31 Quotes by Literary Women to Inspire and Empower You

I woke up today at 4 AM and could not fall back asleep. I started rereading “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. I am always so inspired by her, and I thought I would share 31 quotes by a few strong literary ladies to inspire and empower you today and for the remainder of March.

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

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

—Michelle Obama

  • “Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.”

—Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches 

  • “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

I’m a woman


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

  • “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

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

—Audre Lorde 

  • “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate.”

— Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

  • “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

What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain

― Maya Angelou, Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now

  • “You should never be surprised when someone treats you with respect; you should expect it.”

― Sarah Dessen, Keeping the Moon

  • “We do not need magic to change the world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.”

— J.K. Rowling

  • “Put your ear down close to your soul and listen hard.”

— Anne Sexton

  • “When we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.”

— Audre Lorde

  • “An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.”

— Margaret Atwood

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any

— Alice Walker

  • “You can do some rather extraordinary things if that’s what you really believe.”

— Toni Morrison

  • “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.”

— Virginia Woolf

  • “I am no bird, and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

— Charlotte Bronte

  • “Next to trying and winning, the best thing is trying and failing.”

— L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

  • “If there’s a book you really want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

— Toni Morrison

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

  • “Sometimes, you need to scorch everything to the ground and start over. After the burning, the soil is richer, and new things can grow. People are like that, too. They start over. They find a way.”

— Celeste Ng, Little Fires Everywhere

  • “Forever is composed of nows.”

— Emily Dickinson, poem

  • “There is a truth deep down inside of you that has been waiting for you to discover it, and that truth is this: you deserve all good things life has to offer.”

— Rhonda Byrne, The Secret

  • “I do not wish women to have power over men but over themselves.”

— Mary Wollstonecraft

  • “The biggest problem that women have is being ambivalent about their own power…We should be comfortable with the idea of wielding power. We shouldn’t feel that it detracts from our femininity.”

— Elizabeth Wurtzel, Bitch: In Praise of Difficult Women

Yet if a woman never lets herself go, how will she ever know how far she might have got? If she never takes off her high-heeled shoes, how will she ever know how far she could walk or how fast she could run?

— Germaine Greer, The Change



Nat C.


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