Women’s History Month begins March 1 in the United States, offering a period to reflect on the role of women in the nation’s history. From suffragettes to second-wave feminists to transgender activists, women have frequently led the charge in the fight for equality and freedom.
Here are some of the most empowering quotes from women throughout history.
1. “On the day when it will be possible for woman to love not in her weakness but in strength, not to escape herself but to find herself, not to abase herself but to assert herself – on that day love will become for her, as for man, a source of life and not of mortal danger.” Simone de Beauvoir, philosopher and author of “The Second Sex”
2. “When she stopped conforming to the conventional picture of femininity she finally began to enjoy being a woman.” – Betty Friedan, author of “The Feminine Mystique”
3. “A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” – Gloria Steinem, activist and journalist
4. “Women will have achieved true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court justice
5. “We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love. That’s OK.” – Laverne Cox, actress and transgender activist, in a 2014 interview with Rookie magazine.
— Nate Parker (@NateParker) February 28, 2016
6. “Some people ask: ‘Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?’ Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general – but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women. That the problem was not about being human, but specifically about being a female human.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author
7. “Media mystifications should not obfuscate a simple, perceivable fact; Black teenage girls do not create poverty by having babies. Quite the contrary, they have babies at such a young age precisely because they are poor – because they do not have the opportunity to acquire an education, because meaningful, well-paying jobs and creative forms of recreation are not accessible to them ...” – Angela Davis, activist
8. “The civil rights movement that rearranged the social order of this country did not emanate from the halls of the Harvards and the Princetons and the Cornells. It came from simple unlettered people who learned that they had the right to stand tall and that nobody can ride a back that isn’t bent.” – Dorothy Cotton, civil rights activist
9. “I am a trans woman. My sisters are trans women. We are not secrets. We are not shameful. We are worthy of respect, desire, and love. As there are many kinds of women, there are many kinds of men, and many men desire many kinds of women, trans women are amongst these women. And let’s be clear: Trans women are women.” – Janet Mock, author and transgender activist
10. “Oh, if I could but live another century and see the fruition of all the work for women! There is so much yet to be done.” – Susan B. Anthony, social reformer and suffragette