30 Literary Strong Women Quotes to Inspire and Empower You

I don’t know about you, but some days—especially these days—I need a little added inspiration. That little push, that extra encouragement that I can do it. Today I bring you 30+ strong women quotes from some fine literary ladies that will hopefully bring you inspiration and empowerment.

30 Literary Strong Women Quotes to Inspire and Empower You From BookRiot.com

“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, We Should All Be Feminists

“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.”
—Maya Angelou  

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
—Nora Ephron

Always aim high, work hard, and care deeply about what you believe in. And, when you stumble, keep faith. And, when you’re knocked down, get right back up and never listen to anyone who says you can’t or shouldn’t go on.
—Hillary Rodham Clinton

“Don’t let anyone speak for you, and don’t rely on others to fight for you.”

—Michelle Obama

“You had the power all along my dear.”
—Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

“And really, how insulting is it that to suggest that the best thing women can do is raise other people to do incredible things? I’m betting some of those women would like to do great things of their own.”
—Jessica Valenti, Why Have Kids?

“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.”
—Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches  

“I like being present in spaces where I am not welcome because you do not deserve to feel comfortable just because you’re racist or sexist or small-minded.”
—Scaachi Koul, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter  

“‘You must never behave as if your life belongs to a man. Do you hear me?’ Aunty Ifeka said. ‘Your life belongs to you and you alone.’”
—Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

lindy west quote

“Some women get erased a little at a time, some all at once. Some reappear. Every woman who appears wrestles with the forces that would have her disappear. She struggles with the forces that would tell her story for her, or write her out of the story, the genealogy, the rights of man, the rule of law. The ability to tell your own story, in words or images, is already a victory, already a revolt.”
—Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
—Audre Lorde  

“I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white. I will have my serpent’s tongue—my woman’s voice, my sexual voice, my poet’s voice. I will overcome the tradition of silence.”
—Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera 

“You’re not too fat. You’re not too loud. You’re not too smart. You’re not unladylike. There is nothing wrong with you.”
—Jessica Valenti, Full Frontal Feminism

“Before the moon I am, what a woman is, a woman of power, a woman’s power, deeper than the roots of trees, deeper than the roots of islands, older than the Making, older than the moon.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin, Tehanu

simone de beauvoir quote

“Be as pissed off as you want to be. Don’t hold back because you think it’s unladylike or some such nonsense. We shouldn’t be shamed out of our anger. We should be using it. Using it to make change in our own lives, and using it to make change in the lives around us. (I know, I’m cheesy.) So the next time someone calls you emotional, or asks if you’re PMSing, call them on their bullshit.”
Jessica Valenti, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know

“I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”
—Maya Angelou, “Phenomenal Woman”

“The one person who will never leave us, whom we will never lose, is ourself. Learning to love our female selves is where our search for love must begin.”
—bell hooks, Communion: The Female Search for Love

“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Fill your life with women that empower you, that help you believe in your magic and aid them to believe in their own exceptional power and their incredible magic too. Women that believe in each other can survive anything. Women who believe in each other create armies that will win kingdoms and wars.”
—Nikita Gill

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“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will, which I now exert to leave you.”
—Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

“The trouble was, I hated the idea of serving men in any way. I wanted to dictate my own thrilling letters.”
—Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“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

“You should never be surprised when someone treats you with respect. You should expect it.”
—Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon

“Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”
—Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale


Looking for more strong women quotes and books? Check out the History made by Well-Behaved Women, these awesome Feminist Audiobooks, and our Feminist Book Club Persist!

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