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  1. Blog
  3. March 1, 2023

50 Inspirational Quotes About Work for International Women’s Day

Wise words from women, for women

Inspirational messages from women
Photo courtesy of Valentina Conde

The first National Women’s Day was held in New York City on February 28, 1909—on a Sunday, so working women could celebrate. The idea caught on throughout Europe. In 1975 (not that long ago!), which was known as International Women’s Year, the United Nations General Assembly recognized International Women’s Day on March 8.

Now, 47 years later, we still have a lot to fight for, but also a ton to celebrate. 

One way to honor what women have done and what we’re working on is to send your favorite coworkers an inspiring thought about how badass women are. Here are 50 inspirational quotes from women, about women, that can all be applied to work (and life!). 

Inspirational quotes by women on leading and being in charge

1. “Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in our absence.”

—Sheryl Sandberg, tech executive

2. “I don’t go by the rule book. I lead from the heart, not the head.”

—Princess Diana

3. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.”

—Dolly Parton, musical artist

4. “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.”

—Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady of the United States

5. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

—Nora Ephron, author

6. “There’s something special about a woman who dominates in a man’s world. It takes a certain grace, strength, intelligence, fearlessness, and the nerve to never take no for an answer.”

—Rihanna, musical artist

7. “It’s possible to climb to the top without stomping on other people.”

—Taylor Swift, musical artist

8. “I just love bossy women. I could be around them all day. To me, bossy is not a pejorative term at all. It means somebody’s passionate and engaged and ambitious and doesn’t mind learning.”

—Amy Poehler, comedian

Inspirational quotes by women about confidence and determination

9. “Doubt is a killer. You just have to know who you are and what you stand for.”

—Jennifer Lopez, musical artist and actress

10. “People respond well to those that are sure of what they want.”

—Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue

11. “The question isn’t who is going to let me; it is who is going to stop me.”

—Ayn Rand, writer

12. “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, 'I’m possible.'”

—Audrey Hepburn, actress

13. “Don’t be intimidated by what you don’t know. That can be your greatest strength and ensure that you do things differently from everyone else.”

—Sara Blakely, founder/owner of Spanx

14. “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

—Margaret Atwood, author

15. “A really strong woman accepts the war she went through and is ennobled by her scars.”

—Carly Simon, musical artist

16. “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

—Oprah Winfrey, media mogul

17. “A strong woman is a woman determined to do something others are determined not be done.”

—Marge Piercy, activist

18. “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

—Tina Fey, writer and actress

Read more: 50 Independent Women Quotes

Inspirational quotes by women about “womanness”

19. “One of the best things that ever happened to me is that I’m a woman. That is the way all females should feel.”

—Marilyn Monroe, actor

20. “My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice

21. “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, writer

22. “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”

—Charlotte Whitton, first woman mayor of a major Canadian city

23. “Women that believe in each other can survive anything. Women that believe in each other create armies that win kingdoms and win wars.”

—Nikita Gill, poet

24. “Once I learned to like me more than others did, then I didn't have to worry about being the funniest or the most popular or the prettiest. I was the best me and I only ever tried to be that."

—Issa Rae, writer, actress, CEO

25. “I am slightly offended by the way busy working women my age are presented in film. I’m not, like, always barking orders into my hands-free phone device and telling people constantly, 'I have no time for this!' I didn’t completely forget how to be nice and feminine because I have a career.”

—Mindy Kaling, writer and actress

Inspirational quotes by women about hard work and growth

26. “There are two kinds of people, those who do the work and those who take the credit. Try to be in the first group; there is less competition there.”

—Indira Gandhi, Former Prime Minister of India 

27. “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”

—Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

28. “Growth and comfort do not coexist.”

—Ginni Rometty, CEO

29. “Ignore the glass ceiling and do your work. If you’re focusing on the glass ceiling, focusing on what you don’t have, focusing on the limitations, then you will be limited.”

—Ava DuVernay, filmmaker

30. “Be an amateur. Not everything you do has to be good, especially at first.”

—Ann Handley, writer

31. “If you’re not making some notable mistakes along the way, you’re certainly not taking enough business and career chances.”

—Sallie Krawcheck, CEO

32. “Bring your whole self to the experience. Because the more we do that, the more that people get to see that, the more comfortable everybody's gonna be with it."

—Bozoma Saint John, businesswoman

Read more: 25 Quotes About Hard Work from Hard-Working Women

Inspirational quotes by women about success

33. “I never dreamt of success. I worked for it.”

—Estée Lauder, businesswoman

34. “Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”

—Coco Chanel, fashion designer

35. “It’s not as if I sit back and watch things fly onto my plate. I went for a lot of the things. Success doesn’t happen by waiting for things to happen because there are other people who are hungry. The early bird catches the worm.”

—Heidi Klum, model

36. “Success isn’t about how much money you make. It’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.”

—Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

37. “We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes—understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.”

—Arianna Huffington, CEO

Read more: 32 Powerful and Empowering Michelle Obama Quotes

Inspirational quotes by women about strength

38. “You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”

—Sheryl Sandberg, tech executive

39. “Strong women don't have 'attitudes,' we have standards.”

—Marilyn Monroe, actress

40. “Women are like teabags. We don’t know our true strength until we are in hot water.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt, Former First Lady of the United States

41. “Women hold up half the sky.”

—Chinese proverb

42. “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”

—Malala Yousafzai, activist

43. “A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink.”

—Gina Carey, filmmaker and musical artist

Inspirational quotes about using your voice as a woman

44. “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”

—Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress

45. “In a word that wants women to whisper, I choose to yell.”

—Luvvie Ajayi, author

46. “A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman. But the search to find that voice can be remarkably difficult.”

—Melinda Gates, philanthropist

47. “Lean in, speak out, have a voice in your organization, and never use the word, ‘sorry’.”

—Trish Bertuzzi, CEO

48. “I raise up my voice - not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard… We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.”

—Malala Yousafzai, activist

49. “I encourage women to step up. Don’t wait for somebody to ask you.”

—Reese Witherspoon, actress

50. “If you’re afraid to use your voice, give up your seat at the table.”

—Michelle Obama, Former First Lady of the United States

Read more: Quotes from Badass Women on How Awesome Women Are

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