'I Am Woman' By Helen Reddy Brought Feminism To The Pop Chart In 1972

Helen Reddy in 'Midnight Special' in January 1973. Photo by: Paul W. Bailey/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

With six words -- "I am woman, hear me roar" -- Australian singer Helen Reddy summed up a moment in 1972, and did it in a chart-topping hit. Anthems of social justice and empowerment don't necessarily make radio playlists, but the "I Am Woman" phenomenon was bigger than pop music; it was capping a year that saw congressional approval of the Equal Rights Amendment, passage of Title IX, and the launch of Gloria Steinem's Ms. magazine. Feminists, with their "women's lib" movement (as it was called then), were taking charge, in numbers too big to ignore. 

Long before Shania Twain celebrated feeling like a woman and Destiny’s Child encouraged women to be independent, there was Helen Reddy. Reddy was an unexpected superstar who empowered women with "I Am Woman," the first song to truly promote feminism. The 1972 tune made Reddy a symbol of feminism at the pinnacle of the women’s liberation movement.