41 Empowering Quotes By Women, For Women

From founders to authors, activists, and leaders, here's a list of inspiring quotes to honor history's trailblazing women.

Here at The Helm we’re always celebrating the women who have challenged gendered stereotypes to pave a path forward for all womankind. From female founders and leaders to authors, actors, and activists, read on for our favorite wise words from some of the world’s most iconic and inspiring women.

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” – Malala Yousafzai

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” – Hillary Clinton

“When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.” – Audre Lorde

“Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“My mom told me a couple of years ago, ‘Sweetheart, settle down and marry a rich man.’ I said, ‘Mom, I am a rich man.” – Cher

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling

“Women asking for raises should not only know their value, but they should ask with the confidence that they’re helping the company to be successful.” – Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…it is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.” – Emma Watson

“When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” – Melinda Gates

“When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.” - Melinda Gates

“A champion is defined not by their wins, but how they can recover when they fall.” – Serena Williams

“To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.” – Rosa Parks

“I wish I’d fought harder when people wouldn’t pay me, pushed back on contract terms, been more demanding of my expectations and needs from the get-go. As a young entrepreneur, you can tend to back down. But you have to have the confidence to get your seat at the table.” – Jaclyn Johnson, founder of Create & Cultivate

“When women do better, economies do better.” – Christine Lagarde

“It’s time we become comfortable with the uncomfortable conversations about race…Instead of being color blind, we need to be color brave.” – Mellody Hobson

“A girl should be two things: Who and what she wants.” – Coco Chanel

“Do not live someone else’s life and someone else’s idea of what womanhood is. Womanhood is everything that is inside of you.” – Viola Davis

“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” – G.D. Anderson, founder of The Cova Project

“Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” - bell hooks

“There’s something so special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.” – Rhianna

“Well-behaved women rarely make history.” – Laurel Thatcher Ulright

“A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.” – Gina Carey

“Where there is woman, there is magic.” – Ntozake Shange

“Real fearless and fierce women compliment other women and we recognize and embrace that their shine in no way diminishes our light and that it actually makes it brighter.” – Gabrielle Union

“I encourage women to step up. Don’t wait for somebody to ask you.” – Reese Witherspoon

“Being the one woman in the room should not be seen as a victory. If there’s only one of us in the room, we’re still a token; we don’t actually have an empowered voice. If there’s two of us, we’re still a minority. If there’s three, then we’re allowed to have a multiplicity of opinions.” – Kerry Washington

“What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn? That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not.” – Rupi Kaur

“After all those years as a woman hearing, ‘not thin enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not this enough, not that enough,’ almost overnight I woke up one morning and thought, ‘I am enough.’” – Anna Quindlen

“If you want to change this world, this community that we all live in, then get up and do it. And just start something.” – Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe

“Be determined enough to pursue your goals, but be flexible enough to roll with the punches.” – Heidi Zak, co-founder of ThirdLove

“When things get tough just keep on going because if you keep on going, you get a better chance of getting there. Most obstacles you can actually overcome, but you won’t if you just stop. So be ambitious, go for the big goal and try and change something that’s really meaningful.” – Anne Boden, founder of Starling Bank

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change... I am changing the things I cannot accept.” - Angela Davis

“Embracing failure is the most important trait I’ve developed in my career … It has made me stronger, more confident and more resilient.” – Reshma Saujani

“Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.” – Gloria Steinem

“You’ve got to rattle your cage door. You’ve got to let them know that you’re in there, and that you want out. Make noise.” – Florynce Kennedy

“Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” – Betty Friedan

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it’s possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” – Audrey Hepburn