Women have shattered glass ceilings and pushed the world to be a better, more inclusive place for generations. Their tireless efforts have brought about immense joy and change, threaded throughout moments of deep hardship, discrimination, and rejection. To celebrate the work they've done so far and to ensure it continues to be recognized, it's imperative to educate yourselves and future generations on the fearless women who fought for equal pay, the right to vote, and the recognition for being the "first" in their respective career fields — not just during Women's History Month, but all the time. Elevating the voices of women who've fought — and continue to fight — for change by sharing the most inspirational quotes from iconic women throughout history on your Instagram feed is one way you can pay your respects and keep their work alive.
Each one of these inspirational quotes honors a legendary woman's individual backstory and experiences. For example, Elaine Welteroth — the former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, who was the youngest and second Black person to hold the EIC title at Condé Nast — wrote of "speaking your dreams into existence" in her book, More Than Enough. She knew, during college, she wanted to be the editor of a magazine, and many years and career moves later, her dreams became history — or herstory, if you will.
Like Welteroth, women throughout history, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and education activist Malala Yousafzai, have taken on the challenges of the world, written their own stories, and lifted up other women in the process. In the 1996 Supreme Court case United States v. Virginia, Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion after the court deemed the Virginia Military Institute's all-male admissions policy to be unconstitutional. This paved the way for more women to train for and join the military. In December 2014, Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize after establishing the Malala Fund, advocating for girls' education. These moments set an example for future generations of young girls and women eager to leave their mark.
Any of the below inspirational quotes from iconic women such as Welteroth, RBG, and Malala would be a meaningful way to mark Women's History Month on your Instagram feed. They'd make great mantras to celebrate International Day of the Girl (Oct. 11) as well. Honestly, they'd work any day of the year. Celebrating, honoring, and uplifting women is a year-round business. Whether you're shouting out women in your circle, paying your respects to your heroes, or simply acknowledging yourself, embracing and posting these words will help show the world you're a fearless feminist.
1. “There is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it, if only we’re brave enough to be it.” — Amanda Gorman, “The Hill We Climb”
2. “If we don’t do the work, no one will ever witness it.” — Angela Davis, Vanity Fair
3. “I have learned not to allow rejection to move me.” — Cicely Tyson, Elle
4. “You can’t have true strength without vulnerability." — Regina King, The New York Times
5. “You can make so much difference with so little." — Diane von Furstenberg, Vogue
6. “Optimism is the fuel driving every fight I’ve been in.” — Vice President Kamala Harris, Elle
7. “The future of life as we know it is being determined by everything we’re doing — and not doing. Now.” — Oprah Winfrey, O Magazine, February 2019
8. “People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.” — Michelle Obama, 2016 speech in Manchester, New Hampshire
9. “Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.” — Ava DuVernay, “My Mic Sounds Nice”
10. “There is power in speaking your dreams into existence.” — Elaine Welteroth, More Than Enough
11. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harvard Radcliffe Institute luncheon
12. “Let us make our future now, and let us make today's dreams tomorrow’s reality.” — Malala Yousafzai, 2013 award acceptance speech at Harvard University
13. “You can't be hesitant about who you are.” — Viola Davis, Playbill
14. “If you are able to look yourself in the mirror every day with the decisions that you make, that's where power starts.” — Selena Gomez, Seventeen
15. “If you want something done, do it yourself. Sometimes you don’t know you can do it, but you do it anyway!” — Reese Witherspoon, Vogue
16. “The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence.” — Beyoncé, Elle
17. “I’ve always felt my best when I felt liberated from things that were holding me back." — Kate Hudson, Women's Health
18. “Don't become too narrow. Live fully. Meet all kinds of people. You'll learn something from everyone. Follow what you feel in your heart.” — Yuri Kochiyama, GlobalCitizen.org
19. “It takes a belief, it takes a determination, and it takes hard work.” — Megan Rapinoe, NPR
20. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” — Jane Goodall, GlobalCitizen.org
21. “I’m not here to be perfect and I’m not here to be anything but my best, whatever that means for me.” — Jennifer Lopez, Hola! magazine
22. “Never stop believing that fighting for what's right is worth it.” — Hillary Clinton, concession speech in November 2016
23. “Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make a doozy, and don’t be afraid to hit the ball.” — Billie Jean King, National Women’s History Museum
24. “If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?” — Tina Fey, Bossypants
25. “Saying ‘yes’ doesn’t mean I don’t know how to say no, and saying ‘please’ doesn’t mean I am waiting for permission.” — Amy Poehler, Yes Please