Quotes 50+ Outstanding Feminist Quotes to Inspire and Empower Develop or hone your perspective on gender equality with these feminist quotes from women thinkers, authors, and activists. By Staff Feb 15, 2021 From the suffragettes of the 18th and 19th centuries to the #MeToo activists and glass-ceiling breakers still fighting for equality today, the feminist movement has evolved around the world for hundreds of years. Feminism that is intersectional and inclusive is more important than ever, with activists amplifying the voices of women whose struggles are compounded further by their race, identity, and class. While many rights for women have already been won, there is no equality to speak of until all social, economic, and racial injustices have been vanquished.We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite quotes on feminism from the foremost thinkers, speakers, writers, and activists, from both contemporary voices and those who paved the way. Their words inspire us, lend a bit of courage when needed, and offer insight into what it really means to fight for gender equality. Quotes from Historic Feminist FiguresLook at any major campaign—whether it’s the ongoing battle for racial justice or the demand for visibility and equity for members of the LGBTQIA+ community—and you’ll find that the key to taking an informed, powerful stance is understanding the history of the movement. Though both the emerging first-wave feminists of the 16th through early 20th century and the second wave that followed in the 1960s were sometimes far from inclusive and had a long road ahead of them, their refusal to back down and their vocal opposition of an oppressive culture laid the groundwork for contemporary action. 1. "It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens... who formed the Union.” — Susan B. Anthony, On Women's Right to Vote2. “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, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams (compiled by Kat Eschner)3. “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” — Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre4. “If a woman have a pint and a man a quart—why can’t she have her little pint full?” — Sojourner Truth, Ain’t I A Woman?5. “I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” — Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman6. “A woman is not to marry a man merely because she is asked, or because he is attached to her, and can write a tolerable letter.” — Jane Austen, Emma7. “We cannot accept any code or creed that uniformly defrauds woman of all her natural rights.” — Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Woman's Bible8. “Let woman's claim be as broad in the concrete as the abstract. We take our stand on the solidarity of humanity, the oneness of life, and the unnaturalness and injustice of all special favoritism, whether of sex, race, country, or condition. If one link of the chain is broken, the chain is broken. A bridge is no stronger than its weakest part, and a cause is not worthier than its weakest element.” — Anna Julia Cooper, Women’s Cause Is One and Universal 9. “If we revert to history, we shall find that the women who have distinguished themselves have neither been the most beautiful nor the most gentle of their sex.” — Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman10. “Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board. For some they come in with the tide. For others, they sail forever on the same horizon, never out of sight, never landing until the Watcher turns his eyes away in resignation, his dreams mocked to death by Time. That is the life of men. Now women forget all those things they don't want to remember, and remember everything they don't want to forget. The dream is the truth. They then act and do things accordingly." — Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God11. “One of the simplest paths to deep change is for the less powerful to speak as much as they listen, and for the more powerful to listen as much as they speak.” — Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road12. “Who knows what women can be when they are finally free to become themselves? Who knows what women's intelligence will contribute when it can be nourished without denying love?” — Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique13. “Now, we are becoming the men we wanted to marry. Once, women were trained to marry a doctor, not be one.” — Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions14. “It is obvious that discrimination exists. Women do not have the opportunities that men do. And women that do not conform to the system, who try to break with the accepted patterns, are stigmatized as 'odd’ and ‘unfeminine.’ The fact is that a woman who aspires to be chairman of the board, or a Member of the House, does so for exactly the same reasons as any man. Basically, these are that she thinks she can do the job and she wants to try.” — Shirley Chisholm, We Rise15. “The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own.” — Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique16. “If the feminine issue is so absurd, is because the male's arrogance made it 'a discussion.’” — Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex17. “As the sole woman in the civil rights leadership group, I was determined to bring wise women together to learn and gather strength from the experience.” — Dorothy Height, Open Wide the Freedom Gates18. “If I want to define myself, I first have to say, ‘I am a woman’; all other assertions will arise from this basic truth. A man never begins by positing himself as an individual of a certain sex: that he is a man is obvious.” — Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex 19. “The feminine mystique says that the highest value and the only commitment for women is the fulfillment of their own femininity. It says that the great mistake of Western culture, through most of its history, has been the undervaluation of this femininity.” — Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique20. “One person plus one typewriter constitutes a movement." — Pauli Murray, Song in a Weary Throat 21. It takes a great deal of courage and independence to decide to design your own image instead of the one that society rewards, but it gets easier as you go along.” — Germaine Greer, The Female Eunuch22. “Power is being redefined. Women often explain with care that we mean power to control our lives, but not to dominate others.” — Gloria Steinem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions23. “The most 'emancipated' women ... showed a far greater capacity for complete sexual enjoyment.” — Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique24. “[Women] will not have to sacrifice the right to honorable competition and contribution anymore than they will have to sacrifice marriage and motherhood.” — Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique25. “Why is it acceptable for women to be secretaries, librarians, and teachers, but totally unacceptable for them to be managers, administrators, doctors, lawyers, and Members of Congress?” — Shirley Chisholm, We RiseQuotes from Contemporary FeministsOver time, the third and fourth waves of feminism emerged, bringing with them necessary change that redefined what it meant to fight for gender equality. Intersectionality became a foundational element of feminism, and the voices of women of color, women who identify as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, working-class women, members of the international community, and disabled women have been rightfully amplified. These quotes from a variety of modern-day feminists celebrate diversity while recognizing the overlap of injustice disproportionately faced by women of certain backgrounds and social standings. 