Phenomenal Woman

Every year, International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated in many countries worldwide on March 8 to honour all women and celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural, and political achievements.  

Today, I would like to share a beautiful poem by Maya Angelou. “Phenomenal Woman” is one of Angelou’s most famous poems, and it celebrates the most remarkable beauty and female strength, freshness, and vigour. The poem addresses the traditional expectation that the ideal feminine beauty was fashion models. But first, here’s a little bit about Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou, born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis, Missouri, was born on April 4, 1928. Her nickname “Maya” was given to her by her older brother, Bailey. Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, writer, actor, director, and producer. She published several autobiographies, books of essays, and several books of poetries. Angelou had a distinguished career as a singer and dancer and performed professionally in the US, Europe, and northern Africa. She was a civil rights activist working with Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X (Poetry Foundation, n.d.).

Angelou lived with her paternal grandmother when she was young after her parents divorced. Four years later, Angelou returned to her mother briefly but was raped by her mother’s boyfriend when she was seven. He went to jail and got killed after being released from prison. She believed her confession led to the man’s death because she said his name. Angelou refrained from speaking and became temporarily speechless for six years. During this period of silence, Angelou developed her love for books and literature. She returned to her grandmother’s care in Arkansas.

Before the start of World War II, Angelou moved back in with her mother in California and went to George Washington High School, and attended dance and drama courses at California Labor School. When the war broke out, Angelou worked as a streetcar conductor. She worked for a while but decided to return to school, graduated from Mission High School in 1944 and gave birth to her only child, Clyde Bailey Johnson. In 1949, Angelou married Tosh Angelos, an electrician in the US Navy. They divorced in 1952, and she kept his surname throughout her life.

In 1981, she became a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, despite her lack of a college education. The Wake Forest University Writers Hall of Fame inducted Angelou in 2012. She composed and delivered a poem, “On the Pulse of Morning”, for the inauguration of US President Bill Clinton in 1993. In 2000, President Bill Clinton awarded her the National Medal of Arts. In 2011, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honour (Spring, 2017), for her outstanding and inspiring career in the arts. She was awarded 50 honorary degrees in her lifetime. Maya Angelou died on May 28, 2014.

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.

Till next time, enjoy the pleasures of life.



Angelou, M. (n.d.). Phenomenal Woman. Poetry Foundation.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. (2023, January 5). Maya Angelou. Britannica.

Poetry Foundation. (n.d.). Maya Angelou.

Spring, K. A. (2017). Maya Angelou. National Women’s History Museum.

Some Women are…

Some people say women are difficult to understand. But I say women are strong and confident. There are women who are complex and mysterious, but sophisticated and independent. Some women are strong-willed and compassionate, and some are sweet and quite brilliant. Some are mothers, daughters, or sisters, but some are leaders or protectors. But women, most of all, are fascinating and inspirational.

The world celebrates International Women’s Day every year on March 8. It is a global movement for women and girls celebrating women’s lives and achievements. The day reflects on the courage and determination of ordinary women to raise international awareness and encourage other members of society to advocate gender equality.

To mark the celebration of International Women’s Day, I have collected quotes from famous and inspirational women in our world today and women in the past who made a difference. There are some funny quotes from some prominent women and men that will make us smile. 

Famous and Inspirational Women Who Made a Difference

  • Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn’t women have their share? Soldiers and war heroes are honored and commemorated, explorers are granted immortal fame, martyrs are revered, but how many people look upon women too as soldiers?
  • Human greatness does not lie in wealth or power, but in character and goodness. People are just people, and all people have faults and shortcomings, but all of us are born with a basic goodness.
  • I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too. I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquillity will return once more.
  • Whoever doesn’t know it must learn and find by experience that ‘a quiet conscience makes one strong!’
  • Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I’ve never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.

­––Anne Frank (1929-45)
(The Diary of Anne Frank)
A young Jewish girl who
kept a diary of her experiences
of the Holocaust.

  • A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.
  • It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.
  • No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
  • Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.
  • You can never really live anyone else’s life, not even your child’s. The influence you exert is through your own life, and what you’ve become yourself.

––Eleonor Roosevelt (1884–1962)
First Lady of the United States (1933-1945)
Delegate to the UN General Assembly
and advocate for human and civil rights

  • If we do not lift up women and families, everyone will fall short.
  • I do not believe that government should be in the business of telling women what they should do with their bodies.
  • We don’t want to promote any system that treats the fact that an individual is LGBT as a personality disorder. And anything that perpetuates that perception is harmful – not only to that member of the community but the entire community.
  • What’s important for my daughter to know is that… if you are fortunate to have opportunity, it is your duty to make sure other people have those opportunities as well.
  • You have to see and smell and feel the circumstances of people to really understand them.

