33 Inspirational Quotes For Women That Can Make Anyone Feel Empowered

Published April 26, 2018
Updated July 17, 2022

These inspirational quotes for women, courtesy of everyone from Anne Frank to Beyoncé, reveal the true meaning of strength, equality, and courage.

Inspirational Quotes For Women Florence Nightingale
“I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.”
— Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing
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Janis Joplin
“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.”
— Janis Joplin, American musician
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Inspirational Quotes For Women Malala Yousafzai
“We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.”
— Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani activist and Nobel laureate
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Sojourner Truth
"If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these together ought to be able to turn it back and get it right side up again."
— Sojourner Truth, American abolitionist
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Grace Hopper
"If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It's much easier to apologize than it is to get permission."
— Grace Hopper, U.S. Naval Admiral and computer scientist

Inspirational Quotes For Women Mary Wollstonecraft
"I do not wish [women] to have power over men; but over themselves."
— Mary Wollstonecraft, English writer and philosopher
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Sonia Sotomayor
"I do know one thing about me: I don't measure myself by others' expectations or let others define my worth."
— Sonia Sotomayor, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
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Gloria Steinem
“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn. We are filled with the popular wisdom of several centuries just past, and we are terrified to give it up.”
— Gloria Steinem, American activist
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Meryl Streep
"What makes you different or weird, that's your strength."
— Meryl Streep, American actress
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Anne Frank
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
— Anne Frank, German diarist
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Nora Ephron
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
— Nora Ephron, American writer and filmmaker
Scott McDermott/USA/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“A man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian author
Chris Boland

Melinda Gates
“A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman.”
— Melinda Gates, American philanthropist

Dame Rebecca West
''I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.''
— Dame Rebecca West, British author, journalist, and literary critic
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Audre Lorde
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
— Audre Lorde, American writer and civil rights activist
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Ruth Bader Ginsburg
"Women belong in all places where decisions are being made... It shouldn't be that women are the exception."
— Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
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Louisa May Alcott
"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning to sail my ship."
— Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women
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Bell Hooks
“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, American author and activist
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Susan B Anthony
"Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less."
— Susan B. Anthony, American suffragist
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Madeleine Albright
“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, Former U.S. Secretary of State

Lady Gaga
“Some women choose to follow men, and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”
— Lady Gaga, American musician
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Mae Jemison
"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life.”
— Dr. Mae Jemison, engineer, physician, and NASA astronaut
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Jk Rowling
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
— J. K. Rowling, British novelist
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Indira Gandhi
"You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose."
— Indira Gandhi, first female prime minister of India
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Naomi Wolf
"The enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious – or whatever we please.”
— Naomi Wolf, American author and journalist
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Shonda Rhimes
"Words have power. TV has power. My pen has power."
— Shonda Rhimes, American television producer and screenwriter

Erin Mckean
"You don't have to be pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone.”
—Erin McKean, American lexicographer

Beyonce Knowles
“Power is not given to you. You have to take it."
—Beyoncé Knowles, American musician
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Clara Barton
"I may sometimes be willing to teach for nothing, but if paid at all, I shall never do a man's work for less than a man's pay."
— Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross
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Oprah Winfrey
“I know for sure that what we dwell on is what we become.”
— Oprah Winfrey, American media magnate and philanthropist

Virginia Woolf
“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.”
— Virginia Woolf, English writer
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Byron Katie
“It’s not your job to like me, it’s mine.”
— Byron Katie, American speaker and author
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Judy Garland
“Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
— Judy Garland, American singer and actress

The best quotes have a unique power to inspire us to change our thinking, see things from a new perspective, and even propel us into action. We apply these powerful words to our own lives and they become our mantras.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the words of motivation, encouragement, and wisdom from important women past and present collected in the gallery above. And while these words may have been spoken and written by women, everyone can learn something about life from these empowering messages.

After this look at inspirational quotes for women, check out the most fascinating quotes from history's greatest minds. Then, have a look at some truly life-changing quotes from Bruce Lee. Finally, read the full story behind Rosie the Riveter.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Kelly, Erin. "33 Inspirational Quotes For Women That Can Make Anyone Feel Empowered." AllThatsInteresting.com, April 26, 2018, https://allthatsinteresting.com/inspirational-quotes-for-women. Accessed May 19, 2024.