The single established Chaka's career outside of the group Rufus, whom she would leave after their album Masterjam was released in late 1979. A music video was produced for Khan's version of "I'm Every Woman" at a time when the value of promotional films was increasing. The video, which features five dancing Chakas dressed in various outfits to represent "every woman," was made a few years before the onset of mainstream coverage of "music promos" through such outlets as MTV, VH1, and BET.
When "I'm Every Woman" was released, Houston's preceding single, "I Will Always Love You," was still at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (it remained there for eight more weeks). Houston's version of "I'm Every Woman" would become a bigger hit than the original, peaking at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in just its seventh and eighth week of release; remaining in the top 40 for nineteen weeks. The song became number one on the BillboardHot Dance Club Play chart, reached number five on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, and cracked the top 40 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart. Houston's cover was also a bigger international hit than the original version as it peaked within the top 5 in the UK and several other countries, and the top 20 in France, Australia, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Contrary to popular belief, Houston did not perform backing vocals on Khan's original 1978 version. Chaka Khan confirmed this in an interview with Lester Holt in 2012.
As a tribute to Chaka Khan, Houston proclaims Khan's name towards the end of the song.
Stephen Holden of NY Times wrote: "Though not as exuberantly sexy as the original, her version of Chaka Khan's 1978 hit, "I'm Every Woman," is a respectable imitation." Allmusic editor Stephen Thomas Erlewine praised the song: "especially her cover of "I'm Every Woman" are all first-rate urban pop songs that skillfully capture Houston at her best." Entertainment Weekly's Amy Linden praised the cover: "Just as triumphant is her tackling of Chaka Khan's signature tune, I'm Every Woman. To take on another diva's material requires the female equivalent of cojones, and Houston (wisely) doesn't muck around with the original's overall tone or arrangement. But she sure does it justice, even adding a sly Chaka shout-out as the cut fades." Rolling Stone called this rendition overwrought remake and that Whitney underminded her soul roots. A review on CD Universe is also a positive one: "Houston continues to mine her rich vein of ornate balladry and pop-flavored dance workouts on the Ashford & Simpson original "I'm Every Woman." USA Today praised the song too: "She adds surprises: Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman becomes sweaty house music."