26. “I would like to ask that we begin to dream about and plan for a different world. A fairer world. A world of happier men and happier women who are truer to themselves. And this is how to start: We must raise our daughters differently. We must also raise our sons differently.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists 27. “Young feminists are a thrilling phenomenon: smart, bold, funny defenders of rights and claimers of space—and changers of the conversation.” — Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me28. “If women want a feminist revolution—ours is a world that is crying out for feminist revolution—then we must assume responsibility for drawing women together in political solidarity. That means we must assume responsibility for eliminating all the forces that divide women.” — bell hooks, Ain't I a Woman29. “For me, the process of embodying confidence was less about convincing myself of my own worth and more about rejecting and unlearning what society had hammered into me.” — Lindy West, Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman 30. “You do not win by struggling to the top of a caste system, you win by refusing to be trapped within one at all.” — Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth31. “On social media, you’re meant to be performing yourself…[There are] things that are put more on female performers, like this idea that you’re supposed to be relatable. You’re supposed to be a rockstar, but you’re also supposed to have a great vegan cookie recipe…What’s the currency here? What are we really trading?” — St. Vincent, St. Vincent: Words and Music32. “This is not a men vs. women issue. It’s about people vs. prejudice.” — Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism33. "Some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don’t hate themselves. So that’s why you need to be a little bit brave.” — Mindy Kaling, Why Not Me? 34. “It's the mark of a backward society—or a society moving backward—when decisions are made for women by men.” — Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift35. “Since stepping reluctantly into public life, I’ve been held up as the most powerful woman in the world and taken down as an ‘angry black woman.’ I’ve wanted to ask my detractors which part of that phrase matters to them the most—is it ‘angry’ or ‘black’ or ‘woman’?” — Michelle Obama, Becoming36. "Growing up in my generation, we were told that women need protection. A woman is precious and must be sheltered and cherished—what a load of BS! We don’t need protection, we need armor." — Margaret Trudeau, Certain Women of an Age 37. “In the United States, it’s fine for a woman to claim equality so long as she cheerfully opts out.” — Hillary Rodham Clinton, What Happened38. “Success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less.” — Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In39. “The easiest way to disregard a woman’s voice is to package her as a scold.” — Michelle Obama, Becoming 40. “Being a feminist means believing that every woman should be able to use her voice and pursue her potential, and that women and men should all work together to take down the barriers and end the biases that still hold women back.” — Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift41. “The promise of equality is not the same as true equality.” — Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In 42. "If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?" — Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala43. “I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists44. “You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.” — Mary Beard, Women and Power: A Manifesto45. “I believe feminism is grounded in supporting the choices of women even if we wouldn’t make certain choices for ourselves.” — Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist 46. “No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.” — Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala47. “Feminists are celebrating our victories and acknowledging our privilege when we have it. We’re simply refusing to settle. We’re refusing to forget how much work is yet to be done. We’re refusing to relish the comforts we have at the expense of the women who are still seeking comfort.” — Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist48. “As women gain rights, families flourish, and so do societies. That connection is built on a simple truth: Whenever you include a group that's been excluded, you benefit everyone. And when you're working globally to include women and girls, who are half of every population, you're working to benefit all members of every community. Gender equity lifts everyone. Women's rights and society's health and wealth rise together.” — Melinda Gates, The Moment of Lift49. “Women of today are still being called upon to stretch across the gap of male ignorance and to educate men as to our existence and our needs." — Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches 50. “My grandmother Dorothea always said that it was a combination of beauty and strength that made southern women ‘whiskey in a teacup.’ We may be delicate and ornamental on the outside, she said, but inside we’re strong and fiery.” — Reese Witherspoon, Whiskey in a Teacup51. “Teach [your daughter] to reject likability. Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people.” — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions52. “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” — Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In Recommended Must-Hear Contemporary Black Women Authors Inspiring and Motivational Books for Women Audre Lorde Quotes Every Activist Should Know Up Next The Best Self-Development Listens for Women From discovering self-love to finding that work-life balance, these self-development audiobooks are great additions to any woman’s listening library.