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Quotations:  Feminism,
Women's Rights, Misogyny,
Sexism, Gender Equality, etc.


Related Quotes      Women      Men      Human Rights      Politics      Mothers


Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2009


Don't shut yourself up in a bandbox because you are a woman, but understand what is going on, and educate yourself to take your part in the world's work, for it all affects you and yours. ~Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, "On the Shelf," 1869


The twentieth century will be the century of woman... Woman no longer clings to time-honoured privileges, but is everywhere demanding equal rights. The near future will probably side with her... We shall thus witness the most magnificent social transformation that has been realised since the fall of the Roman Empire. Humanity, directed by man, will suddenly find itself guided and inspired jointly by the two sexes. ~Jean Finot, Problems of the Sexes, translated by Mary J. Safford, 1913


It is commonly considered a step forward in civilization, that whereas ancient and barbarous nations exposed children to special hardships, in order to kill off the weak and toughen the strong, modern nations aim to rear all alike carefully, without either sacrificing or enfeebling. If we apply this to muscle, why not to mind? and, if to men's minds, why not to women's? ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823–1911), "Intellectual Cinderellas," c.1881  [The title of this essay makes me think of my niece, who is going to be a scientist princess when she grows up! —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


A great reverence for knowledge and the natural sense of justice urge me to encourage in my own sex that which is most worthy the aspirations of all. For, since wisdom is so great an ornament of the human race that it should of right be extended (so far as practicable) to each and every one, I did not see why this fairest of ornaments should not be appropriate for the maiden, to whom we permit all diligence in the decoration and adornment of herself. ~Annæ Mariæ à Schurman (1607–1678), Epistolæ, to D. Andreæ Riveto, 1638, translated from the Latin by Thomas Wentworth Higginson


I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is:  I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute. ~Rebecca West, "Mr Chesterton in Hysterics: A Study in Prejudice," The Clarion, 1913 November 14th, reprinted in The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911–17, 1982


      I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep clear of both the jargons now current everywhere... of the jargon, namely, about the "rights" of women, which urges women to do all that men do... and of the jargon which urges women to do nothing that men do... Surely woman should bring the best she has, whatever that is, to the work of God's world, without attending to either of these cries. For what are they, both of them, the one just as much as the other, but listening to the "what people will say," to opinion, to the "voices from without"? And as a wise man has said, no one has ever done anything great or useful by listening to the voices from without.
      You do not want the effect of your good things to be, "How wonderful for a woman!" nor... "Yes, but she ought not to have done this, because it is not suitable for a woman." But you want to do the thing that is good, whether it is "suitable for a woman" or not... Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way straight to God's work, in simplicity and singleness of heart. ~Florence Nightingale, Notes on Nursing: What It Is, and What It Is Not, 1860


Someday, women will realize that the object of their emancipation is not to make them more like men, but more powerfully womanly, and therefore of greater use to men and themselves and society. ~Dorothy Thompson, Political Guide: A Study of American Liberalism and Its Relationship to Modern Totalitarian States, 1938


Slowly, however, the truth is dawning upon women, and still more slowly upon men, that woman is no stepchild of nature, no Cinderella of fate to be dowered only by fairies and the Prince; but that for her and in her, as truly as for and in man, life has wrought its great experiences, its master attainments, its supreme human revelations of the stuff of which worlds are made. That woman has been but a "silent partner" in the building of the outer temples of thought and action during the ages when she has been denied the tools of self-expression in art and science, in literature and politics, is no proof that her contribution has been small even in these lines. It is an old error of man to forget to put quotation marks where he borrows from a woman's brain! ~Anna Garlin Spencer, Woman's Share in Social Culture, 1912


Women belong in the house — and the Senate. ~Author unknown


I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts. After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough. ~Claire Sargent, U.S. congressional candidate, Arizona, 1992


Scott Hershovitz: Do you have amendments you would like to see added [to our Constitution]?
Ruth Bader Ginsburg: I have one, beyond all others and that is the Equal Rights Amendment.... every constitution in the world written after World War II has a statement to the effect that women and men are persons of equal citizenship stature. I would like to take my pocket Constitution out, show it to my three granddaughters, and say, "This is a prime value of our society, just like free speech and freedom of religion. The equality of men and women, their equal citizenship stature, is a basic tenet of our society."
~2015 Tanner Lecture conversation at the University of Michigan


