Quotes by and for Women

Until we get equality in education, we won't have an equal society.
- Sonia Sotomayor, Supreme Court Justice

"In Iroquois society, leaders are encouraged to remember seven generations in the past and consider seven generations in the future when making decisions that affect the people."
- Wilma Mankiller, the first female Chief of the Cherokee Nation

"Cautious, careful people, always casting about to preserve their reputation and social standing, never can bring about a reform. Those who are really in earnest must be willing to be anything or nothing in the world's estimation."
- Susan B. Anthony, civil rights leader

"Never limit yourself because of others' limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination."
- Mae Jemison, first African American female astronaut

"Having family responsibilities and concerns just has to make you a more understanding person."
- Sandra Day O'Connor, first female US Supreme Court justice

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!"
- Maya Angelou, poet

"Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got."
- Janis Joplin, American singer

"I am not here for women only, but also for women."
- Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

"One is not born a woman, one becomes one."
- Simone de Beauvoir, existentialist philosopher

"Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."
- Mother Teresa, Saint and Roman Catholic nun

"No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion."
- Carrie Chapman Catt, women's suffrage leader

"I really only love God as much as I love the person I love the least."
- Dorothy Day, journalist and activist

"We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily difference we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee."
- Marian Wright Edelman, activist

"I endeavor to make the most of everything."
- Victoria Woodhull, first female presidential candidate, 1872

"You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own."
- Michelle Obama, American First Lady

"Women more than men can strip war of its glamour and its out-of-date heroisms and patriotisms, and see it as a demon of destruction and hideous wrong."
- Lillian Wald, reformer and peace activist

"Feminism's agenda is basic: It asks that women not be forced to 'choose' between public justice and private happiness."
- Susan Faludi, feminist and writer

"Toughness doesn't have to come in a pinstripe suit."
- Dianne Feinstein, politician

"Parents can only give good advice or put them [children] on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."
- Anne Frank, Holocaust victim

"I decided it is better to scream. . . . Silence is the real crime against humanity."
- Nadezhda Mandelstam, author

"If we are to achieve a richer culture, rich in contrasting values, we must recognize the whole gamut of human potentialities, and so weave a less arbitrary social fabric, one in which each diverse human gift will find a fitting place."
- Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist

"I know what every colored woman in this country is doing. . . . Dying. Just like me. But the difference is they dying like a stump. Me, I'm going down like one of those redwoods. I sure did live in this world."
- Toni Morrison, author

"If society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodeled."
- Elizabeth Blackwell, the first women to become a medical doctor in the USA

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, "I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along." . . . You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
- Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal."
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton, activist

"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."
- Rebecca West, author

"The history of all times, and of today especially, teaches that...women will be forgotten if they forget to think about themselves."
- Louise Otto, German swimmer

"My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill the sharks. I will not resign myself to the usual lot of women who bow their heads and become concubines."
- TrieuThi Trinh, peasant who led an insurrection against Chinese invaders, 240 A.D. Vietnam

"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
- Marie Curie, scientist

"I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too."
- Elizabeth I, Queen of England

"We deny the right of any portion of the species to decide for another portion what is and what is not their 'proper sphere.' The proper sphere for all human beings is the largest and highest which they are able to attain to."
- Harriet Taylor Mill, philosopher

"Helmer: "Before all else you are a wife and a mother." Nora: 'That I no longer believe. I believe that before all else I am a human being.'"
- Ibsen, The Dolls' House

"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform."
- Diane Mariechild, author

"For what is done or learned by one class of women becomes, by virtue of their common womanhood, the property of all women."
- Elizabeth Blackwell

"Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may only be one step to the summit."
- Diane Westlake, author

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved."
- Helen Keller, author

"You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving."
- Amy Carmichael, missionary

"Nobody has ever become poor by giving."
- Anne Frank

"Great necessities call out great virtues."
- Abigail Adams, former first lady

"We can do no great things, only small things with great love."
- Mother Teresa

"There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it."
- Edith Wharton

"If we do anything to further the kingdom of God, we may expect to find what Christ found on that road - abuse, indifference, injustice, misunderstanding, trouble of some kind. Take it. Why not? To that you were called."
- Elisabeth Elliot, author

"There is only one way of victory over the bitterness and rage that comes naturally to us--To will what God wills brings peace."
Amy Wilson-Carmichael, missionary

"I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God."
- Elisabeth Elliot

"Since when do you have to agree with people to defend them from injustice?"
- Lillian Hellman, dramatist and screenwriter

"Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
- Willa Cather, writer

"Though my natural instinct is to wish for a life free from pain, trouble, and adversity, I am learning to welcome anything that makes me conscious of my need for Him. If prayer is birthed out of desperation, then anything that makes me desperate for God is a blessing."
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss, radio host and author

"Your path with its unexplained sorrow or turmoil, and mine with its sharp flints and briers - and both our paths, with their unexplained perplexity, their sheer mystery - they are His paths, on which he will show himself loving and faithful. Nothing else; nothing less."
- Amy Wilson-Carmichael

"Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained."
- Helen Keller

"Today it is fashionable to talk about the poor. Unfortunately, it is not fashionable to talk with them."
- Mother Teresa

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. "
- Anne Frank

"How very little can be done under the spirit of fear."
- Florence Nightingale, nurse

"It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears."
- Helen Keller

"Once we agree with God that we exist for His pleasure and His glory, we can accept whatever comes into our lives as a part of His sovereign will and purpose. We will not resent, resist, or reject the hard things, but embrace them as friends, sovereignly designed by God to make us more like Jesus and to bring glory to Himself."
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

"Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!"
- Anne Frank

"Remember, no effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost."
- Helen Keller

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature, and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be."
- Anne Frank

"If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner."
- Tallulah Bankhead, actress

malala-yousafzai.jpg"We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."
- from I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner


"Each of us is accountable to God for our personal holiness. Humbling yourself by letting others into your life and allowing them to help you and hold you accountable will release the sanctifying, transforming grace of God in your life."
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God."
Eleanor Powell, dancer and actress

"My dreams had to be His dreams, the ones He placed in my heart. They couldn't be the ones I thought I should have, or needed for the purpose of making other people like me."
- Stormie Omartian, author

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen nor touched but are felt in the heart."
- Helen Keller

"I would rather walk with God in the dark than go alone in the night."
- Mary Gardiner Brainard, poet

"An evidence that our will has been broken is that we begin to thank God for that which once seemed so bitter, knowing that his will is good and that, in His time and in His way, He is able to make the most bitter waters sweet."
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

"It's not about finding ways to avoid God's judgment and feeling like a failure if you don't do everything perfectly. It's about fully experiencing God's love and letting it perfect you. It's not about being somebody you are not. It's about becoming who you really are."
- Stormie Omartian

"As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might."
- Marian Anderson, singer

"The spiritual journey is the unlearning of fear and the acceptance of love."
- Marianne Williamson, author

"Following Christ has nothing to do with success as the world sees success. It has to do with love."
- Madeleine L'Engle, author


"Keep your face towards the light of the sunshine, and you cannot see the shadows."
- Helen Keller

"We are mothers. We are caregivers. We are artists. We are activits. We are entrepreneurs, doctors, leaders of industry and technology. Our potential is unlimited. We rise."
- Alicia Keys, musician 

"Don't assume you have to be extraordinary to be used by God. You don't have to have exceptional gifts, talents, abilities, or connections. God specializes in using ordinary people whose limitations and weaknesses make them ideal showcases for His greatness and glory."
- Nancy Leigh DeMoss

"We all desrve to have our stories told. And we all have much to gain by walking in other people's shoes."
- Kerry Washington, actress

"I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will."
- from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, author

"My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent."
- Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Asssociate Justice of the Supreme Court

"I'm a feminist. I've been a female for a long time now. It'd be stupid not to be on my own side." 
- Maya Angelou, poet

"The question isn't who's going to let me; it's who's going to stop me."
- Ayn Rand, writer

"My coach said I run like a girl. And I said if he ran a little faster he could too."
- Mia Hamm, soccer player

"The most alluring thing a woman can have is confidence." 
- Beyoncé, singer

"Women are the real architects of society."
- Harriet Beecher Stowe, author

"A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it's in hot water." 
- Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady

"I never dreamed about success. I worked for it."
- Estée Lauder, cosmetic pioneer

"In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders." 
- Sheryl Sandberg, entrepreneur 

"No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens." 
- Michelle Obama

"Getting past those labels, for me, pretty much really easy because I define myself."
- Serena Williams, tennis player

"How can we effect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?"
- Emma Watson, actress





To provide feedback, please email: jesuitresource@xavier.edu

Jesuitresource.org is developed by The Center for Mission
and Identity at Xavier University with support from the Conway
Institute for Jesuit Education. To learn more about us, click here.