100 Quotes from Inspirational Women

by - Thursday, March 07, 2013

We could all use a little inspiration from time to time: perhaps to brighten our thoughts on a dull day, to affirm uncertain actions or get ourselves out of a rut.
So I've collected 100 inspirational quotes from great women through history: females who have shaped our world, who have helped advance society or achieved great things.

    Rosa Parks (1913-2005) - "The First Lady of Civil Rights"
  1. Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.
    -- Rosa Parks
  2. A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.
    -- Eleanor Roosevelt
  3. You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for our own improvement and, at the same time, share a general responsibility for all humanity
    -- Marie Curie
  4. Woman must not accept; she must challenge. She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her; she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression.
    -- Margaret Sanger
  5. One of the oldest human needs is having someone to wonder where you are, when you don't come home at night.
    -- Margaret Mead
  6. It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before. 
    -- Jane Austen
  7. The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.
    -- Jane Addams
  8. It is hardly surprising that women concentrate on the way they look instead of what was in their minds since not much has been put in their minds to begin with
    -- Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley
  9. Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.
    -- Susan B. Anthony
  10. The best protection any woman can have . . . is courage.
    -- Elizabeth Cady Stanton
  11. Elizabeth I (1533-1603) - Queen of England
  12. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman. But I have the heart and stomach of a king - and of a King of England.
    -- Elizabeth I
  13. Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
    -- Harriet Tubman
  14. A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want.
    -- Madonna
  15. I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life -- and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
    -- Georgia O'Keeffe
  16. Being a woman has only bothered me in climbing trees.
    -- Frances Perkins
  17. That is, the wife must care for what the husband cares for if he is to remain resolute.
    -- Mary Harris "Mother" Jones
  18. 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.
    -- Helen Keller
  19. Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.
    -- Annie Lennox
  20. Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose - not the one you began with perhaps, but one you'll be glad to remember.
    -- Anne Sullivan
  21. Change your life today. Don't gamble on the future, act now, without delay.
    -- Simone De Beauvoir
  22. Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) - "The Lady with the Lamp"
  23. I think one's feelings waste themselves in words; they ought all to be distilled into actions which bring results.
    -- Florence Nightingale
  24. It is the mind that makes the body
    -- Sojourner Truth
  25. Beauty, to me, is about being comfortable in your own skin. That, or a kick-ass red lipstick.
    -- Gwyneth Paltrow
  26. There is no good reason why we should not develop and change until the last day we live.
    -- Karen Horney
  27. I am a mystery to myself.
    -- Angelina Grimke
  28. Women are early taught that to appear to yield is the only way to govern. 
    -- Sarah Moore Grimke
  29. 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
  30. It is never to late to be what you might have been.
    -- George Eliot
  31. One had better die fighting against injustice than die like a dog or a rat in a trap.
    -- Ida Bell Wells-Barnett
  32. When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.
    -- Betty Friedman
  33. Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) - American Poet
  34. Dwell in possibility.
    -- Emily Dickinson
  35. To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.
    -- Rachel Carson
  36. Give light and people will find the way.
    -- Ella Baker
  37. Revolutionaries do not make revolutions. The revolutionaries are those who know when power is lying in the street and then they can pick it up.
    -- Hannah Arendt
  38. I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.
    -- Mother Teresa
  39. Feelings of love and gratitude arise directly and spontaneously in the baby in response to the love and care of his mother.
    -- Melanie Klein
  40. Don't be so humble, you're not that great.
    -- Golda Meir
  41. You cannot find peace by avoiding life.
    -- Virginia Woolf
  42. The important thing is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.
    -- Queen Victoria
  43. There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.
    -- Martha Graham
  44. Catherine the Great (1729-1796) - Empress of Russia
  45. I praise loudly. I blame softly.
    -- Catherine the Great
  46. Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. 
    -- Zora Neale Hurston
  47. There is very little difference between men and women in space.
    -- Helen Sharman
  48. When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.
    -- Harriet Beecher Stowe
  49. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. 
    -- Rosa Luxemburg
  50. From the first, I made my learning, what little it was, useful every way I could.
    -- Mary Mcleod Bethune
  51. Reason sits firm and holds the reins, and she will not let the feelings burst away and hurry her to wild chasms. The passions may rage furiously, like true heathens, as they are; and the desires may imagine all sorts of vain things: but judgment shall still have the last word in every argument, and the casting vote in every decision.
    -- Charlotte Bronte
  52. I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.
    -- Emily Bronte
  53. No written law has ever been more binding than unwritten custom supported by popular opinion.
    -- Carrie Chapman Catt
  54. Change happens by listening and then starting a dialogue with the people who are doing something you don't believe is right.