I often quoted the lines of Sarah Grimke, one of two wonderful sisters from South Carolina, and they said to legislators in the mid-1900s, I ask no favor for my sex, all I ask of my brethren is that they take their feet from off our necks. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg


...whereas I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman. ~Anaïs Nin


Sue:  What are they so afraid of? [men, about women being educated]
Emily:  Maybe they're scared that if they teach us how the world works we'll figure out how to take over.
~Alena Smith and Rachel Axler, “I have never seen ‘Volcanoes,’” Dickinson, 2019  [S1, E2 —tg]


I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament. ~Alanis Morissette, quoted in The Reader's Digest, March 2000


The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
      As a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
      Afar o'er life's turrets and vales does it roam
      In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.
The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
      And enters some alien cage in its plight,
      And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
      While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.
~Georgia Douglas Camp Johnson (1880–1966), "The Heart of a Woman," The Heart of a Woman and Other Poems, 1918


...but boys will be boys, and so will girls too, for that matter. ~Judy, or the London Serio-Comic Journal, 1879


History is herstory too. ~Author unknown


I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns, and women join the unqualified men in running our government. ~Cissy Farenthold, 1974


      Fragile in every sense of the word, they are obliged to look up to man for every comfort. In the most trifling dangers they cling to their support, with parasitical tenacity, piteously demanding succour; and their natural protector extends his arm, or lifts up his voice, to guard the lovely trembler — from what? Perhaps the frown of an old cow, or the jump of a mouse; a rat, would be a serious danger. In the name of reason, and even common sense, what can save such beings from contempt; even though they be soft and fair?
      These fears, when not affected, may produce some pretty attitudes; but they shew a degree of imbecility which degrades a rational creature in a way women are not aware of — for love and esteem are very distinct things.
      I am fully persuaded that we should hear of none of these infantine airs, if girls were allowed to take sufficient exercise, and not confined in close rooms till their muscles are relaxed, and their powers of digestion destroyed. To carry the remark still further, if fear in girls, instead of being cherished, perhaps, created, were treated in the same manner as cowardice in boys, we should quickly see women with more dignified aspects. It is true, they could not then with equal propriety be termed the sweet flowers that smile in the walk of man; but they would be more respectable members of society, and discharge the important duties of life by the light of their own reason. 'Educate women like men,' says Rousseau, 'and the more they resemble our sex the less power they will have over us.' This is the very point I aim at. I do not wish them to have power over men; but over themselves. ~Mary Wollstonecraft, "Observations on the State of Degradation to Which Woman is Reduced by Various Causes," A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1793


Cultured, beautiful, and fair;
Black and brown and golden hair;
Daughters of my fondest care,
Freedom's a deluding snare.
Half the human race, you see,
Is deprived of liberty...
Wards of legal slavery,
Cultured daughters, we must be
Voiceless by the world's decree...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "How It Is" (An Equal-Suffrage Song), Souvenirs of Occasions, 1892


When will come the declaration
      That will make us wholly free?
When the July independence
      Of our fuller liberty?
We are cramped with heavier taxes
      Than could ever rest on tea...
~Sara L. Vickers Oberholtzer, "A Fourth of July Prophecy," Souvenirs of Occasions, 1892


Sometimes I'm asked when will there be enough women on the Supreme Court, and when I say "when there are nine," people are shocked. But there'd been nine men and nobody's ever raised a question about that. ~Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2012  [a little altered —tg]


How good does a female athlete have to be before we just call her an athlete? ~Author unknown


The blood of generations of honoured women boiled in my veins. ~Sarah Grand (1854–1943), "The Condemned Cell," Emotional Moments, 1908


Oh! that I could so appeal to my brothers everywhere, that forever after they would regard women as of angelic order, to be approached only as they would approach the enthroned Goddess of Purity, upon whose presence none would dare presume, and whose favors it is theirs to merit and receive, rather than to command and appropriate. Look not upon her for selfish purposes, but rather to bless her, let that blessing depend upon what it may, even if to bless is not to possess. Other love than this is selfishness, and a profanation of the Holy Word. That is love which will bless the object, even if to do so is to yield it. Remember that it is a pretension and a fraud to think of ownership in, or control over, the person of a woman. This is her inheritance, never to be bartered, never to be sold, never to be given away, even; but only to be exchanged, blessing for blessing, when an all-absorbing, all-embracing, all-desiring love points out the way. ~Victoria Claflin Woodhull Martin, Tried As By Fire; or, The True and the False, Socially.


