16 International Women's Day Quotes That Will Empower You

This International Women's Day, Wednesday, March 8, 2023, we're taking inspiration from a few of the world's most powerful women.

International Women's Day is a global celebration of women's social, economic, cultural, and political achievements and has been observed worldwide since 1911. This year the holiday falls on Wednesday, March 8, 2023, and serves as a reminder for all of us to celebrate the powerful and inspiring women in our lives (including ourselves!).

Every year the International Women's Day organization announces a theme that highlights a cause affecting women across the globe to raise awareness for the movement and celebrate the women working to make a difference. The 2023 International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity, which calls on us to understand that equity and equality are not the same.

We've assembled International Women's Day quotes from inspirational and influential women throughout history to inspire you this year. These women, from political leaders to entertainment icons, have all dedicated their public platforms to making the world better for all women.

01 of 16

Maya Angelou

black text on a pink plaid background

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."

Author, singer, and civil rights activist Maya Angelou is best known for her works I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings ($14, Target) and And Still I Rise ($15, Walmart). During her remarkable 86 years, she published a series of seven autobiographies and received more than 30 honorary degrees while advocating for racial equality.

02 of 16

Eleanor Roosevelt

black text on a yellow and pink background

"You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give."

As the longest-serving First Lady of the United States, Eleanor Roosevelt was an outspoken advocate for civil rights, racial equality, and roles for women in the workplace. After leaving office, she joined the United Nations as the United States' first delegate and later headed the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women under John F. Kennedy.

03 of 16

Serena Williams

black text on pink background

"The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up."

As a professional tennis player and former #1-ranked tennis player in the world, Serena Williams has won more major tennis titles than any other person. Throughout her career she's been extremely outspoken about fighting for gender equality, especially for women of color.

04 of 16

Toni Morrison

black text on pink plaid background

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

Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison is known best for her book Beloved and has received dozens of awards for her writing. She began her career as the first black female editor at Penguin Random House in the '60s and went on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2012.

05 of 16

Ina Garten

black text on a pink and yellow floral background

"I get up every day, do the best that I can do, and go home and have a good time."

Over the last 18 years, viewers have fallen in love with Ina Garten, host of the longest-running Food Network show, Barefoot Contessa. She started her career as a staff member of the White House Office of Management and Budget and when she discovered a love of cooking, left to begin a gourmet food store that would eventually become a media empire.

06 of 16

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

black text on a yellow striped background

"Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you."

In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the second female justice to ever be added to the United States Supreme Court, where she served until her death in 2020. Her life's work inspired the Oscar-nominated 2018 documentary RBG, which highlighted how she has paved the way for women of future generations.

07 of 16

Sophia Bush

black text on a pink plaid background

"Look at history, look at who are our most beautiful, iconic women in the world and they're all different shapes and sizes and colors and heights. It doesn't matter what measurement is around our thigh, it matters what you put out into the world."

In addition to being an award-winning actress, director, and host of the new hit podcast "Work in Progress," Sophia Bush is also an outspoken activist for environmental protection, racial and gender equality, and human rights. In 2016, Oprah named her one of the SuperSoul100 most influential visionaries and leaders, and she was also identified as one of the most charitable celebrities by CNN.

08 of 16

Michelle Obama

black text on a blue and white floral background

"There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish."

Lawyer and author Michelle Obama served as the First Lady from 2009 to 2017; while in office, she founded the Let's Move campaign to end childhood obesity and was an advocate for women's rights, public health, education, and poverty awareness. Her 2018 memoir, Becoming ($10, Target), has sold over 10 million copies, breaking the record for most copies of a book sold that year in just 15 days.

09 of 16

Shonda Rhimes

black text on pink plaid background

"I want my daughters to grow up in a world in which there is more love than hate. I want them to know a world where everyone is free. So that's why I write the stories that I do because everyone should be free."

Producer, writer, and author Shonda Rhimes is the head writer and executive producer of the currently airing shows Grey's Anatomy (19 seasons) and Station 19 and the blockbuster hits How to Get Away with Murder and Scandal. Rhimes has and continues to bring awareness and understanding to several hot social issues every week through her moving storylines.

10 of 16

Sandra Day O'Connor

black text on a blue and white background

"Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect based on ability."

Sandra Day O'Connor is no stranger to the glass ceiling: In 1973, she became the first female Majority Leader of a state senate (in Arizona) in American history. Seven years later, she became the first female Supreme Court Justice and served on the court for 25 years. After her retirement, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama.

11 of 16

Barbara Bush

black text on a yellow floral background

"Treat everyone equally, don't look down on anyone, use your voices for good, and read all the great books."

While in office, First Lady Barbara Bush was an outspoken advocate for education access and started the Foundation for Family Literacy in 1989. In the years after she left office, Bush also supported women's rights, access to health care, and various civil rights movements.

12 of 16

Malala Yousafzai

black text on a pink striped background

"When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful."

As the world's youngest Nobel Prize laureate, Malala (often referred to by only her first name) is an advocate for female education in her home country of Pakistan and around the world. After surviving a shooting by an extremist group, she gave a speech at the United Nations, published several books, and launched the Malala Fund, which works to provide girls around the world with free education.

13 of 16

Reese Witherspoon

black text on a blue and yellow background

"I encourage women to step up. Don't wait for somebody to ask you."

Actress, producer, and philanthropist Reese Witherspoon may be best known for her iconic roles in Legally Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Walk the Line, and Big Little Lies, but her accomplishments off-screen are equally impressive. She's actively involved with Save the Children and serves on the board of the Children's Defense Fund, and in 2018, she was one of the founding members of the Time's Up movement. In 2019 she was named to Forbes' list of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women.

14 of 16

Brené Brown

black text on a pink plaid background

"To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly."

Author and host of the podcast, Unlocking Us, Brené Brown is known for her viral TED talk about The Power of Vulnerability and her best-selling written works. Her book Daring Greatly ($14, Walmart) was a #1 New York Times bestseller and has sold over a million copies nationwide.

15 of 16

Rosa Parks

black text on a pink background

"I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free...so other people would be also free."

Civil rights activist Rosa Parks is famous for refusing to give up her seat during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955. Following the event, she became one of the most important members of the civil rights movement, working alongside Martin Luther King Jr.

16 of 16

Megan Rapinoe

black text on a pink striped background

"Every person has a responsibility to be a participant in this society and make it a better place for everybody, in whatever capacity they can."

As a professional soccer player and member of the United States women's national team Megan Rapinoe has earned an Olympic gold medal and is credited with leading the United States team to two World Cup championships. But her list of achievements doesn't end on the soccer field: Rapinoe has dedicated her public platform to doing good in the world. She supports several LGBTQ organizations and is a strong advocate for gender equality.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles