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If you’re anything like me, then you’ll love motivational quotes. A good motivational quote is enough to spark inspiration, or to push you that little bit further when you’re tired and ready to quit.
But I’ve noticed that most lists of motivational quotes are incredibly male dominated.
Just 23 different women are featured in Forbes’ list of 100 motivational quotes – and that’s one of the good ones. I’ve come across lists that you have to scroll over half way through before you find a female voice.
But if you asked me to create a list of people who inspire me, the top 10 would likely be women. So I created my own list of motivational quotes, each one said by a woman. This list features 50 women, past and present, who inspire me in one way or another.
It features politicians, athletes, and activists. Actors, musicians, and producers. Women who have shown immense bravery in the face of adversity. Women who have fought their way to the top. And women who have overcome huge challenges to achieve great success.
Here are 50 Motivational Quotes from 50 Inspirational Women.
1. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.” – Oprah Winfrey, TV host, entrepreneur and producer.
2. “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” – Maya Angelou, American poet and civil rights activist.
3. “Change takes courage.” – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, American politician and the youngest ever woman to serve in the United States Congress.
4. “Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” – Carrie Fisher, American actress and writer.
5. “I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child—What do you want to be when you grow up? As if growing up is finite. As if at some point you become something and that’s the end.” – Michelle Obama, lawyer, writer, and former First Lady of the United States.
6. “It will always be relevant and always be inspiring to see somebody turning themselves into a warrior.” – Phoebe Waller Bridge, award winning actress, writer and producer.
7. “I’d rather regret the risk that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all.” – Simone Biles, third most decorated gymnast of all time.
8. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” – Marie Curie, ground breaking physicist and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.
9. “At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” – Frida Kahlo, 20th Century Mexican painter, often remembered as a feminist icon.
10. “To bring about change, you must not be afraid to take the first step. We will fail when we fail to try.” – Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist.
11. “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 and music producer.
12. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, American diplomat and activist, and former First Lady of the United States.
13. “I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank, one of the most well known victims of the Holocaust after her diary was published posthumously.
14. “I would rather die a meaningful death than to live a meaningless life.” – Corazon Aquino, first female President of the Philippines.
15. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” – Helen Keller, American author and activist who became the first deaf and blind person to earn a BA degree in 1904.
16. “I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.” – Florence Nightingale, statistician and the founder of modern nursing.
17. “Women, like men, should try to do the impossible. And when they fail, their failure should be a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart, world famous pilot and the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
18. “It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going that counts.” – Ella Fitzgerald, American Jazz singer and 13 time Grammy award winner.
19. “If one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?” – Malala Yousafzai, activist for girls’ education and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.
20. “With a defeat, when you lose, you get up, you make it better, you try again. That’s what I do in life, when I get down, when I get sick, I don’t want to just stop. I keep going and I try to do more.” – Serena Williams, American tennis player and winner of 23 Grand Slam titles.
21. “Girls should never be afraid to be smart.” – Emma Watson, British actress and activist.
22. “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anybody but oneself.” – Virginia Woolf, ground breaking 20th Century novelist.
23. “Actions today mould our tomorrows.” – Indira Gandhi, first female Prime Minister of India.
24. “If you’re feeling helpless, help someone.” – Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese politician and Nobel Peace Prize winner.
25. “Sexy and smart are not oil and water. You don’t have to dumb yourself down to be cute.” – Pink, American singer and feminist icon.
26. “Surround yourself with people and things that inspire you. Learn everything you can.” – Jameela Jamil, British actress and activist.
27. “The energy you’ll expend focusing on someone else’s life is better spent working on your own. Just be your own idol.” – Sophia Amoruso, founder of Nasty Gal.
28. “I learned that you go through things, you deal with them and that’s what empowers you and ultimately makes you a happy person.” – Demi Lovato, American singer and activist.
29. “You have to do what you dream of doing even while you’re afraid.” – Arianna Huffington, author and co-founder of The Huffington Post.
30. “Many people say I’m the best women’s soccer player in the world. I don’t think so. And because of that, someday I just might be.” – Mia Hamm, two time Olympic gold medalist and two time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner.
31. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott, author of the novel Little Women.
32. “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.” – Shonda Rhimes, American writer and producer.
33. “When we really delve into the reasons for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future.” – Marie Kondo, best selling author of The Life Changing Magic of Tidying.
34. “I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.” – Queen Elizabeth I, in her Speech to the Troops at Tilbury.
35. “This life is what you make it. No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes, it’s a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you’re going to mess it up.” – Marilyn Monroe, American actress, model and singer.
36. “Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King, former World No.1 tennis player who famously defeated Bobby Riggs in a match after he claimed that female tennis players were inferior.
37. “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.” – Queen Elizabeth II, longest reigning British monarch after becoming Queen of England at age 25.
38. “Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.” – Sophie Scholl, leader of a non-violent, anti-Nazi resistance group, and executed by the Nazis at age 21.
39. “I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keefe, American artist and a pioneer of American modernism.
40. “The hard days are what make you stronger.” – Aly Raisman, two time Olympic gymnast.
41. “I don’t regret any of the life decisions I’ve made in my life because with every choice I’ve made I’ve learned something new.” – Ariana Grande, Spotify’s 4th most streamed artist of the decade.
42. “You just gotta keep going and fighting for everything, and one day you’ll get to where you want.” – Naomi Osaka, two time Grand Slam winner and the first Asian tennis player to be ranked No.1 in the world.
43. “I just knew if it could be done, it had to be done, and I did it.” – Gertrude Ederle, Olympic swimmer and the first woman to swim across the Channel, breaking the men’s record in doing so.
44. “Power’s not given to you. You have to take it.” – Beyoncé Knowles Carter, American singer, songwriter and record producer.
45. “Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” – Hillary Clinton, American politician, diplomat and lawyer.
46. “Say yes, and you’ll figure it out afterward” – Tina Fey, actress, comedian, writer, producer, and playwright.
47. “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker, American author, poet and social activist.
48. “We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change.” – Katharine Hepburn, American stage and film actress.
49. “I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.” – Estée Lauder, American businesswoman.
50. “The more things you do, the more you can do.” – Lucille Ball, American actress, comedian, model and producer.
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