10 Quotes from Fearless Woman to Inspire You This Women’s History Month

UPDATED: March 18, 2024
PUBLISHED: March 18, 2024
Fearless woman in front of city skyline

March is all about celebrating women—both the remarkable women before us who dared to challenge the status quo and the unapologetically fierce women of today. You don’t have to look far to see the trailblazers, rule breakers and game changers who aren’t afraid to use their voice to shape the world around them for the better. Maybe you’re one of them.

From pioneers in civil rights to musicians, entrepreneurs and activists, here are 10 fearless woman quotes from the most daring and accomplished women to inspire you to be unstoppable this Women’s History Month and beyond.

1. Shirley Chisholm on not waiting for an invitation

“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

The first Black woman elected to the United States Congress (1968), Chisholm made history again in 1972 when she became the first Black woman of a major political party to run for a presidential nomination.

2. Malala Yousafzai on using your voice

“I raise up my voice—not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. … We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

Yousafzai is an advocate for girls’ education and was shot by the Taliban at age 15 for her activism. Yousafzai is the world’s youngest Nobel Prize laureate and continues her human rights work through the Malala Fund.

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3. Katharine Graham on standing in your power

“The thing women must do to rise to power is to redefine their femininity. Once, power was considered a masculine attribute. In fact, power has no sex.”

Graham led The Washington Post through the Vietnam era, the publishing of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. She became the first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 1972.

4. Audre Lorde on the importance of self-care

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

A prominent member of the women’s and LGBTQ rights movements, Lorde used her words to address injustices in America and was appointed New York’s Poet Laureate in 1991.

5. Reese Witherspoon on listening to your gut

“If you’re one of those people who has that little voice in the back of her mind saying, ‘Maybe I could do [fill in the blank],’ don’t tell it to be quiet. Give it a little room to grow, and try to find an environment it can grow in.” 

In 2016,  after finding a lack of stories about complex, interesting women, Witherspoon founded Hello Sunshine, a media company working to change the narrative for women through storytelling.

6. Carly Simon on finding value in your scars

“A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.”

Singer-songwriter Simon is a two-time Grammy winner (from 14 nominations) and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame for her unapologetic hit, “You’re So Vain.”

7. Oprah Winfrey on self-worth

“When you undervalue what you do, the world will undervalue who you are.”

Though Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi, she became a trailblazer in the TV industry. Winfrey was the first woman to produce and star in her own talk show, and she’s inspired millions and earned more than 20 awards during the 25 seasons of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

8. Ruth Bader Ginsburg on opening doors for those behind you

“Whatever you choose to do, leave tracks. That means don’t do it just for yourself. You will want to leave the world a little better for your having lived.”

In the ’60s, Bader Ginsburg struggled finding a job despite graduating top of her class and was paid less than her male colleagues because, as she was told, “your husband has a very good job.” However, she went on to become the second female justice of the United States Supreme Court in 1993.

9. Dolly Parton on leadership

“If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then you are an excellent leader.”

Singer-songwriter Parton has won 11 Grammys (out of 50 nominations) including the Lifetime Achievement Award. She owns several businesses (including theme park Dollywood) and founded the Dollywood Foundation, which brings education and poverty relief to East Tennessee, where she grew up.

10. Maya Angelou on rising through adversity 

“You may shoot me with your words, / you may cut me with your eyes, / you may kill me with your hatefulness, / but still, like air, I’ll rise.” 

Angelou was a world-famous author and activist who received dozens of awards, more than 50 honorary degrees and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, the country’s highest civilian honor.

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