It’s International Women’s Day! This means it’s prime time to reflect on everything we have accomplished so far. From securing the right to vote, to being included fairly and rightfully in the nerd sphere, to leading a march with nearly 5 million participants worldwide.
Feminism has accomplished a lot since its first wave, but sometimes the going gets tough. Setbacks, like losing reproductive rights and healthcare benefits, and stagnation, like female genital mutilation and the pink tax still existing in 2017, can make us feel like we haven’t progressed at all.
But remember, there was a time when women writers had to publish their work anonymously or under a male pseudonym. A time when women couldn’t own land. Heck, there was a time when we were all property. So until we have reached gender equality, we cannot give up.
Here are the courageous voices of women authors before us. Those who paved the way, those who braved the storm, those who are still the wind beneath our wings. May they lend us their wisdom and perseverance once more. May we reach International Women’s Day 2018 with a fresh batch of accomplishments.
“Who has forbidden women to engage in private and individual studies? Have they not a rational soul as men do?…I have this inclination to study and if it is evil I am not the one who formed me thus – I was born with it and with it I shall die.” – Juana Inés de la Cruz
“I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.” – Mary Wollstonecraft
“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
“There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me.” – Jane Austen
“Give a girl an education and introduce her properly into the world, and ten to one but she has the means of settling well, without further expense to anybody.” – Jane Austen
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” – Charlotte Brontë
“I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.” – Virginia Woolf
“As a woman I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world.” – Virginia Woolf
“As long as she thinks of a man, nobody objects to a woman thinking.” – Virginia Woolf
“I am my own music. The subject I know best.” – Frida Kahlo
“I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.” – Sylvia Plath
“So I began to think maybe it was true that when you were married and had children it was like being brainwashed, and afterward you went about as numb as a slave in some private, totalitarian state.” – Sylvia Plath
“Apparently, the most difficult feat for a Cambridge male is to accept a woman not merely as feeling, not merely as thinking, but as managing a complex, vital interweaving of both.” – Sylvia Plath
“Girls are not machines that you put kindness coins into until sex falls out.” – Sylvia Plath
“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
“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.” – Rebecca West
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” – Margaret Atwood
“I can promise you that women working together – linked, informed and educated – can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet.” – Isabel Allende
“Fear is inevitable, I have to accept that, but I cannot allow it to paralyze me.” – Isabel Allende
“For real change, we need feminine energy in the management of the world. We need a critical number of women in positions of power, and we need to nurture the feminine energy in men.” – Isabel Allende
“I’ve put up with too much, too long, and now I’m just too intelligent, too powerful, too beautiful, too sure of who I am finally to deserve anything less.” – Sandra Cisneros
“It takes a long time for women to feel it’s alright to be chingona. To aspire to be a chingona!…You are saying, ‘This is my camino, this is my path and I’m gonna follow it, regardless of what culture says.’ I don’t think the church likes chingonas. I don’t think the state likes chingonas! And fathers definitely do not like chingonas. And boyfriends don’t like chingonas. But, you know, I remain optimistic. I will meet a man who likes a chingona, one day. One day, my chingón will come.” – Sandra Cisneros
“Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. – Arundhati Roy
“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.” – J.K. Rowling
“You think I’ll be the dark sky so you can be the star? I’ll swallow you whole.” – Warsan Shire
“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.” – Gloria Steinem
“Feminism has never been about getting a job for one woman. It’s about making life more fair for women everywhere. It’s not about a piece of the existing pie; there are too many of us for that. It’s about baking a new pie.” – Gloria Steinem
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie