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  1. Blog
  2. Women to Know
  3. Last updated April 11, 2024

24 Madeleine Albright Quotes to Inspire You Take on the World

*Matthew McConaughey voice* Albright, Albright, Albright

Madeleine Albright

A political powerhouse, a UN ambassador, the first woman to serve as the U.S. Secretary of State—Madeleine Albright is one of the most respected women in our country’s history.

Born on May 15, 1937, in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic), Albright's life journey was marked by resilience, intellect, and a commitment to diplomacy. Fleeing from the Nazis during World War II, her family sought refuge in the United States.

Albright's career trajectory was nothing short of remarkable. Armed with a sharp intellect and a passion for international relations, she earned a Ph.D. in public law and government from Columbia University. Her academic pursuits laid the groundwork for a distinguished career that saw her serve in various capacities within the U.S. government, including as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations under President Bill Clinton. However, it was her tenure as Secretary of State from 1997 to 2001 that truly solidified her legacy as a trailblazer in diplomacy. Her upbringing was tumultuous, but Albright used it as motivation—and her Presidential Medal of Freedom proves that it worked pretty well.

Her leadership was marked by a commitment to promoting democracy, human rights, and peace across the globe. Albright's influence extended far beyond the borders of the United States, as she played a pivotal role in shaping international relations during a pivotal period in history. Even after leaving office, Albright remained a prominent voice on global affairs, advocating for diplomacy and collaboration as essential tools for addressing the world's most pressing challenges.

A woman known for her bold opinions, outspoken nature, and wide variety of pins and brooches, Albright not only knows how to inspire, but also how to accessorize. Here are some of the most well-known quotes from one of our country’s most admired women.

Read more: 32 Powerful & Empowering Michelle Obama Quotes

21 Madeleine Albright quotes to inspire you to take on the world

  1. “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”

  2. “I do believe that in order to be a successful negotiator that as a diplomat, you have to be able to put yourself into the other person's shoes. Unless you can understand what is motivating them, you are never going to be able to figure out how to solve a particular problem.”

  3. “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women."

  4. “I have said this many times, that there seems to be enough room in the world for mediocre men, but not for mediocre women, and we really have to work very, very hard.”

  5. “Women have to be active listeners and interrupters—but when you interrupt, you have to know what you are talking about.”

Read more: 22 Women in Politics Who Fought to Make Better Workplaces for Women

  1. “Life is grim, and we don't have to be grim all the time.”

  2. “I have had fun being who I became, so to speak.”

  3. “The difference between humans and other mammals is that we know how to accessorize.”

  4. “I think women want to take care of themselves, and I think having a voice in how that is done is very important.”

  5. “So people are talking about revolution. What a revolution it would be to have a woman president.”

Read more: 9 Mantras of Successful Working Women We Can All Live By

  1. “I really think that there was a great advantage in many ways to being a woman. I think we are a lot better at personal relationships, and then have the capability obviously of telling it like it is when it's necessary.”

  2. “I was taught to strive not because there were any guarantees of success but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life.”

  3. “The main thing is to remain oneself, under any circumstances; that was and is our common purpose.”

  4. “I am not a fatalist. I have just been reading War and Peace and Tolstoy is such a fatalist. I think people can make a difference...I am an optimist who worries a lot.”

  5. “The reason I made women's issues central to American foreign policy, was not because I was a feminist, but because we know that societies are more stable if women are politically and economically empowered.”

  6. “I really do think about the fact that every day counts. I believe that every individual counts, and so I believe that every day counts and I try not to waste it.”

  7. “Whatever the job you are asked to do at whatever level, do a good job because your reputation is your resume.”

Read more: 22 Oprah Winfrey Quotes About Building the Life You Want

  1. “There was a poem in the papers in Baghdad comparing me to many things but among them an unparalleled serpent. So I had a snake pin. I wore it anytime we talked about Iraq. The press kind of picked it up. I thought this was fun so I went out and got a lot of costume jewelry to depict whatever we were going to do on any given day. On good days I wore flowers and butterflies and balloons and on bad days I wore carnivores, animals, spiders, and things. The other ambassadors wanted to know what we were going to do and I said read my pins.”

  2. “Politics is not—politician is not—a bad word. Involvement is the important part.”

  3. “In order to get through a lot of complicated issues, it helps to have a little bit of humor.”

  4. “There will be those who perceive you’re [a b*tch]. But you have to interrupt. At a certain stage you realize it doesn’t matter what they call you. You have to overcome your personal qualms.”

  5. “I love being a woman and I was not one of these women who rose through professional life by wearing men's clothes or looking masculine. I loved wearing bright colors and being who I am.”
  6. “Our collective experience has shown that when women have the power to make their own choices, good things happen.”
  7. “The real question is: who has the responsibility to uphold human rights? The answer to that is everyone.”

Read more: 34 Zendaya Quotes on Confidence & Authenticity

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