-hitting poem that shows the reality of oppressed women around the world.

Be inspired by the power of women’s words! Check out this video to listen to the best English poetry from female authors, and be moved by their liberal utterances of empowerment.

Infographic: Powerful Poems On Women

For everything that women are and for all the beautiful ways in which they contribute to this world, no amount of appreciation will ever be enough. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try! These poems are a wonderful way to lift the women around you, encourage them, inspire them, and make their day.

Scroll down for an infographic below with our top picks of these poems on women.

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Illustration: The Bridal Box Design Team

Take advantage of the special occasion of Women’s Day to let the special ladies in your life know how much they mean to you. You can share these poems about women’s strength with your coworkers, family members, and all women in your life to honor their spirit. These uplifting poems about women’s challenges and fortitude will leave an indelible mark on anyone you share them with. Choose one or more that speak to you and write them down with a meaningful message to make a memorable present for them.

poems for women_illustration

Image: Dall·E/The Bridal Box Design Team

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of poem is “Woman”?

“Woman” by Alice Walker applauds the resilience and fight put up by the African women who were enslaved in America. They fought and stood their ground to pave a better and brighter future for girls.

Who is the most famous female poet?

There is no single female poet who is more famous than the other. But we can name a few who made significant contributions to literature like Elizabeth Browning, Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickinson, Sarojini Naidu, and many more.

How can women poets use their work to promote social and political change, and what are some of the most effective examples of this in contemporary poetry?

Women poets use their work to promote social and political change by taking inspiration from their own experiences to bridge the gaps that divide people on the basis of their differences and unite them for a common cause. An apt example would be ‘Caged Bird’ by Maya Angelou centered around themes of oppression and restriction.

What are some of the most prominent themes explored in contemporary women’s poetry, and how do these reflect the experiences and concerns of women today?

Some of the most prominent themes explored in contemporary women’s poetry include identity, sex, feminism, and loneliness. Women still experience discrimination in various arenas in society based on multiple factors which are often reflected in contemporary women’s poetry.

How can poetry be used to promote feminist ideals and challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes, and what are some of the most powerful examples of this in women’s poetry?

Poetry be used to promote feminist ideals and challenge traditional gender roles and stereotypes since reading poetry is a multisensory experience that allows us to make use of our imagination and senses to relate to the words penned down, which in turn provokes us to think and question the existence of stereotypes in society, especially in terms of gender. A good example would be “Still I Rise” by Mary Angelou.

Key Takeaways

  • Women have always been the epitome of beauty, strength, and power and thus have countless poems attributed to them.
  • Many female poets and writers, such as Rupi Kaur, Elizabeth Browning, Louise Bogan, and Sylvia Plath, have often penned poems dedicated to women’s courage.
  • Some of the most prominent themes used in women’s poetry include identity, feminism, and loneliness.

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Amanda Heal
Amanda HealAuthor, Motivational speaker
Amanda Heal is a motivational speaker, resilience expert, author, and voice actor. Her life itself is a story of resilience and inspiration. She was born prematurely and needed oxygen support for several weeks. While this oxygen saved her life, it caused total blindness.

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