…About Women, Power, Leadership, and Life

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” —Alice Walker

I’ve long collected quotes that speak to me.  I turn to them for inspiration and I often share them in writings and speeches. People tell me they look forward to these morsels of wisdom, encouragement, and power.

So I decided to post my favorites on this page.

Browse for the quotes that speak to you. Feel free to use any of them with attribution to their creators. And you can even share these pages in their entirety.

Do you have a favorite quote you don’t see here? E-mail it to me and I’ll add it. I’ll also keep adding new quotes as I find them, so we’ll all have a repository of encouraging words when we need them.

“Life has taught me: We must put our convictions into action.” —Margaret Sanger

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right—for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“You are the storyteller of your own life, and you can create your own legend or not.” —Isabel Allende

“We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t.” —Audre Lorde

“Power unused is power useless.”—Gloria Feldt

“A woman who knows her power has in her hands the key to her own happiness and success.” —Raffaella Barker

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” —Anais Nin

‎”There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is yours clearly and directly to keep the channel open.” —Martha Graham

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” –Audre Lorde

“Be a thermostat not a thermometer.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Well behaved women rarely make history.” —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“The reasonable (person) adapts to the world. The unreasonable (person) expects the world to adapt to him (her), Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable (person.)” —George Bernard Shaw

“It’s a man’s world unless…. You vote. You speak up. You ask for what you want. Nuf said.” —Lisa Gates, She Negotiates

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has our posts in your head.” —Sally Kempton

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” —Gloria Steinem

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”—Winston Churchill

“She who asks gets.”—Max Feldt (my father)

“Leap, and the net will appear.” Julie Cameron

“There are no excuses this time. Now it’s up to women to step up and lead ourselves and our sisters through the threshold.” – Gloria Feldt

“Until you make peace with who you are, you’ll never be content with what you have.” ― Doris Mortman

“Hope is not what we find in evidence, it’s what we become in action.” – Frances Moore Lappé

“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” ― Oprah Winfrey

“I’m tough. I’m ambitious. And I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, Okay.” –Madonna

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” —Dr. Seuss 

“He knows nothing. He thinks everything. That points clearly to a political career.” — George Bernard Shaw

“Thou shall not mess with women’s reproductive rights.” – Fallopians 4:28

“With each door one women walks through it is incumbent to bring another woman through it with her.” – Gloria Feldt

“Fall seven times. Stand up eight.” — Japanese proverb

“You are on the right path, know your own authority, stick your breasts out, and seek solace and support in your allies. You are not alone.” —Rev. Claudette Copeland

“Get up early, work hard, strike oil.” — J. Paul Getty

“Everything has a crack in it. That’s how the light comes in.” — Leonard Cohen

“Public business… will always be done by somebody or another. If wise men decline it, others will not;
if honest men refuse it, others will not.” — John Adams

“What does living fearlessly mean to you?” —Sophfronia Scott, author

“It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station that great characters are formed… Great necessities call out great virtues.” — Abigail Adams

“Get ticked and get going.”  – Gloria Feldt

“Have convictions. Be friendly. Stick to your beliefs as they stick to theirs. Work as hard as they do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.” —Erica Jong

“If you are passionate about starting a business, don’t ask anyone if they think you can do it. Ask them how you do it.” —Andrea March

“Toughness doesn’t have to come in a pinstripe suit.” U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein

“This is women’s moment to shift the tectonic plates of power on both the personal life and the leadership levels.” – Gloria Feldt

“You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose.” Indira Gandhi

“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” Peace Pilgrim, spiritual leader

“Women are stronger, better. We have to be. Independence is vital.” —Kristal Brent Zook

“There are three ways you can get to the top of a tree: 1) sit on an acorn 2) make friends with a bird 3) climb it.” —Anonymous

“Women must commit to use our power-to on our own behalf so we can translate it into the power to help others and ourselves.” – Gloria Feldt

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” —Anne Frank

“Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.” —Janis Joplin

“So I am for keeping the thing going while things are stirring; because if we wait until it is still, it will take a great while to get it going again.” —Sojourner Truth

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.” —Barbara De Angelis, American researcher

“Power-over is amoral. Power-to is responsibility.” – Gloria Feldt

“If you haven’t forgiven yourself something, how can you forgive others?” —Dolores Huerta, activist

“A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Don’t follow your dream – lead it!” —Gloria Feldt

“Rest and you rust.” —Helen Hayes, American actress

“We are coming down from our pedestal and up from the laundry room.” —Bella Abzug

“This women’s moment to embrace the power-to for good in life and leadership.” – Gloria Feldt

“There never will be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and elect lawmakers.” —Susan B. Anthony

“Although social change cannot come overnight, but we must work as though it were a possibility in the morning.” —Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“A woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself.” —Susan B. Anthony

“Women are well on the road to equality but we haven’t arrived yet.” – Gloria Feldt

