17 Quotes From Inspiring Women to Get You Revved Up for IWD

17 Quotes From Inspiring Women to Get You Revved Up for IWD

International Women’s Day is back for another year. In the lead up to this important date, we’ve taken a look at the key events being organised for the date; we’ve chatted about women-led businesses you can support and we’ve also looked at media (books, podcasts and shows) created by and for women. Today, we want to chat about inspiring, International Women’s Day adjacent, quotes.

Sure, scrolling through motivational quotes can feel a little cheesy from afar, but sometimes, reading the words of those we admire can light a bit of a fire beneath us. And at the very least, these kinds of quotes often act as a great source of inspiration for any International Women’s Day social media captions you may be considering. (Hey, you know you were wondering what to post.)

So, with that considered, we’ve decided for this year’s IWD to pull together a list of quotes that feel particularly poignant to us. We hope they feel that way to you too.

Happy International Women’s Day, pals.

International Women’s Day: Powerful quotes by inspiring women

Cathy Freeman

“Disappointment and adversity can be catalysts for greatness. There’s something particularly exciting about being the hunter, as opposed to the hunted. And that can make for powerful energy.”

International Women's Day quotes
International Women’s Day quotes. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”

Maya Angelou

“I am woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me.”

Luvvie Ajayi

“In a world that wants women to whisper, I choose to yell.”

Jane Fonda

“I hope that men understand that the fight for equality benefits everyone, and that it’s in everyone’s best interest to have men and women be able to shoulder the same societal responsibilities at every single level – economically, militarily, spiritually, parentally.”

Miranda Tapsell

“Don’t apologise for the space you’ve taken, even if in some situations you’re made to feel you’ve taken the spot of someone else. What you have to say is valuable.”

– Quote via Marie Claire

Gloria Steinem

“Don’t think about making women fit the world — think about making the world fit women.”

Audre Lorde

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”


“I think men are the coolest. But you don’t really need them to live. My mom said to me, ‘You know, sweetheart, one day you should settle down and marry a rich man. I said, ‘Mum, I am a rich man.’”

International Women's Day quotes.
International Women’s Day quotes. Malala Yousafzai (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Malala Yousafzai

“I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

Janet Mock

“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.”

Roxane Gay

“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying — trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”

Jessica Watson

“You don’t have to be someone special to achieve something amazing. You’ve just got to have a dream, believe in it and work hard.”

Angela Davis

“I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”

Inspiring International Women’s Day quotes. Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Photo by Nicolò Campo/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”

Grace Tame

“…hear me now. Using my voice, amongst a growing chorus of voices that will not be silenced.”

Tarana Burke

“You don’t have to be anything but yourself to be worthy.”

These quotes are only a small selection of the inspiring words you’ll find speak to the passion and power of women fighting for change on dates like International Women’s Day and beyond. But hopefully, they act as a solid starting point.

This article has been updated since its original publish date.

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