Celebrate Women's History Month With These Empowering Quotes From Famous Ladies
Can we get a round of applause for women? Though we wish to celebrate women and their accomplishments 365 days a year, March is a month specifically dedicated to lifting up the ladies.
Officially commencing in 1987 in the U.S. (though “Women’s History Week" was celebrated for years prior), Women's History Month aims to spotlight the often glossed-over contributions of women throughout the decades. As we honor spectacular herstory, we implore you to check out these inspiring quotes from women artists, journalists, politicians, and humanitarians of today and yesteryear.
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." — Eleanor Roosevelt
According to George Washington University, the former First Lady uttered these inspiring, timeless words in 1943. Known for being "the longest-serving First Lady throughout her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four terms in office," Eleanor Roosevelt was a politician, an author, a diplomat, a feminist, an activist, and a United Nations spokeswoman, per WhiteHouse.gov.
In the '60s, President John F. Kennedy appointed her to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps as well as the chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Women, making Eleanor Roosevelt a humanitarian force to be reckoned with.
"Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women." — Maya Angelou
She knew why the caged bird sings, and she certainly knew of the communal power that comes with women standing up for themselves. Late author, poet, and activist Maya Angelou is celebrated to this day for her prolific career, which spawned inspiring poems like "On the Pulse of Morning" and "Phenomenal Woman."
Among her many accolades, she won three Grammy Awards and was presented with the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
"By holding on even amid cruelty and loss, and then expanding to a sense of compassion, an ability to love – by holding on to her humanity, she has inspired countless others who have known injustice and misfortune in their own lives," former President Barack Obama said as he honored her.
"I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased.” — Laverne Cox
Recognized for her performance as Sophia Burset in Emmy-winning Netflix drama Orange Is the New Black, Laverne Cox is a loud and proud LGBTQ activist. The year 2014 was a big one for the performer, as she became the first openly transgender Emmy nominee and the first openly transgender person to be featured on the cover of TIME.
When feminist author bell hooks critiqued the actor's outer appearance during a conversation at The New School in 2014, Laverne responded with this: “If I’m embracing a patriarchal gaze with this presentation, it’s the way that I’ve found something that feels empowering ... I’ve never been interested in being invisible and erased.”
"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception." — Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Often referred to as "R.B.G.," Ruth Bader Ginsburg gifted the world with this empowering quote during a 2009 interview with USA Today. Celebrated for her lifelong fight for gender equality in the U.S., Ruth Bader Ginsburg became the second woman (and the first Jewish woman) to serve on the Supreme Court.
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness." — Oprah Winfrey
The "Queen of All Media" birthing a killer quote about queendom? It just feels correct. Known for her wise words and empathetic nature, the Oscar-nominated actor, journalist, talk show host, philanthropist, and producer boasts her own magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, and cable network, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
"Women are the real architects of society." — Cher
Snap out of it! The Grammy-winning "If I Could Turn Back Time" singer is as outspoken as she is iconic. Once dubbed the "Pioneer of the Belly Beautiful," by People (as she frequently and unabashedly showed off her abs on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour), Cher has never been afraid to be herself and break barriers. [Insert hair flip here.]
"Don't think about making women fit the world — think about making the world fit women.” — Gloria Steinem
Famous for going undercover as a Playboy Bunny in the 1960s (and later publishing the exposé “A Bunny's Tale”), the journalist and second-wave feminist leader was asked about whether she thought women "should feel obligated to continue in the workforce" in 2010, per Yale Daily News.
“Dispense with the word ‘should,’” Gloria Steinem stated. “Don’t think about making women fit the world — think about making the world fit women.”
The Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient feels women should make decisions individually, regardless of cultural expectations. Amen.