Women's History Quotes


"It was a needed instrument to spread abroad the truth of a new gospel to woman, and I could not withhold my hand to stay the work I had begun. I saw not the end from the beginning and dreamed where to my propositions to society would lead me,"

Amelia Bloomer, (1818-1894)
an owner and editor of first independent
feminist magazine in the U.S., the Lily


"Every woman, if forced to, can do more than she ever thought she could. In running my business I just used common sense, a man would call it "horse sense."

Rose Knox, (1857-1950)
a foremost female entrepreneur, during an interview with
Asa Bordages, a script writer for World Telegram in 1937


"To stand at the edge of the sea...is to have knowledge of things that are as eternal as any earthly life can be."

Rachel Carson, (1907-1964)
a marine biologist and science writer,
in her book, "Under the Sea-Wind"


"…it is our freedom to progress that makes us all want to live and to go on." May 29, 1941

"At all times, day by day, we have to continue fighting for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom from want… from these are things that must gained in peace as well as in war." April 15, 1943

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962),
the America's great reforming leader and First lady, in "My Day"


"It is my hope that all children, boys and girls, will see this mission and be inspired to reach for their dreams, because dreams do come true."

Lt. Col. Eileen M. Collins (1956-),
First Woman Shuttle Commander, March 5 1998 in the White House


"My world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger."

Toni Morrison (1931- ),
the winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature


"I fall, I stand still… I trudge on. I gain a little… I get more eager and climb higher and begin to see the widening horizon. Every struggle is a victory."

"When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us."

Hellen Keller (1880-1968),
the world famous author and public speaker,
on her studies at Radcliffe College


"It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth, and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, that we will begin to live each day to the fullest; as if it was the only one we had."

"There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from."

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (1926- ),
a psychiatrist and author

"…I want to say to every Negro woman present, don't sit down and wait for the opportunities to come…Get up and make them!"

Madame C.J. Walker (1867-1919),
An African American cosmetics entrepreneur,
National Business League, 1913


"I will love, honor, cherish- but not obey."

Rosalie Slaughter Morton (1876-1955),
American Surgeon


"The women of this country ought be enlightened in regard to the laws under which they live, that they may no longer publish their degradation by declaring themselves satisfied with their present position, nor their ignorance, by asserting that they have all the rights they want."

Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902),
a social reformer and woman suffrage leader


"Independence is happiness."

"Failure is impossible."

"There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers."

"I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself and there I take my stand."

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906),
the pioneer in the U.S. Woman Suffrage Movement


"Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead."

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I'm learning how to sail my ship."

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888),
the author of Little Women


"If society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodeled."

Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910),
the first U.S. female medical doctor


"I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings."

Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973),
the author of "The Good Earth,"
awarded the 1938 Nobel Literature Prize


"Men weren't really the enemy -- they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill."

"A girl should not expect special privileges because of her sex but neither should she adjust to prejudice and discrimination."

"The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive."

Betty Friedan (1921- ),
A labor journalist and author


"In order that she may be able to give her hand with dignity, she must be able to stand alone."

"If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it."

Margaret Fuller (1810-1850),
an author and philosopher


"No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you."

Althea Gibson (1927- ),
A sport pioneer in both amateur tennis and professional golf


"There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. Might as well speak of a female liver."

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (1860-1935),
an American writer and lecturer


"If there's a single message passed down from each generation of American parents to their children, it is a two-word line: Better Yourself. And if there's a temple of self-betterment in each town, it is the local school. We have worshiped there for some time."

"I have never been especially impressed by the heroics of people who are convinced they are about to change the world. I am more awed by those who struggle to make one small difference after another."

Ellen Goodman,
the journalist awarded the 1980 Pulitzer Prize
for distinguished commentary


"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965),
a playwright and painter.


"A ship in port is safe, but that is not what ships are for. Sail out to sea and do new things."

Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Hopper (1906-1992),
the Computer scientist who invented COBOL


"I am independent! I can live alone and I love to work."

Mary Cassatt (1844-1926),
an American Impressionist


"If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time."

"You're not obligated to win. You're obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day."

Marion Wright Edelman (1939- ),
Attorney and civil rights advocate


"Call on God, my dear. She will help you."

Mrs. O.H.P. Belmont
to discouraged young suffragists.


"Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living."

"I am not blind to the shortcomings of our own people. I am not unaware that leaders betray, and sell out, and play false. But this knowledge does not outweigh the fact that my class, the working class, is exploited, driven, fought back with the weapon of starvation, with guns and with venal courts whenever they strike for conditions more human, more civilized for their children, and for their children's children."

Mary Harris Jones (1830- 1930),
the labor organizer who was known as
the Miner's Anger or Mother Jones


"We ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all the civil and political rights that belong to citizens of the United States, be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever."

Declaration of Rights for Women, July 1876


"Woman has too long rested satisfied in the circumscribed limits which corrupt customs and a perverted application of the Scriptures have marked out for her, and that it is time she should move in the enlarged sphere which her great Creator has assigned her."

The Seneca Falls Declaration on Women's Rights, July 19-20, 1848


"I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislature, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance."

Jane Addams (1860-1935),
Mother of social work and Nobel Peace Prize Winner, 1931


"Let us be patient with one another,
And even patient with ourselves.
We have a long, long way to go.
So let us hasten along the road,
The road of human tenderness and generosity.
Groping, we may find one another's hands in the dark."

Emily Greene Balch (1867-1961),
Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 1946


"The dogma of woman's complete historical subjection to men must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind."

"Viewed narrowly, all life is universal hunger and an expression of energy associated with it."

Mary Ritter Beard (1876-1958),
a women's right advocate and a historian