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Equality

  • [My father and his friends] believed in equality for women without troubling to acquire the basic domestic skills which would have made that equality possible.

  • I am not belittling the brave pioneer men, but the sunbonnet as well as the sombrero has helped to settle this glorious land of ours.

  • I do not think everyone is created equal. In fact, I know they're not. [The Constitution] means that everyone should have the same laws as everyone else. It doesn't mean that everyone's as smart or as cute or as lucky as everyone else.

  • The history of men's opposition to women's emancipation is more interesting perhaps than the story of that emancipation itself.

  • Equality is an unconscious assumption, and if you feel you are treating someone as an equal, then you are not doing it.

  • You mix the affluence of the white and the poverty of the black and you do not get a civilized society. Integration on an equal level is one thing. Mixing on an unequal level is another.

  • If you deny any affinity with another person or kind of person, if you declare it to be wholly different from yourself — as men have done to women, and class has done to class, and nation has done to nation — you may hate it or deify it; but in either case you have denied its spiritual equality and its human reality. You have made it into a thing, to which the only possible relationship is a power relationship. And thus you have fatally impoverished your own reality.

  • The civilization of any country may always be measured by the degree of equality between men and women; and society will never come truly into order until there is perfect equality and copartnership between them in every department of human life.

  • Equality! Where is it, if not in education? Equal rights! They cannot exist without equality of instruction.

  • Surely, if life is good, it is good throughout its substance; we cannot separate men's activities from women's and say, these are worthy of praise and these unworthy ...

    • Winifred Holtby,
    • "Nurse to the Archbishop" (1931), Truth Is Not Sober ()
  • 'A woman is as good as a man' is as meaningless as to say, 'a Kaffir is as good as a Frenchman' or 'a poet is as good as an engineer' or 'an elephant is as good as a racehorse' — it means nothing whatever until you add: 'at doing what?'

  • Traditionally, in american society, it is the members of oppressed, objectified groups who are expected to stretch out and bridge the gap between the actualities of our lives and the consciousness of our oppressor. For in order to survive, those of us for whom oppression is as american as apple pie have always had to be watchers, to become familiar with the language and manners of the oppressor, even sometimes adopting them for some illusion of protection. Whenever the need for some pretense of communication arises, those who profit from our oppression call upon us to share our knowledge with them. In other words, it is the responsibility of the oppressed to teach the oppressors their mistakes.

    • Audre Lorde,
    • "Age, Race, Class, and Sex," speech (1980), Sister Outsider ()
  • ... the public sphere is as consistently based on the law of equality as the private sphere is based on the law of universal difference and differentiation. Equality, in contrast to all that is involved in mere existence, is not given us, but is the result of human organization insofar as it is guided by the principle of justice. We are not born equal; we become equal as members of a group on the strength of our decision to guarantee ourselves mutually equal rights.

  • Women really must have equal pay for equal work, equality in work at home, and reproductive choices. Men must press for these things also. They must cease to see them as 'women's issues' and learn that they are everybody's issues — essential to survival on planet Earth.

  • We've learned that women can and should do 'men's jobs,' for instance, and we've won the principle (if not the fact) of getting equal pay. But we haven't yet established the principle (much less the fact) that men can and should do 'women's jobs': that homemaking and child-rearing are as much a man's responsibility, too, and that those jobs in which women are concentrated outside the home would probably be better paid if more men became secretaries, file clerks, and nurses, too.

  • ... many of us have raised our daughters more like our sons, but too few have raised our sons more like our daughters.

  • In the last 25 years, we've convinced ourselves and a majority of the country that women can do what men can do. Now we have to convince the majority of the country — and ourselves — that men can do what women can do. ... Let's face it: until men are fully equal inside the home, women will never be really equal outside it.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • "Revving Up for the Next Twenty-Five Years," in Ms. ()
  • To get that word, male, out of the Constitution, cost the women of this country fifty-two years of pauseless campaign; 56 state referendum campaigns; 480 legislative campaigns to get state suffrage amendments submitted; 47 state constitutional convention campaigns; 277 state party convention campaigns; 30 national party convention campaigns to get suffrage planks in the party platforms; 19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses to get the federal amendment submitted, and the final ratification campaign.

  • In the gates of eternity the black hand and the white hand hold each other with equal clasp ...

  • All men are free and equal in the grave, if it comes to that ...

  • I believe that if a man does a job as well as a woman, he should be paid as much.

    • Celeste Holm,
    • in Sandra Lee Jackson, Past and Promise ()
  • I scarcely remember any writer who has ever ventured to say that the half of the work of the world is actually accomplished by women; and very few husbands who would be otherwise than greatly startled and amazed, if not indignant, if not derisive, at the suggestion of such an idea as that the work of their wives was equal to their own.

