How Do You Recognize a Strong Woman?

For the past four years, this blog has featured brief biographies of women. Each woman featured shows strength, but it’s not necessarily physical strength. If it’s not physical strength, how do you recognize a strong woman?

Daring greatly is being brave and afraid every minute of the day at the exact same time.

Brene Brown

She doesn’t wait to be saved or given permission to act.

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Mother Teresa
Photo of Mother Teresa in her blue on white habit

Sensitive, kind, and dedicated to serve others, Mother Teresa was a strong woman. She acted on her convictions and founded the Missionaries of Charity. Mother Teresa and her missionaries cared for people dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, ran soup kitchens, dispensaries, mobile clinics, children’s and family counseling programs, as well as orphanages and schools. She put her own health at risk and worked tirelessly to help those in need.

Strong women challenge themselves. 

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.

Oprah
Photo of Simon Biles in a red long-sleeve leotard, mid-air during a gymnastics routine.

America’s most decorated gymnast, Simone Biles is physically small, but she didn’t let that stop her. Her strength isn’t only physical. A focused and dedicated athlete, she challenges herself and works hard to achieve her goals. 

Strength can be mental, emotional, or physical. Physical strength isn’t necessary to be a strong woman. But women can also be physically strong.

A strong woman speaks her mind.

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

Maya Angelou
Photo of Kamala Harris By Office of California Attorney General Kamala Harris

Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States, is confident, assertive, and full of personal charisma. She does not shrink herself to fit the roles or expectations of others. Vice President Harris speaks her mind and does not back down when others attempt to diminish her.

She can make choices against convention

It’s ok to care about what other people think, but you should give a little more weight to what you, yourself, think … The habit of thinking is the habit of gaining strength. You’re stronger than you believe.

Nnedi Okorafor
Photo of South African female combat troops with helmets, weapons, and in cammo

Strong women know others might judge them for choosing a career that goes against what is “feminine.” They also know that others do not determine their self-worth. They find their self-worth inside themselves.

Photo of a female construction worker carrying a long beam over her shoulder.

She can say no.

We don’t even know how strong we are until we are forced to bring that hidden strength forward. In times of tragedy, of war, of necessity, people do amazing things. The human capacity for survival and renewal is awesome.

Isabel Allende

Rosa Parks was soft-spoken, sweet, and small in stature. Some described her as timid and shy. But in 1955, Rosa said no. She refused to give her seat up for a white man. She might have been ‘timid and shy’ but she was a strong woman.

A strong woman seeks the right attention

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

Though she was a shy and retiring person, Eleanor Roosevelt gave 348 press conferences as First Lady. She stepped into the role of First Lady and used her position and her voice to help others. Eleanor was a United Nations delegate, a human rights activist, a teacher, and a lecturer who averaged 150 speaking engagements a year throughout the 1950s.

She frees herself from the victim mentality

Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.

Carol Burnett
Photo of Oprah Winfrey clapping

Outgoing, enthusiastic Oprah Winfrey is idealistic and has the interpersonal skills to make others want to join her to make things happen. She had plenty of reasons to see herself as a victim, but she changed her life. And she works to change the life of others.

Her Strength May Not be Recognized

One small crack does not mean that you are broken. It means that you were put to the test, and you didn’t fall apart.

Linda Poindexter

Strength is not always visible. Others may refuse to see it. Sometimes you may have difficulty seeing past your perceived flaws or the insults and injuries life has dealt you.

The broken heart still has heart beats. Though you may feel like death, you are stronger than you think.

Qwana M. BabyGirl Reynolds-Frasier

Strength is contagious

Learn about the strengths of the women before you and around you. Surround yourself with strong women. Find mentors and be a mentor. 

Fight and push harder for what you believe in, you’d be surprised, you are much stronger than you think.

Lady Gaga

How do you recognize a strong woman? Sometimes you need to look in the history books. Sometimes you need to look in the mirror.

Photo Credits:

Photo of Mother Teresa by Laurel  Maryland, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Simone Biles in 2016 Olympics at Rio de Janeiro, CC BY 3.0 BR, byFernando Frazão/Agência Brasil via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Kamala Harris Public Domain 

Photo of female South African troops by MONUSCO, CC BY-SA 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of female construction worker  from Seattle Municipal Archives, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Rosa Parks Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of Oprah Winfrey by Machocarioca, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Photo of old woman by Free Photos on Pixabay

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