What is a Strong Woman?

Post Submitted by Chelsea Bagley Dyreng

I have three daughters, and like every mother, I would like to raise them to be “strong women.”

But what does that mean?

I’m sure everyone has their own idea of what a “strong woman” is. But this phrase gets thrown around so much that I want to define it in my own terms for my daughters so they know the meaning that I give it, lest they think that being a “strong woman” means they should aspire to be Katy Perry.

Often we hear the term “strong woman” describing women who are in charge. A woman who shakes things up. A woman who can win arguments and lead and wave flags around and protest against conformity, authority, superiority, and all the other -orities. A woman who personifies the bumper sticker: Well-behaved women seldom make history. 

When I first saw that slogan I thought it was kind of clever. But the more I thought about it the more I decided that its message is not quite accurate.

Take my mother, for instance. My mother grew up in a poor family with a father who never believed she could go to college. She proved him wrong. She went to college. She became a scientist and studied at Harvard. She published papers, won awards and became world famous. Later on she won the Nobel Prize. Haven’t you ever heard of Dr. Patricia Q. Bagley?

No you haven’t. Because after my mom graduated from college she stayed home to raise seven children.

Read more on what this mother has to say about what constitutes a strong woman, the priesthood, and the parts men and women play in the family. 

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