Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

40+ Empowering Feminist Quotes To Keep You Fighting the Good Fight

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Beth O'Brien

Staff Writer

Beth is an east coast Canadian, born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is (unsurprisingly) obsessed with books and is a public library assistant and book blogger. When she’s not convincing all her friends to be friends with each other, she’s trying to convince them to read YA. She likes poetry and coffee and the ocean, but her true love is her cat Edith.

Many womxn have had to relive incredible trauma over the last month. We were faced with Dr. Blasey Ford’s incredible but harrowing testimony. We have had to deal with Kavanaugh’s subsequent appointment to the Supreme Court. We have celebrated (celebrated?) the anniversary of when #MeToo went viral. And that’s just what’s been going on in the media. That’s not to mention the everyday intersecting oppressions and aggressions we’ve had to face in our daily lives. Many of us white womxn have finally had our anger boil over and have realized it’s time for us to join our sisters on the front lines. We can and should be angry. But we can’t lose our drive and our hope. I have compiled this list of 40+ feminist quotes to empower and enrage—and to keep us fighting the good fight. I hope you find inspiration here—or a least a little peace knowing you’re not alone.

“Your anger is a gift you give to yourself and the world that is yours. In anger, I have lived more fully, freely, intensely, sensitively, and politically. If ever there was a time not to silence yourself, to channel your anger into healthy places and choices, this is it.”

—Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Rage

“In Pakistan when women say they want independence, people think this means we don’t want to obey our fathers, brothers or husbands. But it does not mean that. It means we want to make decisions for ourselves. We want to be free to go to school or to go to work. Nowhere is it written in the Quran that a woman should be dependent on a man. The word has not come down from the heavens to tell us that every woman should listen to a man.”
—Malala Yousafzai, I Am Malala

“Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”

―Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“Teach [your daughter] to reject likability. Her job is not to make herself likable, her job is to be her full self, a self that is honest and aware of the equal humanity of other people.”
―Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dear Ijeawele, Or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions

View this post on Instagram

👭👭👭 page 228 from #thesunandherflowers

A post shared by rupi kaur (@rupikaur_) on

“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

“Women are the real architects of society.”
—Harriet Beecher Stowe

“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.”
—Maya Angelou

“The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.”
—Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

“I detest the masculine point of view. I am bored by his heroism, virtue, and honour. I think the best these men can do is not talk about themselves anymore.”
—Virginia Woolf, The Pargiters

“[This is] the hope I have for women: that we can start to see ourselves—and encourage men to see us—as more than just the sum of our sexual parts: not as virgins or whores, as mothers or girlfriends, or as existing only in relation to men, but as people with independent desires, hopes and abilities. But I know that this can’t happen as long as American culture continues to inundate us with gender-role messages that place everyone—men and women—in an unnatural hierarchical order that’s impossible to maintain without strife. For women to move forward, and for men to break free, we need to overcome the masculinity status quo-together.”
—Jessica Valenti, The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women

“Women who lead, read.”
—Laura Bates

“I say no to people who prioritize being cool over being good. I say no to misogynists who want to weaponize my body against me. I say no to men who feel entitled to my attention and reverence, who treat everything the light touches as a resource for them to burn. I say no to religious zealots who insist that I am less important than an embryo. I say no to my own instinct to stay quiet. It’s a way of kicking down the boundaries that society has set up for women—be compliant, be a caregiver, be quiet—and erecting my own. I will do this; I will not do that. You believe in my subjugation; I don’t have to be nice to you. I am busy. My time is not a public commodity.”
—Lindy West, Shrill

Lindy West Quote

“There will be no mass-based feminist movement as long as feminist ideas are understood only by a well-educated few.”
—bell hooks, Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center

“This is a patriarchal truism that most people in our society want to deny. Whenever women thinkers, especially advocates of feminism, speak about the widespread problem of male violence, folks are eager to stand up and make the point that most men are not violent. They refuse to acknowledge that masses of boys and men have been programmed from birth on to believe that at some point they must be violent, whether psychologically or physically, to prove that they are men.”
—bell hooks, The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love

“Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it’s personal. And the world won’t end. And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don’t miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, ‘If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.’ And at last you’ll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.”
—Audre Lorde

