Women's History Month

45 Quotes That’ll Inspire You During Women’s History Month

"We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back."

by Amanda Chatel and Lauren Grant
Originally Published: 
45 Quotes For Women’s History Month 2021 To Lift You Up
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Since 1987, March has been recognized as Women’s History Month. Originally initiated by Congress in 1981, the first Women’s History Week was celebrated in 1982. But because one week is hardly enough, by the time 1987 rolled around we got a full month to celebrate the women who came before us, the women we are today, and the generations of women to follow.

During Women's History Month, you can donate to charities that advocate for reproductive rights. You can educate yourself on the history of equal suffrage. You can pay homage to your heroes. You can read books written by women, watch movies made by and about women, and tell the women in your life just how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate them.

To get you ready and rearing to go for Women’s History Month, here are some words of wisdom for inspiration (and your Instagram captions) from some phenomenal women.

1. "I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind leading." — Amy Poehler

2. "Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women." — Maya Angelou

3. "The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any." — Alice Walker

4. "I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a b*tch, OK." — Madonna

5. "Find out who you are and do it on purpose." — Dolly Parton

6. "Without justice there can be no love." — bell hooks

7. "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." — Audre Lorde

8. "Some people ask: 'Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights or something like that?' Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general — but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women." — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

9. "Women and girls can do whatever they want. There is no limit to what we as women can accomplish." — Michelle Obama

10. "I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives." — Jane Austen

11. "A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman." — Melinda Gates

12. "I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself." — Simone de Beauvoir

13. "No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her own body." — Margaret Sanger

14. "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." — Malala Yousafzai

15. "It is easier to live through someone else than to complete yourself. The freedom to lead and plan your own life is frightening if you have never faced it before. It is frightening when a woman finally realizes that there is no answer to the question 'who am I?' except the voice inside herself." ― Betty Friedan

16. "It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." ― Madeleine Albright

17. "If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation." ― Abigail Adams

18. "Men should think twice before making widowhood women's only path to power." ― Gloria Steinem

19. "If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend." ― Charlotte Brontë

20. "My mother did not raise me to ask for permission to lead." ― Ayanna Pressley

21. "The kindest words/my father said to me/women like you/drown oceans." ― Rupi Kaur

22. "Don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions; go over, under, through, and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it." — Tina Fey

23. "A wise woman wishes to be no one’s enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone’s victim." ― Maya Angelou

24. "Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women." — Nora Ephron

25. "For most of history, Anonymous was a woman." — Virginia Woolf

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26. "I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story — I will." — Amy Schumer

27. "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass." — Maya Angelou

28. "I hate men who are afraid of women's strength." — Anaïs Nin

29. "It is amazing what a woman can do if only she ignores what men tell her she can’t." — Carol K. Carr

30. "Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.” — Oprah Winfrey

31. "Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It's about making life more fair for women everywhere. It's not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It's about baking a new pie." — Gloria Steinem

32. “Where there is a woman there is magic." — Ntozake Shange

33. "Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights." — Hillary Clinton

34. "I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life." — Eleanor Roosevelt

35. “Women may be the one group that grows more radical with age.” — Gloria Steinem

36. "I am learning all the time. My tombstone will be my diploma." — Eartha Kitt

37. “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” ― Frida Kahlo

38. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” – Rosa Parks

39. “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” ― Marie Curie

40. “Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” ― Ruth Bader Ginsburg

41. “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” ― Amelia Earhart

42. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” ― Nora Ephron

43. “I am always busy, which is perhaps the chief reason why I am always well.” ― Elizabeth Cady Stanton

44. “You have trust in what you think. If you splinter yourself and try to please everyone, you can’t. It’s important to stay the course. I don’t think I would have lasted this long if I’d listened to anyone. You have to listen somewhat and then put that to the side and know that what you do matters.” ― Annie Leibovitz

45. “It's not the absence of fear, it's overcoming it. Sometimes you've got to blast through and have faith.” ― Emma Watson

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