––Kamala Harris
49th Vice President of the United States

First female Vice-President and first African-American
and first Asian-American Vice-President of the United States

  • I don’t cover my face because I want to show my identity.
  • Once I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead, he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself… By giving me this height to reach people, he has also given me great responsibilities.
  • There are so many figures in our history that did not believe they could make a change, and they did.
  • We women are going to bring change. We are speaking up for girls’ rights, but we must not behave like men, like they have done in the past.
  • When God created man and woman, he was thinking, ‘Who shall I give the power to, to give birth to the next human being?’ And God chose woman. And this is the big evidence that women are powerful.

––Malala Yousafzai (1997- )
Advocate for women’s rights
especially the right to education

  • Any woman who understands the problems of running a home will be nearer to understanding the problems of running a country.
  • Disciplining yourself to do what you know is right and important, although difficult, is the highroad to pride, self-esteem, and personal satisfaction.
  • If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.
  • Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
  • To wear your heart on your sleeve isn’t a very good plan; you should wear it inside, where it functions best.

––Margaret Thatcher (1925–2013)
First Female Prime Minister of Great Britai

  • If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
  • It’s good to remember that in crises, natural crises, human beings forget for a while their ignorances, their biases, their prejudices. For a little while, neighbors help neighbors and strangers help strangers.
  • Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at any time.
  • Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.
  • We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.

––Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014)
An African-American woman
Poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activis

  • I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.
  • Success is only meaningful and enjoyable if it feels like your own.
  • You don’t have to be somebody different to be important. You’re important in your own right.
  • You see, at the end of the day, my most important title is still ‘mom-in-chief.’ My daughters are still the heart of my heart and the center of my world.
  • You should never view your challenges as a disadvantage. Instead, it’s important for you to understand that your experience facing and overcoming adversity is actually one of your biggest advantages.

––Michelle Obama
American First Lady (2009–17)
First African American First Lady

Funny Quotes for Women

  • People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs.

––Alexei Sayle
British Comedian

  • If women didn’t exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning.

––Aristotle Onassis (1906-1975)
Greek Shipping Magnate

  • You can tell the strength of a nation by the women behind its men.

––Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881)
Prime Minister of United Kingdom (1874-1880

  • Behind every great man is a woman rolling her eyes.

––Jim Carrey
Canadian Comedian

  • I think women have a unique talent for being able to see the forest and the trees at the same time.

––Bozoma Saint John
American Businesswoman
Marketing Executive at Netfl

  • There are only three things women need in life: food, water, and compliments.

––Chris Rock
American Comedian

  • In politics women type the letters, lick the stamps, distribute the pamphlets and get out the vote. Men get elected.

––Clare Boothe Luce (1903-1987)
American author, politician, U.S. Ambassado

  • When women are depressed, they eat or go shopping. Men invade another country. It’s a whole different way of thinking.

––Elayne Boosler
American Comedian

  • There are two kinds of women, those who want power in the world and those who want power in bed.

––Jackie Kennedy (1929-1994)
First Lady of the United States (1961-1963)

  • Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.

––Judy Garland (1922-1969
American Actress

  • The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public.

––Phyllis Diller (1917-2012)
American Comedian

  • There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness and the nerve to never take no for an answer.

American Musician

  • You can be whatever size you are, and you can be beautiful both inside and out. We’re always told what’s beautiful and what’s not, and that’s not right.

––Serena Williams
American Professional Tennis Player

  • Women don’t like advice. They don’t want you to fix their problems, they just want you to listen.

––Shawn Wayans
American Actor

  • Women lie about their age; men lie about their income.

William Feather (1889-1981)
American Publisher and Author



Barrientos, S., & Avendano, K. (2022, February 15). 28 Incredible and empowering International Women’s Day quotes. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from

Biography Online. (n.d.). 70 famous women who changed the world. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from

Brainy Quote. (n.d.). Women Quotes.

Haddrick, M. (2021, March 23). 12 of the most famous women in history. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from

Tiwari, A. (2021, December 8). Meet the world’s 10 most powerful women 2021, Roshni Nadar & Falguni Nayar also feature on this list. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from

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