I am Woman
I remember my mother turning up the volume when the song I am Woman by Helen Reddy played on the radio. I proudly belted the words. It became an anthem for women around the globe. As we worked on our Wonder Woman feature in this issue, those lyrics kept playing over and over in my head.
“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back and pretend
’Cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
You can bend but never break me ’Cause it only serves to make me More determined to achieve my final goal And I come back even stronger Not a novice any longer ’Cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul
... I am woman watch me grow See me standing toe to toe As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land But I’m still an embryo With a long long way to go Until I make my brother understand ...
I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman.”
The women featured in this issue are invincible, powerful, and persistent. They are also empathetic, kind, and courageous. Many of them have spent decades improving the state for the youngest among us, others have championed systemic change, while others still have built businesses that have bettered our communities. And some are just beginning to find their voice. But every single one of them is carrying the torch of past generations of strong women, lighting the path for those who follow. As West Virginia women, we’ve inherited a legacy of helping others—of spreading our “lovin’ arms” across the state.
We pay homage to a few of those trailblazers on page 78 of the Fall 2022 Edition of West Virginia Living. They didn’t tackle challenges for personal gain or fame. They stood for children, their community, and the disenfranchised. Much like our Wonder Women.
Today, it feels like we are being bombarded by hate and anger—beliefs meant to divide us. But one of our superpowers as women is the ability to bring people together. Our world needs this now more than ever. We may have differing opinions, but we can unite this disunited world.
How? By being respectful of one another, by listening without judgment, by being an informed voter, by running for office, and by lifting one another up. Let’s come together around the things we can all agree on—important indisputable issues like the need for affordable child care, equal pay, a living wage, and the right and access to quality health care. In this issue, we’ve created a Mountain Mama Manifesto that we hope will serve as a guide for reimagining the future for West Virginia women. Let’s rally together around this common cause and build a better state. We can do this if we do it together. There’s no time to waste.
Roar with me!
Nikki Bowman Mills, Editor