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  1. Blog
  2. Women to Know

50 Independent Women Quotes to Celebrate Your Strong Self

Make your own yeses

independent women quotes image of woman walking
Photo courtesy of Max Avans

It’s been 20 years since Destiny’s Child gave us the empowering “Independent Women Part 1” anthem, and I’m still blasting it when I need a pick-me-up. 

Besides the entire lyrics to that song, these 40 quotes about independent women are also perfect when you need to remind yourself how amazing you are, get motivated to kick some you-know-what, or send love to a friend or colleague

The best independent women quotes on work and accomplishment

“I’m not going to continue knocking that old door that doesn’t open for me. I’m going to create my own door and walk through that.”

—Ava Duvernay, writer, producer, director, filmmaker 

“I found that every time I asked for permission the answer tended to be no, so I had to make my own yeses.”

—Issa Rae, producer, writer, director, actress

"I don't have to prove anything to anyone. I only have to follow my heart and concentrate on what I want to say to the world. I run my world."

Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, singer, songwriter, actress

“How does a queen bee behave? However she wants to. But please don’t wait for someone to hold the door open for you when your arms work perfectly fine—do it yourself.”

—Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO

“You have to believe in yourself when no one else does.”

—Serena Williams, professional tennis player

“I’m here. I’m present. I’m a contributor to society. I deserve to be part of this conversation. I have an opinion. Listen to me roar.”

—Gina Rodriguez-LoCicero, producer, actress

“Write your own part. It is the only way I’ve gotten anywhere. It’s much harder work, but sometimes you have to take destiny into your own hands.”

Mindy Kaling, writer, producer, actress

"I've always had a problem with authority. That's why I had to be my own boss."

—Chelsea Handler, comedian, writer, producer, actress

“The question isn’t who is going to let me. It’s who is going to stop me.”

—Ayn Rand, author, philosopher 

“I’ve had a lot of voices tell me what I should be making. Personally, I would much rather live and die by my own hand. If my stuff sucks, then at least I made it suck. I didn’t allow some person, some old dude in a suit, to make it suck for me.”

—Zendaya, actress, singer

“I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.”

—Simone Biles, gymnast

“Some women choose to follow men and some women choose to follow their dreams. If you’re wondering which way to go, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you that it doesn’t love you anymore.”

—Lady Gaga, singer, songwriter, actress

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

—Carol Burnett, comedian, actress, singer, writer

Read more: Daily Affirmations for Women

The best independent women quotes on failure and resilience

“Your ability to adapt to failure, and navigate your way out of it, absolutely 100 percent makes you who you are.”

Viola Davis, actress

“Even when you have doubts, take that step. Take chances. Mistakes are never a failure – they can be turned into wisdom.”

Cat Cora, professional chef

“Women, like men, should try to do the impossible, and when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.”

Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer

“I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.”

Emma Watson, actress, activist

“The phoenix must burn to emerge.”

Janet Fitch, author

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

Carly Simon, singer, songwriter

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

Oprah Winfrey, TV show host, producer, actress, author

The best independent women quotes on identity and freedom

"There is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind."

—Virginia Woolf, writer

“I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.”

—bell hooks, author, professor, feminist, social activist

“The woman who doesn’t require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.”

—Mohadesa Najumi, writer, social scientist

“You’re going to walk into many rooms where you may be the only one who looks like you or who has had the experiences you’ve had. So you use that voice and be strong.”

—Kamala Harris, 49th Vice President of the United States

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

—Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“One of the most important things for any leader is to never let anyone else define who you are. And you define who you are. I never think of myself as being a woman CEO of this company. I think of myself as a steward of a great institution.”

—Ginni Rometty, former chairman, president, and CEO of IBM

"When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example."

—Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

“I don’t care what you think about me. I don’t think about you at all.”

—Coco Chanel, fashion designer

"I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me." 

—Tracee Ellis Ross, actress

“Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one. You cannot make any useful contribution in life unless you do this.”

—Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States, activist

"I am a woman with thoughts and questions and shit to say. I say if I'm beautiful. I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story—I will."

—Amy Schumer, comedian, writer, actress

“Figure out who you are separate from your family, and the man or woman you’re in a relationship with. Find who you are in this world and what you need to feel good alone. I think that’s the most important thing in life. Find a sense of self. With that, you can do anything else.”

—Angelina Jolie, actress, filmmaker, humanitarian

“Be a first-rate version of yourself, not a second-rate version of someone else.”

—Judy Garland, actress, singer, dancer

"Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it."

—Brené Brown, researcher, professor, author

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

—Nora Ephron, journalist, writer, filmmaker 

"I have a confidence about my life that comes from standing tall on my own two feet." 

—Jane Fonda, actress, activist

The best independent women quotes on healing and happiness

“No one can heal you. You must learn to be your own company, your own cure. You cannot retreat into someone else for fulfillment.”

―Janet Mock, writer, director, producer, transgender rights activist 

“Don't wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you've got to make yourself."

—Alice Walker, novelist, short story writer, poet, social activist

“You are the one that possesses the keys to your being. You carry the passport to your own happiness.”

—Diane von Fürstenberg, fashion designer

“I am too intelligent, too demanding, and too resourceful for anyone to be able to take charge of me entirely. No one knows me or loves me completely. I have only myself.”

—Simone de Beauvoir, writer, philosopher, activist

“You’re the only one that’s in control of your emotions; you’re the only one that’s inside of you at all times. So control you however you want to. If you’re not happy, that’s your fault.”

—Tiffany Haddish, comedian, writer, actress

"I'll never harden my heart, but I've toughened the muscles around it." 

Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter

The best funny independent women quotes 

“I am a strong woman with or without this other person, with or without this job, and with or without these tight pants.”

—Queen Latifah, actress, rapper, producer

“If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.”

—Katharine Hepburn, actress

“I've been single for a while and I have to say, it's going very well.'s working out. I think I'm the one.”

—Emily Heller, comedian, writer, producer

The best Michelle Obama independent women quotes (because she gets it)

"We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to-do' list.” 

“Our first job in life as women is to get to know ourselves. I think a lot of times we don’t do that. We spend our time pleasing, satisfying, looking out into the world to define who we are; listening to the messages, the images, the limited definitions that people have of who we are.”

“I have learned that as long as I hold fast to my beliefs and values. and follow my own moral compass, then the only expectations I need to live up to are my own.” 

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

The best independent women quote to say to yourself every day

“You are your best thing.”

—Toni Morrison, novelist, essayist, editor, professor

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