There are only two female characters in The Piano Lesson, Berniece and her eleven-year-old daughter Maretha (OK, Grace too, but she has a really small roll). All the same, womankind has a strong voice in the form of Berniece. Berniece is often encouraged to take another husband, since hers has been dead for three years. She refuses, however, insisting that she doesn't need a man to be a woman, and she keeps Avery, the man she's dating, at arm's length. Of course, the play does cast doubt on Berniece's motivations for staying single. Is she just being a strong woman, or is she using this as a mask to hide her grief?
When Berniece summons the spirits of her ancestors at the end of the play, she mainly draws strength from the maternal line.
Berniece is the voice of femininity in the play.