    -- Jane Goodall
  55. Joan of Arc (1412-1431) French heroine and Catholic Saint
  56. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.
    -- Joan of Arc 
  57. The most violent element in society is ignorance.
    -- Emma Goldman
  58. Women are always being tested...but ultimately, each of us has to define who we are individually and then do the very best job we can to grow into it.
    -- Hilary Clinton
  59. Fashion fades, only style remains the same.
    -- Coco Chanel
  60. If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It's much easier to apologize than it is to get permission.
    -- Grace Murray Hopper
  61. If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off. . . no matter what they say.
    -- Barbara McClintock
  62. Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
    -- Gertrude Stein
  63. People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.
    -- Indira Gandhi
  64. A woman may not hit a ball stronger than a man, but it is different. I prize that difference.
    -- Louise Nevelson
  65. Deeds not words.
    -- Emmeline Pankhurst
  66. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) Photographer and photo-journalist
  67. This benefit of seeing... can come only if you pause a while, extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions ceaselessly battering our lives, and look thoughtfully at a quiet image... the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate.
    -- Dorothea Lange
  68. No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.
    -- Agnes De Mille
  69. What is beautiful is good, and who is good will soon be beautiful.Sappho
  70. Loving a child doesn't mean giving in to all his whims; to love him is to bring out the best in him, to teach him to love what is difficult.
    -- Nadia Boulanger
  71. Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies. And be it gash or gold it will not come Again in this identical guise.
    -- Gwendolyn Brooks
  72. The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist.
    -- Maria Montessori
  73. Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman.
    -- Marian Anderson
  74. I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
    -- Anne Frank
  75. For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.
    -- Audrey Hepburn
  76. Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you've had everything to do, and you've done it.
    -- Margaret Thatcher
  77. Lady Murasaki (c.973-1014) - Novelist, poet and maid of honour in the Imperial Court
  78. Though the body moves, the soul may stay behind.
    -- Murasaki Shikibu
  79. Where ever I am I always find myself looking out the window wishing I was somewhere else.
    -- Angelina Jolie
  80. We must live for the few who know and appreciate us, who judge and absolve us, and for whom we have the same affection and indulgence. The rest I look upon as a mere crowd, lively or sad, loyal or corrupt, from whom there is nothing to be expected but fleeting emotions, either pleasant or unpleasant, which leave no trace behind them.
    -- Sarah Bernhardt
  81. If you do things well, do them better. Be daring, be first, be different, be just.
    -- Anita Roddick
  82. The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward.
    -- Amelia Earheart
  83. The loneliest woman in the world is the woman without a close woman friend.
    -- Toni Morrison
  84. The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.
    -- Gloria Steinem
  85. Just as women’s bodies are softer than men’s, so their understanding is sharper.
    -- Christine de Pisan
  86. Work is something you can count on, a trusted, lifelong friend who never deserts you.
    -- Margaret Bourke-White
  87. Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?
    -- Frida Kahlo
  88. Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957) - Awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature
  89. Love beauty; it is the shadow of God on the universe.
    -- Gabriela Mistral
  90. The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.
    -- Flannery O'Connor
  91. A mistake is simply another way of doing things.
    -- Catharine Graham
  92. It's a long old road, but I know I'm gonna find the end.
    -- Bessie Smith
  93. I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have.
    -- Evita Peron
  94. I will not be triumphed over.
    -- Cleopatra
  95. There are many little ways to enlarge your child's world. Love of books is the best of all.
    -- Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
  96. The trick in life is learning how to deal with it.
    -- Helen Mirren
  97. It matters not what a person is born, but who they choose to be.
    -- Joanne Kathleen Rowling 
  98. Sometimes it's worse to win a fight than to lose.
    -- Billie Holiday
  99. Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962)
  100. I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.
    -- Marilyn Monroe
  101. Temperance is moderation in the things that are good and total abstinence from the things that are foul.
    -- Frances Willard
  102. Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself, and know that everything in life has purpose. There are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from.
    -- Elisabeth Kobler Ross
  103. If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down.
    -- Mary Pickford
  104. Through my optimism I naturally prefer and capture the beauty in life.
    -- Leni Riefenstahl
  105. I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun.
    -- Katharine Hepburn
  106. A champion is afraid of losing. Everyone else is afraid of winning.
    -- Billie Jean King
  107. Only do what your heart tells you.
    -- Princess Diana 
  108. In life, all good things come hard, but wisdom is the hardest to come by.
    -- Lucille Ball
  109. Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.
    -- Oprah Winfrey

Which quote is your favourite? Have I missed out an important female role model? Please feel free to leave your comments below.

Image credit (top banner): martinak15, via Flickr

You May Also Like