#IWD2014: 20 Quotes From Women To Inspire the Hell Out of You

Today marks International Women’s Day, with this year’s theme centring on “inspiring change”. While being a day to celebrate the social, political and economic achievements of women, it also guides the world’s attention to areas that still need further action.

In keeping with this year’s theme, here are 20 quotes from women to inspire the hell out of you.

1. Katharine Hepburn 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I’ve just done what I damn well wanted to, and I’ve made enough money to support myself, and ain’t afraid of being alone.”

2. Amy Poehler 

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“I have no idea how to get men to notice me. I still don’t. Who cares?”

3. Judith Butler

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Possibility is not a luxury; it is as crucial as bread.”

4. Rachel Maddow

Source: JD Lasica

“Everything about feminism is about getting something in the world to get better for women, and to get the world to be less stupid on gender bifurcation terms.”


5. Maureen O’Hara

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“Above all else, deep in my soul, I’m a tough Irish woman.”

6. Tina Fey

The 84th Academy Awards
Source: Reddit

“When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.”

7. Caitlin Moran

Source: gogirlsgo.net

“You can tell whether some misogynistic societal pressure is being exerted on women by calmly enquiring, “And are the men doing this, as well?” If they aren’t, chances are you’re dealing with what we strident feminists refer to as “some total fucking bullshit.”

8. Laverne Cox

Source: bellasugar.com

“I met a woman on Saturday who said, ‘Because of trans women like you, I decided not to do sex work and I’m in school, and have a job now, and I’m living my dream.’ There’s going to be criticism of me, but if that can happen, if I can change one person’s life because of the work that I do, then that’s something.”

9. Doris Lessing

Source: npr.org

“Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: ‘You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do.”

10. Betty Friedan 

Source: theage.com

“No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor.”

11. Adrienne Rich

Source: biography.com

“Responsibility to yourself means that you don’t fall for shallow and easy solutions–marrying early as an escape from real decisions, getting pregnant as an evasion of already existing problems. It means that you refuse to sell your talents and aspirations short…and this, in turn, means resisting the forces in society which say that women should be nice, play safe, have low professional expectations, drown in love and forget about work, live through others, and stay in the places assigned to us.”

12. Jodie Foster

Source: hawtcelebs.com

“Traditionally, women who excel have had to place themselves carefully, because the journey is so fraught with disrespect, not being allowed in, all the lack of acceptance, and old traditional wounds, but it doesn’t have to be that way…”


13. bell hooks

Source: msmagazine.com

“No other group has so had their identity socialised out of existence as have black women… When black people are talked about the focus tends to be on black men; and when women are talked about the focus tends to be on white women.”

14. Marjane Satrapi

Source: interviewmagazine.com

“I had learned that you should always shout louder than your aggressor.”

15. Aun San Suu Kyi

Source: asiasociety.org

“In societies where men are truly confident of their own worth, women are not merely tolerated but valued.”

16. Susan B. Anthony

Source: worldoffemale.com

“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”

17. Alice Walker

Source: deepsouthmag.com

“And so our mothers and grandmothers have, more often than not anonymously, handed on the creative spark, the seed of the flower they themselves never hoped to see – or like a sealed letter they could not plainly read.”

18. Virginia Woolf

Source: virginiawoolfblog.com

             “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”

 19. Ellen Page

Source: kodyboye.com

“I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”

20. Malala Yousafzai

Source: abcnews.com

“In Pakistan, when we were stopped from going to school, at that time I realised that education … Is the power for women, and that’s why the terrorists are afraid of education.”

This list is by no means exhaustive – add your own favourite quotes below!

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