Sometimes a few words can completely shift your perspective. A simple sentence or two from someone who has faced similar problems, even a complete stranger, may be all you need to rethink your situation. With this in mind, there are a number of inspiring quotes for International Women's Day that'll help you feel invincible. Whether you're struggling with direct personal issues or the implications of major political events, these women can help you out.
It's important to remember that successful people battle the same doubts and fears that you do. But as prominent business leaders, authors, engineers, songwriters, politicians, and philanthropists, these women have found ways to push past their doubts. This kind of firsthand insight just might inspire you to find the strength in your own life. If Grace Murray Hopper can become a kick-ass programmer in the 1940s, and Ellen Ochoa can make it to space and back, then you can make it through today.
From Japan to India to the United States, these many voices speak to one truth: the inherent strength and power of women. Their tenacity and brilliance shine through their words. Whatever barriers you face, these women have overcome similar (and sometimes worse) setbacks. So whatever you're up to this International Women's Day, let these words motivate and inspire you to greatness.
"I learned to make my mind large, as the universe is large, so that there is room for contradictions." — Maxine Hong Kingston
A renowned Chinese American author, Kingston has won the National Book Award and other accolades for her works, many of which have a feminist bent. For an intro to her work, consider The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts. It's one of those books that will stay with you long after you finish reading.
"I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have." — Eva Perón
As a First Lady of Argentina, Perón knew a thing or two about hidden strength. She supported the right to vote for women in the 1940s and 50s.
"I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance." — bell hooks
If you need a firsthand lesson in feminism and general badassery, look no further than bell hooks. This author and academic has inspired many people to rethink gender, class, race, and all of their messy intersections. Ain't I A Woman is a groundbreaking study of black womanhood.
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." — Margaret Mead
Chances are, you've encountered this quote a time or two. But it's worth taking a little time to learn about Mead, the sometimes-controversial anthropologist and underrated feminist hero in American history.
"Either way, change will come. It could be bloody, or it could be beautiful. It depends on us." — Arundhati Roy
An Indian author and activist, Roy is known for her beautiful novel, The God of Small Things. Her fiction is informed by her political activism.
"You manage things; you lead people." — Grace Murray Hopper
Prominent mathematician, programmer, and rear admiral of the U.S. Navy, Hopper broke all kinds of stereotypes from the 1930s until her death in 1992. In fact, Yale will rename Calhoun College in her honor.
"As a woman I have no country. As a woman my country is the whole world." —Virginia Woolf
It's difficult to overstate the influence of Virginia Woolf's works on literature. If this quote strikes your fancy, check out these additional Virginia Woolf quotes that are biting and beautiful.
"Defining myself, as opposed to being defined by others, is one of the most difficult challenges I face." – Carol Moseley-Braun
As the first African-American Senator, Moseley-Braun could teach a master class on self definition. After all, it takes a stern constitution to make your mark in the world of Chicago politics.
"I don't have dreams. How can I say it? I myself am a dream." — Ayumi Hamasaki
Japanese recording artist Hamasaki has made a name for herself by writing her own lyrics and producing her own music. In an industry that can flatten its performers into products, Hamasaki has remained a creator in her own right.
"To gain that which is worth having, it may be necessary to lose everything else." — Bernadette Devlin
An Irish socialist and activist, Devlin is a beloved (and sometimes controversial) figure. Rioter, revolutionary, and general badass, Devlin is one-of-a-kind.
"A crown, if it hurts us, is not worth wearing." — Pearl Bailey
A Broadway star and Tony Award winner, Bailey made waves in the music world from the 1930s until her death in 1990. She was a barrier-breaking star of stage and screen.
"This was the last astronaut job that was not (yet) done by a woman. Now with this milestone we can focus on the fact that what is important to succeed in life, it does not matter whether you are a man or a woman." — Ellen Ochoa
The first Hispanic woman to go into space, Ochoa's accomplishments did not end with her time as a NASA astronaut. She has also worked as an accomplished engineer and director of the Johnson Space Center.
"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." – Oprah Winfrey
Is it even necessary to introduce Winfrey? Born in rural Mississippi, she went on to become the Queen of All Media: talk show host, actress, and philanthropist.
"Be yourself, know what you want from life, and go get it." — Ghada Gebara
As far as businesswomen are concerned, Gebara is one to watch. She has served as CEO of Optimum Telecom Algeria (Djezzy), and certainly goes after what she wants in life.
"What do women want? Time." — María Elena Salinas
A Peabody Award winner, Salinas is a legendary broadcast journalist who has worked to empower the Hispanic community. She's also a renowned philanthropist and volunteer.