South Jersey Alice Paul NOW

Quotations from Women

I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction.
Most reforms, most problems are complicated.
But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.

Alice Paul quoted in American Heritage

There's no question in my mind but that rights are never won
unless people are willing to fight for them.

Eleanor Smeal, 1985 speech to National Press Club

When you put your hand to the plow, you can't put it down
until you get to the end of the row.

Alice Paul

To have and not to give is often worse than to steal.
Marie von Ebner Eschenbach, Amorphisms (1893)

There is an ordinary proverb for this:
"Stinginess does not enrich; charity does not impoverish."

Gluckel of Hameln, Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln (1724)

It's the most unhappy people who most fear change.
Mignon Mclaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook (1966)

Come, come my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles,
and see that the world is moving.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The Woman's Bible

We are all born charming, frank, and spontaneous
and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.

Judith Martin, Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior (1982)

The test of a civilization is in the way that it cares for its helpless members.
Pearl S. Buck, My Several Worlds (1954)

Benevolent patriarchy is still patriarchy.
Elizabeth A. Johnson, She Who Is (1993)

Even if I do not see the fruits, the struggle has been worthwhile.
If my life has taught me anything, it is that one must fight.

Ella Winter, And Not to Yield (1963)

If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room.
Lorraine Teel, in Minnesota Women's Press (1996)

Our struggle today is not to have a female Einstein
get appointed as an assistant professor.
It is for a woman schlemiel to get as quickly promoted
as a male schlemiel.

Bella Abzug

You don't manage people; you manage things. You lead people.
Admiral Grace Hopper

In youth we learn; in age we understand.
Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman,
but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.

Dorothy L. Sayers, Clouds of Witness

[U.S. politics] is a beautiful fraud that has been imposed on the people for years,
whose practitioners exchange gelded promises for the most valuable thing
their victims own, their votes.

Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed

The best religion is the most tolerant.
Mme. de Girardin

I praise loudly; I blame softly.
Catherine II of Russia

We are valued either too highly or not high enough;
we are never taken at our real worth.

Marie Ebner-Eschenbach

The most mediocre of males feels himself a demigod as compared with women.
Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex

Men, their rights and nothing more;
women, their rights and nothing less.

Susan B. Anthony

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Many women do not recognize themselves as discriminated against;
no better proof could be found of the totality of their conditioning.

Kate Millett, Sexual Politics

On the road to equality there is no better place for blacks to detour around
American values than in foregoing its example in the treatment of its women
and the organization of its family life.

Eleanor Holmes Norton, quoted in Sisterhood is Powerful

The dogma of woman's complete historical subjection to men must be rated
as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind.

Mary Ritter Beard, Woman as a Force in History

Whatever women must do they must do twice as well as men
to be thought half as good.
Luckily, this is not difficult.

attributed to Charlotte Whitton, Mayor of Ottawa

Women are the cowards they are because they have been semi-slaves for so long.
Doris Lessing, A Small Personal Voice

Whether women are better than men I cannot say --
but I can say they are certainly no worse.

Golda Meir

Until economic freedom is attained for everybody,
there can be no real freedom for anybody.

Suzanne LaFollette, Concerning Women

Who ever walked behind anyone to freedom?
If we can't go hand in hand, I don't want to go.

Hazel Scott quoted in Ms.

Things which matter cost money, and we've got to spend the money
if we do not want to have generations of parasites
rather than generations of citizens.

Barbara Jordan, I Dream a World

As far as I'm concerned, being any gender is a drag.
Patti Smith in The Women Say

Young boys plan for what they will achieve and attain,
young girls plan for whom they will achieve and attain ...

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics

Men fear women's strength.
Anais Nin, Diary volume 3

A man has to be called Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless.
All a woman has to do is put you on hold.

Marlo Thomas quoted in Ms.

The grim possibility is that she who "hides her brains" will, more than likely,
end up with a mate who is only equal to a woman with "hidden brains"
or none at all.

Lorraine Hansberry, "In Defense of the Equality of Men"
in The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women

My purpose in this book has been to give rape its history.
Now we must deny it a future.

Susan Brownmiller, Against Our Will

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won't cure,
but I don't know many of them.

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

No woman can call herself free who does not own and control her body.
No woman can call herself free until she can choose consciously
whether she will or will not be a mother.

Margaret Sanger

So long has the myth of feminine inferiority prevailed
that women themselves find it hard to believe that their own sex was once
and for a very long time the superior and dominant sex.
In order to restore women to their ancient dignity and pride,
they must be taught their own history,
as the American blacks are being taught theirs.

Elizabeth Gould Davis, The First Sex

Walk the street with us into history. Get off the sidewalk.
Dolores Huerta

When you make a world tolerable for yourself
you make a world tolerable for others.

