As I sat and mused about what my first contribution to the DeltaWomen blog should be about, my mind drifted to my favourite poem by the wonderful Dr. Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman”. I could write about a great many things related to women's empowerment and development, and while there is no shortage of issues to tackle, I find it appropriate for me to begin with homage to the special strength found in just being a woman.
Let us begin with Dr. Angelou's poem.
The poem, while simplistic in wording, conveys a powerful message of the inner beauty and strength of women. Here, Dr. Angelou rejects conformity and superficiality, and expresses the relevance of self-love and confidence, suggesting these to be the very foundations of a woman's success. The poem is casual, yet musical in stanza and ideal for a dramatic performance. When listening to Dr. Angelou read it, one can feel their back straightening, their head rising in womanly pride, determination and ambition bubbling through the veins. Drawing on her own difficult personal experiences of abuse and discrimination, the author reminds the audience that even when society may not value women, to rise, one must depend on self-love and hope. The last four lines of each verse remain the same throughout the poem, almost as an affirmation to this.
So often we come across women who have faced ranging forms of oppression, damaging their spirit and hindering their life's goals. This poem is an uplifting reminder that with hope and pride, women of all backgrounds, races and creeds can achieve innumerable success, and that no one is entitled to steal this ambition. With International Women's Day just around the corner, I feel it is more than necessary for inspiring poems such as this to be shared with other women, as well as men. It is my hope that society, especially our sisters who may have forgotten their own hidden power and beauty, will be reminded of the amazing potential of all women, and that we are all phenomenal.
By Karrie Zych