...celebrate the exquisite beauty of every woman. ~Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective website, 1999


Time was when all a girl needed to know was how to cook and sew and mind a baby and hold her tongue. Nowadays everything's different. ~Cid Ricketts Sumner, Tammy Out of Time, 1958  [Grandfather explaining to granddaughter why he wants her to go to school. —tg]


For centuries women were content to be classed as second-rate men. Those who attempted to rise out of their dependency and inferiority were usually promptly burned as witches. Women had no chance to earn their living independently, and perforce, were constrained to remain at home and do the world's dirty work. ~W. Béran Wolfe, M.D. (1900–1935), "The Art of Understanding Women," in Esquire, May 1935


We are living through the invention of independent female adulthood....After a long history during which living solo would get you labeled a pathetic spinster or, if you were lucky, a sexual iconoclast, being recognized as an independent person rather than as someone's daughter, wife, or mother is a new, shiny kind of liberty for women, one that has unlocked all sorts of doors. ~Rebecca Traister, "Love and the Single Girl: The Single Girl Revolution," 2012 May 30th, MarieClaire.com


Women are every where in this deplorable state; for, in order to preserve their innocence, as ignorance is courteously termed, truth is hidden from them, and they are made to assume an artificial character before their faculties have acquired any strength. Taught from their infancy that beauty is women's sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and, roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison. ~Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman, 1793


But one thing, girls are smarter than fellows, I have to admit that... The boy scouts are all right, and you can see for yourself that you can do a lot by concerted appetite. But you need brains, too. And if it hadn't been for the Girl Scouts and the Erie Railroad, where would we be, I'd like to know? So that's why my favorite heroes are the Girl Scouts and the Erie Railroad. ~Percy Keese Fitzhugh, Roy Blakeley: Lost, Strayed or Stolen, 1921


How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~Maya Angelou, c.1983


Sometimes the best man for the job isn't. ~Author unknown


If Congress refuse to listen to and grant what women ask, there is but one course left them to pursue.... Under such glaring inconsistencies, such unwarrantable tyranny, such unscrupulous despotism, what is there left women to do but to become the mothers of the future government. ~Victoria Claflin Woodhull Martin, The Great Secession Speech of Victoria C. Woodhull, Before the National Woman's Suffrage Convention, at Apollo Hall, May 11, 1871


...among the women there is a stiff awkward reserve that belongs to neither sublime resignation or divine hope — wherever I turn I see the yoke on woman in some form or other... ~Abba May Alcott (1800–1877), 1843, of a Shaker community


      "A woman does not, then, necessarily leave the industrial service on marriage?" I queried.
      "No more than a man," replied the doctor. "Why on earth should she?... a husband is not a baby that he should be cared for."
      ~Edward Bellamy, Looking Backward: 2000–1887, 1888


Here's to the woman with many a care,
Who sits all day in an office chair.
And at night, when her day's work there is through
Goes home and finds more work to do;
Gets up in the morning and cooks and scrubs,
And wrestles round with laundry tubs;
Yet the usual hour finds her smiling there,
Beside her desk, in the office chair.
If she's strong enough these burdens to tote,
Here's to the State where they let her vote!
~Author unknown, "A Real Toast," 1914


A creature ruled by the lunar cycle in charge of a business? Absurd! Have you gone insane? ~Making History, "Night Cream," 2017, written by Alison Agosti  [S1, E7, John Hancock]


Why is it that only girls stand on the sides of their feet? As if they're afraid to plant themselves? ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams, 1990


My favorite thing about girl power is that over time it turns into woman power. ~Cleo Wade, cleowade.com


Men might regard economic equality with favor or disfavor, according to their economic positions, but every woman, simply because she was a woman, was bound to be for it as soon as she got it through her head what it meant for her half of the race. ~Edward Bellamy, "What the Revolution Did for Women," Equality, 1897


Sexism is a social disease. ~Author unknown


...you wouldn't bother promoting that tired cliché that women can have it all — orgasms and babies and power, oh my! Because we all know that when you try to have everything, you wind up with nothing.... now let's get back to your mission to reduce women to their pinker parts. ~Mistresses, "Lean In" [S4, E5, 2016], written by Rina Mimoun, spoken by the character Jason Hughes on the "Love Chat" podcast


All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority, belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are "sides," and it is necessary for one side to beat another side, and of the utmost importance to walk up to a platform and receive from the hands of the Headmaster himself a highly ornamental pot. As people mature they cease to believe in sides or in Headmasters or in highly ornamental pots. ~Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own



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