Anais Nin, Diary volume V

The biggest sin is sitting on your ass.
Florynce Kennedy, quoted in Ms. 1973

I have a simple philosophy. Fill what's empty. Empty what's full.
And scratch where it itches.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth

A woman obsessed with her body is also obsessed
with the limitations of her emotional life.

Kim Chernin, The Obsession

When we hear jokes against women, and we are asked why we don't laugh at them,
the answer is easy, simple, and short.
Of course we're not laughing, you asshole.
Nobody laughs at the sight of their own blood.

Naomi Weisstein, All She Needs

I truly feel that there are as many ways of loving
as there are people in the world
and as there are days in the lives of those people.

Dr. Mary Calderone, quoted in Ms. 1979

Two persons love in one another the future good which they aid one another to unfold.
Margaret Fuller, "The Great Lawsuit"

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing --
and then marry him.


The only thing that seems eternal and natural in motherhood is ambivalence.
Jane Lazarre, The Mother Knot

A mother starts out as the most important person in her child's world
and if she's successful in her work, she will eventually become the stupidest.

Mary Kay Blakely writing in Lear's 1989

If women ruled the world and we all got massages,
there would be no war.

Carrie Snow, quoted in Ms. 1989

Small use it will be to save democracy for the race
if we cannot save the race for democracy.

Jeannette Rankin

We have to face the fact that either all of us are going to die together
or we are going to learn to live together
and if we are to live together we have to talk.

Eleanor Roosevelt

You cannot shake hands with a clenched fist.
Indira Gandhi

Hard times ain't quit and we ain't quit.
Meridel Le Sueur, Salute to Spring

We must do the things we think we cannot do.
Eleanor Roosevelt

Any woman who has a great deal to offer the world is in trouble.
And if she's a black woman, she's in deep trouble.

Hazel Scott quoted in Ms.

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got.
Betty Ford

No longer will [women] agree to protect the hearth
at the price of extinguishing the fire within ourselves.

Celia Gilbert quoted in Working It Out

Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent,
hard-working, honest Americans.
It's the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity.
But then we elected them.

Lily Tomlin

If these great men must have outdoor memorials
let them be in the form of handsome blocks of buildings for the poor.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Diary

I cannot and will not cut my conscience
to fit this year's fashions.

Lillian Hellman

Today's shocks are tomorrow's conventions.
Carolyn Heilbrun, Toward a Recognition of Androgyny

Sometimes, it's like a hair across your cheek. You can't see it,
you can't find it with your fingers, but you keep brushing at it
because the feel of it is irritating.

Marian Anderson on prejudice

There is nowhere you can go and only be with people who are like you.
Give it up.

Bernice Johnson Reagon quoted in Home Girls

My friends are my estate.
Emily Dickinson, Letters

Those who trust us educate us.
George Eliot

The woman who endangers the patriarchy is the woman whose love for others
grows from her love for herself.

Karen Lindsey quoted in The Women Say/The Men Say

Reformers must expect to be disowned by those who are only too happy
to enjoy what has been won for them.

Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Being a lesbian is by definition an act of treason against our cultural values.
Juanita Ramos, Companeras

Revolution begins with the self, in the self.
Toni Cade Bambara, The Black Woman

There will never be a new world order
until women are a part of it.

Alice Paul quoted in Washington Post1977

It is not true that life is one damn thing after another --
it's one damn thing over and over.

Edna Saint Vincent Millay, Letters

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win,
you're still a rat.

Lily Tomlin

As a woman I have no country ...
As a woman my country is the whole world.

Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas

It is a hidden fear that somehow, if they are only given a chance,
women will suddenly do as they have been done by.

Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes

This is a time in history when women's voices must be heard,
or forever be silenced. It's not because we think better than men,
but we think differently. It's not women against men, but women and men.
It's not that the world would have been better if women had run it,
but that the world will be better when we as women,
who bring our own perspective, share in running it.

Betty Bumpers, 1985 conference speech

Tremendous amounts of talent are being lost to our society
just because that talent wears a skirt.

Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed

Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did,
but she did it backwards and in high heels.

Faith Whittlesey

People who make some other person their job are dangerous.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night

It takes a lot of courage to show your dreams to someone else.
Erma Bombeck

My weight is always perfect for my height--which varies.
Nicole Hollander

The more immoral we become in big ways,
the more puritanical we become in little ways.

Florence King, writer & satirist

Don't let anything stop you.
There will be times when you'll be disappointed, but you can't stop.

Sadie Mossell Alexander, lawyer, activist

Old age ain't no place for sissies.
Bette Davis

It doesn't matter who you are, (or) where you came from.
The ability to triumph begins with you. ALWAYS.

Oprah Winfrey