American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist Maya worked tirelessly for human and civil rights in her lifetime, writing several books and inspiring women the world over.
1. "I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life's a bitch. You've got to go out and kick ass."
2. "A wise woman wishes to be no-one's enemy; a wise woman refuses to be anyone's victim."
3. "I am grateful to be a woman. I must have done something great in another life.”
4. “I’m a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. It’d be stupid not to be on my own side.”
A fierce advocate for equal rights, former First Lady Hillary is a lawyer and politician who has held the role of secretary of state in the US, and was a favourite amongst celebrities during the 2016 presidential election, when she ran against now-President Donald Trump.
5. "To all the little girls who are watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."
- From her 2016 concession speech
6. "When there are no ceilings, the sky's the limit. So let's keep going - let's keep going until every one of the 161 million women and girls across America has the opportunity she deserves to have."
7. "Whether I am meant to or not, I challenge assumptions about women. I do make some people uncomfortable, which I'm well aware of, but that's just part of coming to grips with what I believe is still one of the most important pieces of unfinished business in human history - empowering women to be able to stand up for themselves."
8. "Human rights are women's rights and women's rights are human rights, once and for all."
This young Pakistani woman has inspired countless people around the world with her strength and determination to fight for not only human rights, but specifically the right to education for women and girls. She's faced death threats, murder attempts, and is the youngest ever Noberl prize laureate.
9. "I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard...we cannot succeed when half of us are held back."
10. "We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”
11. “We need to encourage girls that their voice matters. I think there are hundreds and thousands of Malalas out there.”
12. “If one man can destroy everything, why can't one girl change it?”
The British Harry Potter star was appointed as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in 2014, and has used her Hollywood platform to promote and advocate for equal rights and to support and empower girls and women around the globe.
13. "Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It's not prescriptive, it's not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for prime minister, you can. If you don't, that's wonderful, too. Shave your armpits, don't shave them, wear flats one day, heels the next. These things are so irrelevant and surface to what it is all really about, and I wish people wouldn't get caught up in that." - speaking to Elle magazine
14. “It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are.”
Former First Lady Michelle's husband Barack first stood in the spotlight as President of the United States; but it quickly became apparent that Michelle was a force to be reckoned with. The Harvard-educated lawyer is the author of several books and works to help empower women in the US and globally.
15. "There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish." —Michelle Obama
16. No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.” – Michelle Obama
17. “As women, we must stand up for ourselves… as women, we must stand up for each other. And finally, as women, we must stand up for justice for all.”
Australian writer Germaine is one of the loudest proponents for radical feminism and has been fighting for women's rights for years.
18. “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?”
19. “Status ought not to be measured by a woman's ability to attract and snare a man.”
20. All societies on the verge of death are masculine. A society can survive with only one man; no society will survive a shortage of women."
Clementine is an Australian women's rights activist and vocal commentator on the ever-present misogyny in our society. Disturbingly, her opinions have seen the mum-of-one receive all kinds of abuse and threats. They only spur her on to continue the fight.
21. “It shouldn’t be considered a ‘privilege’ to be able to control our own bodies nor should it be treated like a favour done to us by the state."
22. "Selfishness in women isn't the great crime that people like to pretend it is. We are as entitled as men to prioritise ourselves and our desires, and we are as capable as men of knowing what's best for us. Why is everyone so pathologically terrified of selfish women?"
As chief operating officer (COO) of Facebook, and the first female member of the billion-dollar company's board, Sheryl has inspired women the world over to aim high and go for what they really want.
23. "We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women's voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored."
24. “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders."
25. “Women need to shift from thinking "I'm not ready to do that" to thinking "I want to do that- and I'll learn by doing it.”
American professor, academic and author Camille is renowned for criticising other prominent feminists' views, but in the end, has the same motivation: to help women realise their true, individual potential.
26. “My advice, as in everything, is to read widely and think for yourself. We need more dissent and less dogma.”
27. "Men are run ragged by female sexuality all their lives. From the beginning of his life to the end, no man ever fully commands any woman. It's an illusion.”
And more to get you seriously #inspired...
28. “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." - Margaret Thatcher
29. "I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay." - Madonna
30. "When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch." - Bette Davis
31. "I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own." - Audre Lorde
32. "There's something so special about a woman who dominates in a man's world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer." - Rihanna (speaking to Harper's BAZAAR)
33. "Feminism is for everybody" - Bell Hooks
34. We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead." - Beyoncé
35. "A woman is like a tea bag—you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water." - Eleanor Roosevelt
36. "I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world." - Meryl Streep
37. "For I conclude that the enemy is not lipstick, but guilt itself; we deserve lipstick, if we want it, AND free speech; we deserve to be sexual AND serious – or whatever we please. We are entitled to wear cowboy boots to our own revolution. - Naomi Wolf
38. “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." - Madeleine Albright
39. “I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
40. The best way for us to cultivate fearlessness in our daughters and other young women is by example. If they see their mothers and other women in their lives going forward despite fear, they'll know it's possible.” - Gloria Steinem