To make International Women’s Day 2022, King’s College London student Karen Ng wrote a poem titled ‘Power to the Woman’. Karen took inspiration from visions of a more equal world contributed by members of the King’s community via our  International Women’s Day padlet‘.

Photographic portrait of Karen Ng

Karen Ng.

You can watch Karen recite ‘Power to the Woman’ here.

To see a great woman

you don’t have to look behind you.

Stick it to the man. That is, the unspoken

man on the hill we keep the woman

at the foot of. The hill’s keeper blocking

from the stairs the woman of colour

and everyone gender non-conforming

every trans person. The hill

we deny ever having witnessed.

A hill with stairs she cannot climb? Better now–

is it still sacred. Do we live together

still on this cracked earth? Here is the power

the power to the woman-identifying.

The sheep was taught to be a sheep

but it climbs the hill as anyone can.


Without fear of thorns that could

follow her in the shadow

you shouldn’t have walked

in at all, the hollow tooth-gaps

peering from the self-made hill-peak

asks her to show her teeth.


Before anything there were

mothers and guardians who held us

in hands scrawling birthday cards

our waking born into the earth

accepting and humankind denying.

By all contested public accounts in contests

they never signed up for, allowed ENOUGH

and LACKING at the same time.

Shot up with every other, above woman-hands

in the pocketless weight of all nurtured duty

glistens the stoic silver of chains

old and weeping from her cuffs.


Twice as good and twice as bad

shouldn’t matter under sunbeams.

That broad, motley sweeper never learnt identity.

In all its natural history it never

wondered if it deserved the warmth.

She has to walk the jagged edges

to reach the same door. Indoors

a chasm shaped like a wet slug taunts

with double standards

barely looking when it should

then too much

kisses the laughing palms

of self-assigned gods

splitting into branches, firing her worth

into shapely one note melodies.

Even the single one never mind the many!

Cut from her grip. Then


a horn self-fashioned

she lays at her feet.