"Thick of It" was released as the lead single on October 7, 2016. The song topped the US Adult R&B Songs chart for 16 consecutive weeks. "U + Me (Love Lesson)" was released as the second single on February 17, 2017. The song reached number one on the Adult R&B Songs chart dated May 6, 2017, the week prior to the album's release. "Love Yourself", featuring Kanye West, was released as the third single on March 30, 2017.
Strength of a Woman debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 on the issue dated ending May 20, 2017, with 78,000 album-equivalent units, selling 72,000 standard copies in its first week. It became Blige's highest-charting album since 2009's Stronger with Each Tear, and her tenth top five entry on the chart. The album marked a significant spike of sales for the singer, whose previous release The London Sessions (2014) had opened at number nine, with first week sales of 55,000 copies.
Strength of a Woman received generally positive reviews from music critics. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 74, based on seven reviews. Jon Caramanica of The New York Times gave the album a positive review, stating that, "the album moves like a forest fire: ruthless, wide-ranging, and blunt." Matt Bauer of Exclaim! praised the lyrics, and called it Blige's best work in over a decade, but criticizing songs such as "Glow Up", and "Smile". In a positive review, Julianne Shepherd of Pitchfork considered the album a relief from Blige's previous album, The London Sessions, along with Blige sticking to what makes her unique. In a positive review, Andy Kellman of AllMusic gave the album 3.5 stars, calling some of the songs clichéd, however, praising the anthems on the album. Kate Hutchinson of The Guardian gave a mixed review of the album, criticizing the song "Glow Up", calling it too similar to other artists such as Rihanna, and Beyoncé. Despite these complaints, she praised the anthems included on the album. In another mixed review, Andy Gill of The Independent found the album using a generic R&B theme, however, stating that some songs included on the album are able to do it well, such as "Set Me Free".