“Every woman has a well-stocked arsenal of anger potentially useful against those oppressions, personal and institutional, which brought that anger into being. Focused with precision it can become a powerful source of energy serving progress and change.”
—Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde feminist Quotes

“No one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility.”
—Simone de Beauvoir , The Second Sex

“I hate men who are afraid of women’s strength.”
—Anaïs Nin

“No woman gets an orgasm from shining the kitchen floor. ”
—Betty Friedan      

“If particular care and attention is not paid to the ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation.”
—Abigail Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams

“My own sex, I hope, will excuse me, if I treat them like rational creatures, instead of flattering their fascinating graces, and viewing them as if they were in a state of perpetual childhood, unable to stand alone.”
—Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

“Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke…She will need her sisterhood.”
—Gloria Steinem

“Feminism involves so much more than gender equality. And it involves so much more than gender. Feminism must involve a consciousness of capitalism (I mean, the feminism that I relate to. And there are multiple Feminisms, right). It has to involve a consciousness of capitalism and racism and colonialism and post colonialities and ability and more genders than we can even imagine, and more sexualities than we ever thought we could name.”
—Angela Davis, Feminism & Abolition: Theories & Practices for the 21st Century

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.”
—Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

“One of the best ways to free yourself to what you want is to feel secure in your ability to say no to what you don’t.”
—Jaclyn Friedman, What You Really Really Want: The Smart Girl’s Shame-Free Guide to Sex and Safety

“Feminists are celebrating our victories and acknowledging our our privilege when we have it. We’re simply refusing to settle. We’re refusing to forget how much work is yet to be done. We’re refusing to relish the comforts we have at the expense of the women who are still seeking comfort.”
—Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

“Western opinions on the hijab or burkas are rather irrelevant. We don’t get to decide for Muslim women what does or does not oppress them, no matter how highly we think of ourselves.”
—Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist    

“If men could see us as we really are, they would be a little amazed; but the cleverest, the acutest men are often under an illusion about women: they do not read them in a true light: they misapprehend them, both for good and evil: their good woman is a queer thing, half doll, half angel; their bad woman almost always a fiend.”
—Charlotte Brontë, Shirley

Roxane Gay feminist Quote

“[I]t is flagrantly unjust to keep women out, by whatever unconscious means we do so; and we simply cannot afford to do without women’s expertise, whether it is in technology, the economy or social care. If that means fewer men get into the legislature, as it must do—social change always has its losers as well as its winners—I am happy to look those men in the eye.”
—Mary Beard, Women & Power: A Manifesto

“You cannot easily fit women into a structure that is already coded as male; you have to change the structure.”
—Mary Beard, Women & Power: A Manifesto

“Surveillance feeds into rape culture more than drinking ever could. It’s the part of male entitlement that makes them believe they’re owed something if they pay enough attention to you, monitor how you’re behaving to see if you seem loose and friendly enough to accommodate a conversation with a man you’ve never met. He’s not a rapist. No, he’s just offering to buy you a beer, and a shot, and a beer, and another beer, he just wants you to have a really good time. Her wants you to lose the language of being able to consent. He’s drunk too, but of course you’re not watching him like he’s watching you.”
—Scaachi Koul, One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of this will Matter

Jessica Valenti feminist Quote

“In the United States, it’s fine for a woman to claim equality so long as she cheerfully opts out.”
—Hillary Rodham Clinton, What Happened

“We need to stop telling the story about the woman who stayed at home, passive and dependent, waiting for her man. She wasn’t sitting around waiting. She was busy. She still is.”
—Rebecca Solnit, The Mother of All Questions

“We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.”
—Ursula K. LeGuin

“She was scared, but she did it. That’s all being strong is, apparently: being scared, or flawed, or weak, or capable (under the right circumstances) of astonishing acts of stupidity. And then going out and doing it all anyway. Trying, every morning, to be the woman you want to be, regardless of how often you manage to fall short of your own high expectations.”
—Sady Doyle, Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… And Why

Looking for more to empower and inspire? Check out these Strong Women Quotes, these 100 Must Read Feminist Books, and the rest of our Feminist coverage.