21 Powerful International Women’s Day Quotes to Uplift and Inspire You

For your Instagram captions or your morning mantras.

International Women’s Day is here, and with it comes a sense of both celebration and responsibility. International Women’s Day is a time to honor the extraordinary women who have helped pave the way for progress, from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Malala Yousafzai to Janet Mock.

It’s a time to applaud the positive changes the #MeToo Movement and others have made in bringing sexual harassment and assault to the forefront of the national conversation. It’s also a time to reflect on how much change there is left to make to achieve true gender equality in our society.

With the World Economic Forum saying that gender parity is more than 200 years away, it can feel hard—hopeless, even—to stay positive and motivated. But these powerful quotes by women, for women, and about women will help you feel inspired to #ChooseToChallenge (this year’s theme encouraging everyone to call out gender bias and inequality) in honor of International Women’s Day.

“If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”

Malala Yousafzai

“The best thing you can possibly do with your life is to tackle the motherfucking shit out of it.”

Cheryl Strayed

“I’m not going to continue knocking that old door that doesn’t open for me. I’m going to create my own door and walk through that.”

Ava DuVernay

“I don’t know a woman alive who isn’t courageous.”

Reese Witherspoon

“We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes—understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”

Arianna Huffington

“I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story.

Amy Schumer

“I believe that telling our stories, first to ourselves and then to one another and the world, is a revolutionary act. It is an act that can be met with hostility, exclusion, and violence. It can also lead to love, understanding, transcendence, and community.”

Janet Mock

“To all the little girls who are watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.”

Hillary Clinton

“I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one thing I’m willing to bet on, it’s myself.”


“I never cut class. I loved getting A’s, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.”

Michelle Obama

“Cherish forever what makes you unique, cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes.”

Bette Midler

“Be a girl with a mind, a bitch with an attitude, a lady with class.”


“A man told me that for a woman, I was very opinionated. I said, ‘For a man, you’re kind of ignorant.'”

Anne Hathaway

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femininity. And I want to be respected in all my femaleness. Because I deserve to be.”

Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

“The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”


“I think women are scared of feeling powerful and strong and brave sometimes. There’s nothing wrong with being afraid. It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it and sometimes you just have to blast through and have faith.”

Emma Watson

“Bitches get stuff done.”  

Tina Fey

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”


“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what a feminist is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”

Rebecca West

“If they want to make an example out of me, I will gladly be one. Hopefully we can be an example of dedication, courage, and persistence under fire. I also hope to be an example of not tolerating nonsense, too.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”

Madeleine Albright

Carry these words with you this International Women’s Day and beyond, and find out all of the ways you can get involved this year here.