Mitchell Wellman | Special to USA TODAY
Editor’s note: This list was originally published on USA TODAY in 2017.
In honor of some of the world’s most famous women and some of their most famous quotes, we’ve rounded up the best, most relevant statements by the wisest women in the world, young and old, living and dead.
Their words certainly rang true when they said them. But in 2021, with the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic, political strife and social justice issues, the words of these powerful women seem more powerful than ever.
From Madeleine Albright to Malala Yousafzai to Michelle Obama, here are 14 quotes that stand the test of time:
COURAGE AND VOICE
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.” — Madeleine Albright
2. “The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” — Coco Chanel
3. “We realize the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” — Malala Yousafzai
4. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
5. “One of the lessons I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody says distract you from your goals.” — Michelle Obama
TRUTH, KNOWLEDGE and MORALITY
6. “No matter how difficult and painful it may be, nothing sounds as good to the soul as the truth.” — Martha Beck
7. “If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.” — Margaret Fuller
8. “The art of behaving morally is behaving as if everything we do matters.” — Gloria Steinem
LOVE AND EMPATHY
9. “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” — Mother Teresa
10. “I learned compassion from being discriminated against. Everything bad that’s ever happened to me has taught me compassion.” — Ellen DeGeneres
11. “Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” — Lucille Ball
12. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
13. “We do not need magic to change the world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already. We have the power to imagine better.” — J.K. Rowling
14. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” — Margaret Mead
More quotes to know: