Today is Women's Equality Day, and whether you dedicate your life to protecting the rights of the marginalized or you feel immobilized by the rampant displays of injustice, we can all use some words of hope, unity, compassion, and courage to empower us further. But what does empowerment even mean, and why do we need to reach equality? Of course, different things empower different people.
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as giving "official authority or legal power to" someone or something, though I personally resonate more with the Oxford Dictionary's description of it as a "process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights." Alternatively, in the words of Marlo Thomas's 1972 campaign, empowerment simply means having the strength—not to be confused with power—to envision and actualize a world in which we are all safe and "free to be you and me" regardless of identity and lifestyle. What we're trying to say is that much like the fight for justice and the resistance against hate, true empowerment is a continual, evolving, and subjective process.
As unstable as it sounds, it's crucial to building communities of care as well as self-love. Don't get us wrong; we think it's equally essential to know the statistics that reveal just how deep these issues run. But as we mentioned before, today our initial goal is to celebrate women's empowerment by looking beyond ourselves and toward the thinkers and change makers whose words have the power to teach us, connect us, invigorate us, and fill us with hope and inspiration. Since they said it best, scroll through the 14 women's empowerment quotes below.
The way you tell your story to yourself matters.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
You see, we may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. It may even be necessary to encounter the defeat, so that we can know who we are. So that we can see, oh, that happened, and I rose.
Empowering Books for Girls:
Hopefulness empowers us to continue our work for justice even as the forces of injustice may gain great power for a time.
There's might too in the incomplete. In feeling fractional. A failure to carry out is perhaps no failure at all, but rather a minced metric of splendor. The ongoing. The outlawed. The no-patrol. The act of making loose. Of not doing as you've been told. … Endurance is a talent that seldom worries about looking good, and abiding has its virtues even when the tongue dries. The intention shouldn't only be to polish what we start but to acknowledge that beginning again and again can possess the acquisitive thrill of a countdown that never reaches zero.
Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.
I am sharing my truth and mine alone. … Here is my heart, what's left of it. Here I am showing you the ferocity of my hunger. Here I am, finally freeing myself to be vulnerable and terribly human. Here I am, reveling in that freedom. Here. See what I hunger for and what my truth has allowed me to create. … The older I get, the more I understand that life is generally the pursuit of desires. We want and want and oh how we want. We hunger.
Empowering Books for Women:
The road back from debilitating shame is neither linear nor paved for comfort. There are potholes long and wide. I won't ever be sure what made that man attack me, but I no longer believe it was because he saw something in me that spelled "weakness." I'm no longer buying into the idea that my behavior after that night makes me the right or wrong kind of victim. … I am more than the choice he made.
The moment of queer pride is a refusal to be shamed by witnessing the other as being ashamed of you.
The most anti-capitalist protest is to … take seriously each other's vulnerability and fragility and precarity, and to support it, honor it, empower it. To protect each other, to enact and practice community. A radical kinship, an interdependent sociality, a politics of care … sharing our stories of therapies and comforts, forming support groups, bearing witness to each other's tales of trauma, prioritizing the care and love of our sick, pained, expensive, sensitive, fantastic bodies.
What are your favorite women's empowerment quotes? Share your words of wisdom with us in the comments below.