8 Feminist Quotes From The 1940s That Are Still Relevant Today

While we may associate some time periods — like, say, the '40s — with antiquated ideas about gender norms, there are still tons of feminist quotes from the 1940s that are still relevant today. When it comes to women's rights, there's no doubt that our fight for justice and equality is as strong today as it's ever been; but we have a long history behind us, and remembering the words of powerful women who shaped past generations of young minds can also help us look ahead to the future.

Although feminism is notably active in today's Millennial generation, feminists have obviously been fighting for equal rights for decades before we were born. The major pioneers of feminism throughout history aren't flawless, of course; many of them touted ideas as far from intersectionalism as you might imagine. But they brought feminism into the public eye, and if the concept had never been introduced into our dialogue and public discourse, there's no telling how far behind we would be today — and considering how far we still have left to go, that's really saying something.

When it comes to history, we often focus on the major events that defined each decade — in the '40s, for example, it was the Second World War. But while this absolutely makes sense, it's still important to look back and see how cultural and societal views were developing and changing over time, even when they weren't the focus of the conversation at the time. For example, how people viewed feminism and how women themselves saw feminism in the 1940s can be enlightening as a means of understanding how feminism has grown and developed over time.

Here are some feminist quotes from the 1940s that show how long we've been fighting for equality — and which are definitely still relevant today.

1."In numbers there is strength, and we in America must help the women of the world."

-Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States

2. "We can do it!"

-World War II proganda poster and iconic image

3. “It is perfectly natural for the future woman to feel indignant at thee limitations posed upon her by her sex. The real question is not why she should reject them: the problem is rather to understand why she accepts them.”

- Simone de Beauvoir, French writer

STF/AFP/Getty Images

4. "The dogma of woman's complete historical subjection to men must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind."

- Mary Ritter Beard, American historian and archivist

5. "When men spoke, she knew that their worlds were larger than hers, their interests broader. She could not bear knowing that there were many things she didn't know; that a man could introduce a subject, and she would have to be silent."

- Dorothy West, American writer.

6. "Before I was ever in my teens, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. My goal was to be the greatest athlete that ever lived."

- Babe Didrikson Zaharias, Olympian in track, major athlete, and leader in women's golf

7. "I demanded more rights for women because I know what women had to put up with.”

Eva Perón, First Lady of Argentina

8. "No, I have never wanted to be a man. I have often wanted to be more effective as a woman, but I have never felt that trousers would do the trick!"

-Eleanor Roosevelt


Images: Wikimedia Commons (5)