Women have played important roles in shaping our world and history, and their contributions have often been overlooked. This listicle highlights 10 powerful quotes from famous female icons and their brief descriptions.
1. “I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only,’ not ‘as long as.’ I matter. Full stop.” – Chimamanda Adichie
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a Nigerian writer and storyteller who is best known for her themes of politics, culture, race, and gender. Her novels, short stories, and plays have all received both public and critical acclaim. Adichie has written the novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck, and the book-length essay We Should All Be Feminists.
2. “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was an American political figure, diplomat, pacifist, and activist. She was the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office, making her the longest-serving first lady of the United States.
3. “The best protection any woman can have… is courage.” – Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Elizabeth Cady Stanton was an American writer and activist who was a leader of the women’s rights movement in the U.S. during the mid- to late-19th century.
4. “Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world.” – Hillary Clinton
Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton served as the First Lady of the United States to the 42nd President, Bill Clinton. She has served as the 67th United States secretary of state under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013 and as a United States senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009.
5. “Investing in women means investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” – Melinda Gates
As the co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates works to implement global health initiatives, including access to contraception in third-world countries, and development of prevention strategies, vaccines, and treatments for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.
6. “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.” – Jennifer Lee
As the Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Studios, Jennifer Lee still holds the title of the first female director of a Walt Disney Animation Studios feature film – Frozen.
7. “I want to say to all the young women out there: There are going to be people along the way who try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.” – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is a singer-songwriter who broke records and Ticketmaster’s website in 2022. After releasing her 10th studio album in October, she became the first artist in history to claim the top ten spots on the Billboard Hot 100 song list. She is known for championing being true to oneself.
8. “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” – Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani female education activist and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. Now 24 years old and a recent Oxford University graduate, she continues to champion women and girls’ equality and education.
9. “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou was an American memoirist, popular poet, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Angelou was known for her fierce advocacy for civil rights, feminism, and social justice, and her work has inspired generations of women to stand up for themselves and others.
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
Jane Austen was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique, and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen’s plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favorable social standing and economic security, and her novels are often cited as examples of feminist literature. This quote speaks to Austen’s belief in the power and intelligence of women, and her recognition of the limitations and frustrations of a society that valued women primarily as wives and mothers.
These quotes from women throughout history serve as a reminder of the strength, resilience, and wisdom that women possess, and the important contributions they have made to society. From writers and activists to politicians and entrepreneurs, women have fought for their rights and the rights of others, shattered glass ceilings, and inspired future generations to do the same.
As we celebrate Women’s History Month, let us remember the trailblazing women who have come before us, and let us continue to strive for equality and justice for all.