International Women’s Day (IWD) is a globally recognized holiday celebrated annually on March 8 in commemoration of women’s cultural, socioeconomic, and political achievements. IWD is a special occasion to recognize women who’ve shattered the proverbial glass ceiling. It’s also a day to pause and take stock of the instrumental roles that women play in shaping society and making the world a better place.
International Women’s Day is one of the only few dates in the global calendar where women across the world can have uncensored discussions on the scourge of gender inequality. Other pertinent gender-based issues like reproductive rights and violence against women also dominate discussions on IWD.
Perhaps we should emphasize that there’s never a right time to celebrate amazing women in our life. However, International Women’s Day gives us an extra reason to recognize their achievements as we raise awareness of a wide spectrum of gender-based issues.
History of International Women’s Day
According to the International Women’s Day online portal, this holiday traces its history back to the early 1900s.
By 1908, women in various parts of the world were already actively agitating for better gender parity and less oppressive working conditions. Around the same time, some 15,000 women took to New York City streets demanding voting rights and a raft of favorable labor rights, including better pay and shorter working hours. In 1909, the Socialist Party of America declared the first National Women’s Day in the United States.
However, the idea of International Women’s Day didn’t take off immediately. In 1910, a woman named Clara Zetkin suggested the idea of IWD at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. The conference was graced by at least 100 women from 17 countries, all of whom agreed to support Zetkin’s idea.
International Women’s Day as we know it today was first celebrated in 1911 in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Denmark. The day was officially recognized by the United Nations (UN) in 1975. By 2014, over 100 countries were celebrating International Women’s Day, with more than 25 countries having made the day an official holiday.
Every year, the International Women’s Day organization sets a theme that highlights a specific cause affecting women across the globe. The organization then attempts to rally women around that cause. Although accelerated gender parity dominates nearly all IWD celebrations, the day is normally a flurry of other feminist activities, including fundraising towards female-focused charities.
One of the top ways to shine a light on incredible women on International Women’s Day is by dedicating them a befitting quote. We’ve rounded up the most empowering and uplifting quotes to help you celebrate that amazing woman in your life on IWD.
45 Best International Women’s Day Quotes
1. A charming woman doesn’t follow the crowd; she is herself ~ Loretta Young
2. A girl should be two things: Who and what she wants ~ Coco Chanel
3. A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. A woman must do what he can’t ~ Rhonda Hansome
4. A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink ~ Gina Carey
5. A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her ~ Anonymous
6. A woman is like a tea bag: You can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
7. A woman with a voice is, by definition, a strong woman ~ Melinda Gates
8. Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress ~ Kiera Cass
9. Empowering women isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do ~ Barack Obama
10. Every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another. We’re strongest when we cheer each other on ~ Serena Williams
11. Extremists have shown what frightens them most; a girl with a book ~ Malala Yousafzai
12. Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength ~ G.D. Anderson
13. How wrong it is for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants rather than to create it herself ~ Anais Nin
14. If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun ~ Katherine Hepburn
15. If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman ~ Margaret Thatcher
16. Life is tough, my darling, but so are you ~ Stephanie Bennett-Henry
17. Little girls with dreams become women with vision ~ Anonymous
18. Look at history, look at who are our most beautiful, iconic women in the world and they’re all different shapes and sizes and colors and heights. It doesn’t matter what measurement is around our thigh, it matters what you put out into the world ~ Sophia Bush
19. My world did not shrink because I was a black female writer. It just got bigger ~ Toni Morrison
20. No woman should be told she can’t make decisions about her own body. When women’s rights are under attack, we fight back ~ Kamala Harris
21. Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect based on ability ~ Sandra Day O’Connor
22. Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry ~ Gloria Steinem
23. Sometimes it takes balls to be a woman ~ Anonymous
24. Sometimes it’s the princess who kills the dragon and saves the prince ~ Samuel Lowe
25. The best protection any woman can have is courage ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton
26. The question isn’t who’s going to let me; it’s who’s going to stop me ~ Ayn Rand
27. The standard for judging the sexes is no longer what lies in between the thighs and above the knees; rather, it’s what lies in between the ears and above the neck ~ Anonymous
28. The strongest actions for a woman is to love herself, be herself and shine amongst those who never believed she could ~ Anonymous
29. The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up ~ Serena Williams
30. There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise ~ W.E.B. Dubois
31. There’s no evidence whatsoever that men are more rational than women. Both sexes seem to be equally irrational ~ Albert Ellis
32. There’s something so 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
33. Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping-stone to greatness ~ Oprah Winfrey
34. To tell a woman everything she cannot do is to tell her what she can ~ Spanish Proverb
35. We need to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves. We have to step up as women and take the lead ~ Beyoncé
36. We need women at all levels, including the top, to change the dynamic, reshape the conversation, to make sure women’s voices are heard and heeded, not overlooked and ignored ~ Sheryl Sandberg
37. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced ~ Malala Yousafzai
38. Well-behaved women rarely make history ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
39. What’s the greatest lesson a woman should learn? That since day one, she’s already had everything she needs within herself. It’s the world that convinced her she did not ~ Rupi Kaur
40. Where there is a woman, there is magic ~ Maya Angelou
41. Whether women are better than men I cannot say; but I can say they are certainly no worse ~ Golda Meir
42. Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world ~ Hillary Clinton
43. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others ~ Amelia Earhart
44. Women will no longer have to work twice as men, only to be deemed half qualified ~ Anonymous
45. You cannot be broken because you are a diamond, tougher than nails and a jewel in the rough ~ Anonymous
While International Women’s Day is an annual event, you can celebrate amazing women in your life every day by sending them any of the above IWD quotes.
A short, uplifting International Women’s Day quote may go a long way in boosting a woman’s positive energy and helping her push forward with a renewed sense of determination.