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Blog Insight & Commentary

23 Quotes from Men on the Right Side of Gender Equality

How very intersectional of them

Beth Castle
Managing Editor, InHerSight

harry styles

HRH Michelle Obama said it right: “Strong men—men who are truly role models—don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.” In the workforce and in life, that perspective deserves a standing ovation. We can all do better work when women are paid equally, feel safe at work, and are respected for the skills they bring to the table.

There are men out there who already share this opinion, and they’ve spoken up to say so. Here are a few words of wisdom from men who believe gender equality benefits everyone and that it’s high time for women to get the rights they deserve.

1. “The abuse of women and girls is the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth.”

     —Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President

2. “We let Willow cut her hair. When you have a little girl, it’s like, how can I teach her that she’s in control of her body? If I teach her that I’m in charge of whether or not she can touch her hair, she’s going to replace me with some other man when she goes out in the world. She can’t cut my hair, but that’s her hair. She has got to have command of her body. So when she goes out into the world, she’s going out with a command that is hers. She is used to making those decisions herself. We try to keep giving them those decisions until they can hold the full weight of their lives.”

     —Will Smith, American actor

3. “We know that when women are empowered, they immeasurably improve the lives of everyone around them—their families, their communities and their countries.”

     —Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex 

4. “First of all, as a card-carrying feminist, I am a big feminist, anytime I see women being stars—the stars that they should be, and being featured, and being highlighted, it makes my heart happy. Because it’s long overdue.”

     —Terry Crews, American actor and former football player

5. “The very fact that you are graduating, let alone that more women now graduate from college than men, is only possible because earlier generations of women—your mothers, your grandmothers, your aunts—shattered the myth that you couldn’t or shouldn’t be where you are.”

     —Barack Obama, 44th U.S. President

6. “There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

     —Fred Rogers, American television personality and candidate for sainthood

7. “Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition.”

     —Joss Whedon, American screenwriter, producer, and director

8. “Who’s to say that young girls who like pop music—short for popular, right?—have worse musical taste than a 30-year-old hipster guy? That’s not up to you to say. Music is something that’s always changing. There’s no goal posts. Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious? How can you say young girls don’t get it? They’re our future. Our future doctors, lawyers, mothers, presidents, they kind of keep the world going. Teenage-girl fans—they don’t like. If they like you, they’re there. They don’t act ‘too cool.’ They like you, and they tell you. Which is sick.”

     —Harry Styles, British singer and actor

9. “There’s a long, long history of women suffering abuse, injustice, and not having the same opportunities as men, and I think that’s been very detrimental to the human race as a whole.”

     —Joseph Gordon-Levitt, American actor

10. “When you work with the sort of really strong women that I work with, the idea that anyone would want to make decisions for them is hard to wrap your head around.”

     —Seth Meyers, American television personality and comedian

11. “It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”

     —Desmond Tutu, South African cleric and theologian

12. “Nobody says, ‘Hey men should not drink.’ It’s all about women must dress differently, women must walk differently, women must drink differently. Why are we not able to hold men to account for this behavior?”

     —Jon Stewart, American television personality and comedian

13. “There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”

     —Steve Maraboli, American author

14. “A weapon men use against women is the refusal to take them seriously.”

     —David Mitchell, British author

15. “The argument that ‘boys will be boys’ actually carries the profoundly anti-male implication that we should expect bad behavior from boys and men. The assumption is that they are somehow not capable of acting appropriately, or treating girls and women with respect.”

     —Jackson Katz, American educator, author, and social theorist

16. “The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society.”

     —Jimmy Carter, 39th U.S. President

17. “Women are responsible for two-thirds of the work done worldwide, yet earn only 10 percent of the total income and own 1 percent of the property. So, are we equals? Until the answer is yes, we must never stop asking.”

     —Daniel Craig, British actor

18. “Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.”

     —George Carlin, American comedian

19. “According to a new study, most men would like women to occasionally pick up the check. The study also found most women would occasionally like to be paid as much as men for doing the same job.”

     —Conan O’Brien, American television personality and comedian

20. “It must become culturally acceptable for men to subjugate their career prospects to allow women to succeed.”

     —Peter Mathieson, vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Edinburgh 

21. “Some things just cannot wait. Men must stand up now for women’s equality.”

     —Rick Goings, former chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands

22. “I have not yet spoken my last word about women. I believe that if a woman succeeds in withdrawing from the mass, or rather raising herself from above the mass, she grows ceaselessly and more than a man.”

     —Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher

23. “When I was young, every coach around me was a man. Every single one. I just looked at the positives Amelie (his coach) could bring, and I couldn’t see any negatives at all. Amelie was the best in the world at what she did, and whether you’re a man or a woman, or in any sport or job, that’s an incredibly difficult thing to do. You have to have amazing qualities to do that.”

     —Andy Murray, British professional tennis player

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