14 International Women’s Day quotes to empower you today (and everyday)

International Women’s Day is upon us. Established officially in 1977 (after being adopted by the United Nations, IWD represents an annual opportunity to strive towards a gender-equal world, together with celebrating the achievements of women past and present. 

While this global awareness day is based around collective action and community, it’s also a time to remind ourselves of the vital contribution of individual women who have fought for the gender equality cause, from second-wave feminism pioneer Gloria Steinem to author and social activist bell hooks, who passed away just over a year ago in December 2021. 

This year, we’re choosing to do that through compiling our most impactful International Women’s Day quotes, to inspire the messages of gender equality and feminism – not just today, but every day of the year (because they’re just as important year round). 

Reminding us of the value of taking up space; being unapologetic; not succumbing to gendered limitations; and redefining power out of the age-old masculine stereotypes, these International Women’s Day quotes will leave you feeling inspired. Happy reading – and happy IWD!

bell hooks

First up: bell hook, the American author and social activist, with her definition of what feminism is: a definition rooted in collective action by all (a key principle of IWD) to move beyond sexist distinctions.

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

At the age of 29, Alexandria (or AOC as she’s known), a former activist, became the youngest women to serve as a United States Congress member. The quote we’ve selected, below, hints at the push-back she experienced along the way:

“They’ll tell you you’re too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do it anyway.”

Gloria Steinem

Gloria was regarded as the founding member of the second wave feminist movement in the US, and her early role has been depicted in countless films and series including BBC drama Mrs America. In the quote below, the feminist icon (and newfound BFF of Meghan Markle) speaks to the important of adapting a ‘man’s world’ to become a woman’s world, too.