In honor of National Women’s Equality Day, we cracked open the books to find some inspiring words from a few of our favorite female writers. Friday marks the 96th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, on August 26, 1920, which granted women the right to vote.
Celebrate how far women have come with these 11 empowering quotes, pulled from their work.
"There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women." - Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala (to buy: $12, amazon.com)
“No wonder studies show that women's intellectual self-esteem tends to go down as years of education go up. We have been studying our own absence.” - Gloria Steinem, My Life on the Road (to buy: $12, amazon.com)
“I know my worth. I embrace my power. I say if I’m beautiful. I say if I’m strong. You will not determine my story. I will.” - Amy Schumer, The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo (to buy: $17, amazon.com)
“Abandon the cultural myth that all female friendships must be bitchy, toxic, or competitive. This myth is like heels and purses―pretty but designed to SLOW women down.” - Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist (to buy: $10, amazon.com)
“So, my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: ‘Is this person in between me and what I want to do?’ If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.” - Tina Fey, Bossypants (to buy: $5, amazon.com)
“I can make a case that I regret nothing. After all, most of my mistakes turned out to be things I survived, or turned into funny stories, or, on occasion, even made money from.” - Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman (to buy: $10, amazon.com)
“Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?” - Germaine Greer, The Change: Women Aging and the Menopause (to buy: $23, amazon.com)
"It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been taught to be sorry for. It takes years to find your voice and your real estate." - Amy Poehler, Yes, Please (to buy: $14, amazon.com)
“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.” - Jane Austen, Persuasion (to buy: $8, amazon.com)
“Taking initiative pays off. It is hard to visualize someone as a leader if she is always waiting to be told what to do.” - Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In (to buy: $14, amazon.com)
“Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
It's in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
That's me.” - Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman” (to buy: Still I Rise, $15, amazon.com)