20 Quotes From Women For International Women's Day That'll Inspire You
Being a woman is truly an amazing thing, and I think we can all agree that we're ready to let that be heard on International Women's Day. If you've somehow never heard of the holiday, it's a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of women while also acknowledging the work that has yet to be done. There are usually a bunch of events around the world, from marches to rallies where women share networking opportunities, life lessons, and more. So I mean, it really is an exciting time. If you're interested in getting involved this year, these quotes for International Women's Day will get you inspired AF.
This year the holiday, which falls on March 8, is all about challenging gender biases. According to the International Women's Day website, the theme is #BalanceforBetter, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. "Right now is a great and important time in history to do everything possible to help forge a more gender-balanced world. Women have come a long way, yet there's still more to be achieved," a statement on the site reads.
It's a message that many women have tried to drive home for years, from a former first lady to a renowned poet. Check them out:
1. "No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens." - Michelle Obama
Former first lady Michelle Obama has routinely showed up and advocated for the betterment of young girls and women, from creating initiatives to empower women to sharing "girl power" playlists. She said these specific words at a 2014 leadership summit for students in the Mandela Washington Fellowship, per PBS News.
2. "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." - Margaret Thatcher
Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — also known as the “Iron Lady” of British politics — reportedly said this line during a speech at the National Union of Townswomen's Guilds Conference on May 20, 1965, per Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail. Way to throw down some harsh truths, Maggie.
3. "Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in." - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Unfortunately, there are still some guys out there who are intimidated and put off by women who aren't meek and mousy. But there's no reason to let that deter you from your true self, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in her 2014 book We Should All Be Feminists.
4. “This body is resilient. It can endure all kinds of things. My body offers me the power of presence. My body is powerful.” - Roxane Gay
If you've ever felt the pressure to look a certain way (same, sis) or have put yourself down because of the way you look, do yourself a favor and stop. As Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay implied in her 2017 book Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, you're unique in your own way and the best thing you can do with that is to own it.
5. "Human rights are women's rights, and women's rights are human rights." - Hillary Clinton
6. "Women will be hidden no more." - Janelle Monae
Janelle Monae, who (as The Los Angeles Times puts it) "went from cyborg art nerd to queer icon with Dirty Computer," her 2018 Grammy-nominated album, once spoke out about the importance of female visibility, reminding the world that it has been women who birthed some of the biggest names in history. During a speech at the 2017 Women's March, she said, per Bustle:
Women will be hidden no more. We will not remain hidden figures. We have names. ... It was woman that gave you Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It was woman that gave you Malcolm X. And according to the Bible, it was a woman that gave you Jesus. Don't you ever forget it.
7. "Phenomenal woman, That's me." - Maya Angelou
Is there anything more fitting than the poem Phenomenal Woman from the late and great Maya Angelou? The piece, which is all about being confident in your own skin, reads in part:
Pretty women wonder where my secret lies
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
8. “Power’s not given to you. You have to take it." - Beyoncé
This one is from her 2013 HBO documentary Life Is But a Dream and the sentiment appears to have worked well for the Grammy-winning megastar.
9. "We should all have the absolute and inalienable right to define ourselves." - Chelsea Manning
With President Donald Trump trying to implement a transgender military ban and threats against trans people making headlines practically by the day, it's safe to say that the fight for transgender rights is realer than ever. American activist and whistleblower Chelsea Manning has repeatedly weighed in on the topic, expressing her hopes and goals for the future, as she once did with this quote from a 2014 opinion piece she penned for The Guardian:
A doctor, a judge, or a piece of paper shouldn't have the power to tell someone who he or she is. We should all have the absolute and inalienable right to define ourselves. In our own terms and in our languages, and to be able to express our identity and perspectives without fear of consequences or retribution.
10. "Do it anyway." - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) made what appeared to be impossible, possible in 2018, when she upset a long-time incumbent to win a seat in Congress — and she's encouraged others to aim high also. "They'll tell you you're too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do it anyway," she tweeted in 2018.
11. "As long as we're trying, I think that goes a long way." - Laverne Cox
Living in a male-dominated world isn't an easy feat, but the important thing is that you give it your best shot, according to actress and advocate Laverne Cox, known for her role as Sophia Burset on Netflix's Orange Is The New Black. In a 2014 interview with MTV News, she said:
Beyond truth and trans, one of the big Ts for me would probably be trying because at the end of the day we can think whatever, but it's like, what are we going to do? Because as long as we're trying, I think that goes a long way. Trying, for me, is more about process than it is about result. I love the word trying. I'm trying. Because it's an emphasis on process and practice and not the result.
12. “When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” - Audre Lorde
It's important to the late writer and activist Audre Lorde that women are vocal and say what they feel, no matter what, as she wrote in her poem A Litany For Survival.
13. “Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation." - Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
14. "Keep your dream alive." - Phan Thi Kim Phúc
Phan Thi Kim Phúc, also known as the "Napalm Girl," captured global attention after a heartbreaking picture of her running from an attack during the Vietnam War made headlines. As an adult, she has worked with child victims of war, and in a 2018 interview with Public Radio International (PRI) she shared an empowering message in 2018 for little girls all over. "Please have a dream. Keep your dream alive just like that little girl."
15. "Know what? B*tches get stuff done." - Tina Fey
Need I say more? This Tina Fey quote, which she said during a 2008 Saturday Night Live sketch, according to Vox, is an ENTIRE mood.
16. "We need to be a society that enables and empowers women to make the best decisions for themselves." - Dr. Leana Wen
17. "This is where I will begin, but it is not where I will stop." - Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai, who made headlines in 2012 after she was targeted and shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls' rights to attend school, made this comment in her 2014 Nobel Peace Prize speech. "This is where I will begin, but it is not where I will stop. I will continue this fight until I see every child, every child in school," she said. It wasn't the only good quote in the speech, either. She also spoke about her solidarity with other girls and women, saying,
Though I appear as one girl, though I appear as one girl, one person, who is 5 foot 2 inches tall, if you include my high heels. (It means I am 5 foot only) I am not a lone voice, I am not a lone voice, I am many.
18. "Pay it no mind!" - Marsha P. Johnson
The late transgender activist, who is one of the people credited with starting the famous 1969 Stonewall Riots for LGBTQ+ rights, would reportedly say this in response to questions of whether she was male or female. In fact, the "P" of her middle initial apparently stands for the phrase, according to a New York Times obituary of her. If that's not inspiring, IDK what is.
19. "Ultimately, leadership is about the strength of one's convictions, the ability to endure the punches, and the energy to promote an idea." - Benazir Bhutto
20. "I am a woman with thoughts and questions and sh*t to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story – I will." - Amy Schumer
What would this list be without a quote from funny lady Amy Schumer? The comedian delivered this line during a speech about low confidence, body issues and more at the 2014 Gloria Awards and Gala, per Vulture.
TBH, I couldn't have said any of these better myself. Here's to getting ready for a happy International Women's Day, however you celebrate it!