“Each has his past shut in him like the leaves of a book known to him by heart and his friends can only read the title.” —Virginia Woolf

“A woman’s guess is much more accurate than a man’s certainty.” —Rudyard Kipling

“Don’t agonize – organize.” —Community Organizing Slogan

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” —Gloria Steinem

“Women are in the midst of an unfinished revolution.” – Gloria Feldt

“Sometimes questions are more important than answers.” —Nancy Willard

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.” —Emily Dickinson

“Embrace controversy.  It gives you a platform.  It is a teacher, a clarifier, and your friend, especially if you are trying to make change.” – Gloria Feldt

“You are unique, and if that is not fulfilled then something has been lost.” —Martha Graham, dancer, choreographer

“I truly believe that a woman who knows herself, and who thus knows her true value, can never be frightened into being co-opted.” – Gloria Feldt

“When will our consciences grow so tender that we will act to prevent human misery rather than avenge it?” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Those who don’t know how to weep with their whole heart don’t know how to laugh either.” —Golda Meir

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” Madeleine Albright

“Old age is no place for sissies.” —Bette Davis

“It’s critical that women realize that this is a game-changing moment – or rather that it can be – if we choose to make it so.” – Gloria Feldt

“I make the most of all that comes and the least of all that goes.” —Sara Teasdale, poet

“Love often leads to healing, while fear and isolation breed illness. And our biggest fear is abandonment.”—Candace Pert, neuroscientist

“Your personal choices matter. And you have the power. Use it.” – Gloria Feldt

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” —Maya Angelou

“Today’s challenge for women: to value ourselves and demand that others do, too.” – Gloria Feldt

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Lasting change is a series of compromises. And compromise is all right, as long your values don’t change.” —Jane Goodall, Primatologist

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.” —Sally Kempton

“Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently.” —Rosa Luxemburg, revolutionary

“I say, carpe the chaos, for in chaos is opportunity.” – Gloria Feldt

“Pure love is a willingness to give without a thought of receiving anything in return.” —Peace Pilgrim

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” —Maya Angelou

“… and the energy I felt from sharing that story inspired me to realize that all I ever need to do is just speak the truth.” —Debbie Philips, leadership coach

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” —Emily Dickinson

“Embrace controversy. It gives you a platform. It nudges you to clarity.” – Gloria Feldt

“In politics if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman.” —Margaret Thatcher

“One is not born a woman, one becomes one.”— Simone de Beauvoir, French Author, The Second Sex

“… life path is defined by society’s life path and therefore, the goal setting gets shifted onto what’s supposed to happen versus what you want to happen.” —Jen Nedeau

“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of voice, but out of chaos.” —Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

“When women are economically empowered, the power balance changes in all areas of life.” – Gloria Feldt

“Adults are always asking kids what they want to be when they grow up because they are looking for ideas.” —Paula Poundstone

“I discovered I always have choices and sometimes it’s only a choice of attitude.” —Judith M. Knowlton

“Stories are medicine for our false isolation; a way to forge connection and community and help shift our course.” —Nina Simons

“Take the lead, Lady!” — Kathleen Turner

“What ticks you off enough to get involved in efforts to better the lot of women?  What motivates you to action?” – Gloria Feldt

“It is our choices … that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” — J.K. Rowling

“It is the ability to choose which makes us human.” — Madeleine L’Engle (Walking on Water)

“Self-abnegation is irresponsible.” —Katie Orenstein

“There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it’s easy.” —Anonymous

“What’s happening? Why is it happening? What do you want to have happen? How are you going to make it happen?” – Gloria Feldt

“To choose is also to begin.” —Starhawk (Dreaming the Dark)

“To decide to be at the level of choice, is to take responsibility for your life and to be in control of your life.” —Arbie M. Dale

“If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” —Don Draper ‘Mad Men’

“Every generation finds it necessary to negotiate compromises with its own values.” —Golda Meir, quoted in Munich

“Intention implies assuming you can and have every right to achieve your ambition and that you are powerful enough to make it happen.” – Gloria Feldt

“Life has taught me: We must put our convictions into action.” —Margaret Sanger

“Well behaved women rarely make history.” —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“In the Office, Nice Girls Finish Last.” —Linda Babcock, economist

“The simplest solution to any problem is usually the best.” —Occam’s Razor, or the principle of parsimony

“What’s your vision of what you think should happen? How can you make it happen? Go stand in your power and walk with intention to make it so.” – Gloria Feldt

“The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within – strength, courage, dignity.” —Ruby Dee

“What the world really needs is more love and less paper work.” —Pearl Bailey

“When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” —Audre Lorde

“Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” —Anonymous

“The path to big, systemic change is collective action. That takes Sister Courage.” – Gloria Feldt

“If you wait until the Frogs and Toads have croaked their last to take some action, you’ve missed the point” —Kermit the Frog

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.” —Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop

“You told us we could do anything. We heard ‘You must do everything.’”  —Courtney Martin, author and feminist commentator

“Life might not be the party we had hoped for, but while we are here, we might we well dance.”  —Unknown

“Share your stories of your worst moments as well as your best. Let your sisters know their problems are not unique and they are not alone.”  – Gloria Feldt

“…and the day came when the risk it took to remain in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” — Anais Nin

“Just take the ball and throw it where you want to. Throw strikes. Home plate don’t move.” —Satchel Paige

“Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”  —Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.” —Lauren Bacall

“Every other group helps its own members. Women should, too. Be sisters.” – Gloria Feldt

“If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” —Sojourner Truth

“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” —Roseanne Barr

“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

“Be bold. If you’re going to make an error, make a doozey, and don’t be afraid to hit the ball” —Billie Jean King

“Whatever aspect of life you apply it to, making change takes courage.” – Gloria Feldt

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.” —Maya Angelou

“For a people is only as great, as free, as lofty, as advanced as its women are free, noble and progressive.” —Susan B. Anthony

“I think the key is for women not to set any limits.” —Martina Navratilova

“Important for women not just to have the power to choose but to choose power.”  —Katie Orenstein

“We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” —J. K. Rowling

“A woman who knows her power has in her hands the key to her own happiness and success.” —Raffaella Barker, journalist

“Unlimit yourself:  Stand in power, walk with intention.”  – Gloria Feldt

“I ask no favor for my sex.  All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.” —Sarah Grimke, 19th century feminist

“You must first have the knowledge of your power; second, the courage to dare; third, the faith to do.”—Judith Martin

“The most effective medium is yourself and the power you communicate by your intention and your story.”  – Gloria Feldt 

“Follow your instincts – you never know if your ideas will work out unless you try them.” —Lulu Guinness, designer

“Great necessities call out great virtues.”   —Abigail Adams

“If you’re able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is get closer and closer to that essence.” —Barbara Cook

“The more we practice risking to leap, the more proficient we become, the more our fears melt away, and we grow ever stronger in the doing.” – Gloria Feldt

“It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” —Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Ozarks

“Life is a succession of moments. To live each one is to succeed. “— Corita Kent

“Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade.”  —Constance Baker Motley


“Love is the time and space where “I” give myself the right to be extraordinary.” —Julia Kristeva, Tales of Love

“Respect… is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the way in which he or she is unique.” — Annie Gottlieb

“Embrace controversy.  It gives you a platform.  It is a teacher, a clarifier, and your friend, especially if you are trying to make change.”  – Gloria Feldt 

“Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.” — Anonymous

“I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.” —Golda Meir

“The beauty of empowering others is that your own power is not diminished in the process.” —Barbara Colorose

“Use what you’ve got.  What you need is usually there if you can see it and if you have the courage to use it.”  – Gloria Feldt

“The best cosmetic in the world is an active mind that is always finding something new.” —Mary Meek Atkeson

“The minute you alter your perception of yourself and your future, both you and your future begin to change.” —Marilee Zdenek

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”   —Margaret Mead

“We don’t have an eternity to realize our dreams – only the time we are here.” —Susan L. Taylor

“Your vision, ideas and plans have the power to shape the future, but not if you keep them to yourself.”  – Gloria Feldt 

“You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” —Rosalynn Carter

“People with clenched fists cannot shake hands.” —Indira Gandhi

“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” —Billie Jean King

“There are two ways of spreading light …To be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.” —Edith Wharton

“Knowing your history can give you the tools to shape your future.”  – Gloria Feldt   

“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it with use.” —Ruth Gordon

“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.”— Beverly Sills

“One of the things about equality is not just that you be treated equally to a man, but that you treat yourself equally to the way you treat a man.”  —Marlo Thomas

“It’s not what you call me, but what I answer to.” —African proverb

“A movement has to move.  Constantly.”  – Gloria Feldt 

“A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform.”—Diane Mariechild

“Cut not the wings of your dreams, for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul.” —Flavia

“Feminism is an entire world view or gestalt, not just a laundry list of women’s issues.”   — Charlotte Bunch

“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning to sail my ship.” —Louisa May Alcott

“And, as you know, the present moment is where ALL your power is. A reminder I need regularly. Maybe you too.” —Dr. Christiane Northrup

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands. You seek problems because you need their gifts.” —Richard Bach

“Men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.”  —Susan B. Anthony

“When a man gets up to speak, people listen, then look. When a woman gets up to speak, people look; then if they like what they see, they listen.” —Pauline Frederi

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” —Anais Nin

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“This woman’s place is in the House – the House of Representatives.”  —Bella Abzug

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” —Maya Angelou

“Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” —Helen Keller

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” —Judy Garland

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” —Eleanor Roosevelt

“Never be bullied into silence.  Never allow yourself to be made a victim.  Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” —Harvey Fierstein

“The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone.  You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.” —Elaine Agather

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” —Virginia Woolf