  • ... I took Josiah out to one side, and says I, 'Josiah Allen, if Tirzah Ann is to be brought up to think that marriage is the chief aim of her life, Thomas J. shall be brought up to think that marriage is his chief aim.' Says I, 'it looks just as flat in a woman, as it does in a man.'

  • It is enough to make anybody's blood bile in thier vains to think how different sin is looked upon in a man and woman. I say sin is sin, and you can't make goodness out of it by parsin' it in the masculine gender, no more'n you can by parsin' it in the feminine or neutral.

  • ... I have brought him [my son] up to think that purity and virtue are both masculine and femanine gender, and that God's angels are not necessarily all she ones.

  • This talk about wimmen bein' outside and above all participation in the laws of her country, is jest as pretty as anything I ever hearn, and jest as simple. Why, you might jest as well throw a lot of snowflakes into the street, and say, 'Some of 'em are female flakes and mustn't be trompled on.' The great march of life tromples on 'em all alike; they fall from one common sky, and are trodden down into one common ground.

  • Woman has been considered too much as woman, and not enough as a human being. The constant reference to her sex has been neither ennobling, complimentary, nor agreeable. Either as slave, toy, pet, or queen, this ceaseless thinking of her sex instead of herself has been degrading. To finally arrive at her best she simply needs consideration as a fellow member of society.

  • The male portion of the race already feel as though fatherhood were a mere incident in their lives, and would be insulted were you to intimate that fatherhood should be the crowning glory of their lives. They know that they possess powers and capabilities that the world needs and appreciates, and that fatherhood, blessed though it be, is not the fullest and best manifestation of their existence. The idea is in every way as applicable to woman as to man. Why should all the faculties and energies of woman be turned to the fulfilment of this one function of her being?

  • What is it that woman wants? What is it she hopes to attain? What is it she lacks that men are not willing to give? It is no wonderful thing; nothing preposterous or presumptuous. She simply wants to be a human being, not a slave, not a toy, not a queen. She wants the equal personal liberty that every man demands in order to become a fully developed, well-balanced, happy, and useful being. Only this and nothing more.

  • To become 'mannish' is in the eyes of conventional society worse than to commit a crime. But what do we mean by this term? If it is anything reprehensible, believe me, it is as bad in man as in woman. Does it apply to the manners, morals, or the intellect? It is very vague at best. For those qualities which we call 'good' are as beautiful in man as in woman.

  • For I hold another heresy: that there is no sex in intellect, sentiment, or morals. The same environment, the same treatment, the same teachings would result in a similarity of characteristics. There will never cease to be variety, but we should not find a greater tendency toward any particular group of faculties in one sex over the other.

  • It is possible to read the history of this country as one long struggle to extend the liberties established in our constitution to everyone in America.

    • Molly Ivins,
    • in Margaret Engel and Allison Engel Red Hot Patriot: The Kick- Ass Wit of Molly Ivins ()
  • ... there are six of the one and half-a-dozen of the other ...

  • ... there can be neither politically nor morally a good which is not universal ... we cannot reform for a time or for a class, but for all and for the whole, and our very interests will draw us together in one wide bond of sympathy.

  • It was a national disgrace to lose the ERA, but of course we will start, and have done so, all over again. ... There is no deadline for equality in our society.

    • Marguerite Rawalt,
    • in Judith Paterson, Be Somebody: A Biography of Marguerite Rawalt ()
  • Men were not equal in the effort they made, nor did equal efforts bring equal result. ... Equality of opportunity, yes. Equality of effort and result, no.

  • ... nature knows no sex limitations and does not bestow brains upon men alone. Daughters inherit gifts exactly as often and as much as sons.

  • I believe in the single standard for men and women.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • Whenever in history, equality appeared on the agenda, it was exported somewhere else, like an undesirable.

  • When will this old world begin / To see man and the woman equal in sin?

  • All the beads in her rosary of love were the same size.

  • ... when they learn of Caesar and his legions, we must teach them of Hannibal and his Africans; when they learn of Shakespeare and Goethe, we must teach them of Pushkin and Dumas.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "Clarifying Our Vision With the Facts," in The Journal of Negro History ()
  • Girls could do most things as well as boys, and some things better.

  • I believe that it is as much a right and duty for women to do something with their lives as for men and we are not going to be satisfied with such frivolous parts as you give us.

  • A woman may perform the most disinterested duties. She may 'die daily' in the cause of truth and righteousness. She lives neglected, dies forgotten. But a man who never performed in his whole life one self-denying act, but who has accidental gifts of genius, is celebrated by his contemporaries, while his name and his works live on, from age to age. He is crowned with laurel, while scarce a 'stone may tell where she lies.'

    • Abigail May Alcott,
    • 1843, in Eve LaPlante, Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother ()
  • As far as male and female are concerned, difference is a biological fact, whereas equality is a political, ethical and social concept. No rule of nature or of social organization says that the sexes have to be the same or do the same things in order to be social, political and economic equals.

    • Alice S. Rossi,
    • "The Biosocial Side of Parenthood," in Human Nature ()
  • An occupation that has no basis in sex-determined gifts can now recruit its ranks from twice as many potential artists.

  • Those social behaviors which automatically preclude the building of a democratic world must go — every social limitation of human beings in terms of heredity, whether it be of race, or sex, or class. Every social institution which teaches human beings to cringe to those above and step on those below must be replaced by institutions which teach people to look each other straight in the face ...

  • ... to the extent that either sex is disadvantaged, the whole culture is poorer, and the sex that, superficially, inherits the earth, inherits only a very partial legacy. The more whole the culture, the more whole each member, each man, each woman, each child will be.

  • Whatever advantages may have arisen, in the past, out of the existence of a specially favored and highly privileged aristocracy, it is clear to me that today no argument can stand that supports unequal opportunity or any intrinsic disqualification for sharing in the whole of life.

  • No one really believes in equality who's on top.

  • I object to anything that divides the two sexes. My main point is this: human development has now reached a point at which sexual difference has become a thing of altogether minor importance. We make too much of it; we are men and women in the second place, human beings in the first.

    • Olive Schreiner,
    • 1884, in S.C. Cronwright-Schreiner, ed., The Letters of Olive Schreiner 1876-1920 ()
  • We were equals once when we lay new-born babes on our nurse's knees. We will be equals again when they tie up our jaws for the last sleep.

  • The test for whether or not you can hold a job should not be the arrangement of your chromosomes.

  • We're all cremated equal.

    • Jane Ace,
    • in Christopher H. Sterling, Encyclopedia of Radio, vol. 1. ()
  • We don't so much want to see a female Einstein become an assistant professor. We want a woman schlemiel to get promoted as quickly as a male schlemiel.

  • In theory we are all equal before the law. In practice, there are overwhelming privileges that come with winning the birth lottery.

  • Black ice is the smoothest naturally occuring ice there is, as if nature were condescending to art. ... Black ice is an act of nature as elusive as grace, and far more rare. ... I have never skated on black ice, but perhaps my children will. They'll know it, at least, when it appears: that the earth can stretch smooth and unbroken like grace, and they'll know as they know my voice that they were meant to have their share.

  • It is impossible for a sex or a class to have economic freedom until everybody has it, and until economic freedom is attained for everybody, there can be no real freedom for anybody.

  • ... real freedom is not a matter of the shifting of advantage from one sex to the other or from one class to another. Real freedom means the disappearance of advantage, and primarily of economic advantage.

  • ... there are no nationalities in heaven.

  • Equalizing opportunity through universal higher education subjects the whole population to the intellectual mode natural only to a few. It violates the fundamental egalitarian principle of respect for the differences between people.

  • ... were the Men philosophers in the strict sense of the term, they would be able to see that nature invincibly proves a perfect equality in our sex with their own.

  • It is not alone that justice is wounded by denying women a part in the making of the civilized world — a more immediate wrong is the way the movement for a fuller, freer life for all human beings is hampered.

  • The theory that the man who raises corn does a more important piece of work than the woman who makes it into bread is absurd. The inference is that the men alone render useful service. But neither man nor woman eats these things until the woman has prepared it.

  • ... give the man of color an equal opportunity with the white, from the cradle to manhood, and from manhood to the grave, and you would discover the dignified statesman, the man of science, and the philosopher.

  • All the nations of the earth are crying out for liberty and equality. Away, away with tyranny and oppression!

  • The only method of restoring the natural equality of dignity between men and women, lies in the demolishment of that elaborate theological structure which maintains that woman is made for the possession of man in a sense in which man is not made for woman, and that celibacy, per se, is a state of superior purity. Nature and common sense (not metaphysical sense) demonstrate that there is no good reason why any man or any woman should take, claim, or wield 'lordship' over another.

  • We will have equality when a female schlemiel moves ahead as fast as a male schlemiel.

  • Let woman then go on — not asking favors, but claiming as a right the removal of all hindrances to her elevation in the scale of being — let her receive encouragement for the proper cultivation of all her powers, so that she may enter profitably into the active business of life ...

    • Lucretia Mott,
    • 1849, in Anna Davis Hallowell, James and Lucretia Mott: Life and Letters ()
  • We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "Declaration of Sentiments and Resolutions," The First Woman's Rights Convention (1848), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • A gentleman opposed to their enfranchisement once said to me, 'Women have never produced anything of any value to the world.' I told him the chief product of the women had been the men, and left it to him to decide whether the product was of any value.

    • Anna Howard Shaw,
    • in Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4 ()
  • ... the sexes in each species of beings ... are always true equivalents — equals but not identicals ...

  • Spiritually, the society we have is the society of men with women present only in adjunctive relation to them, not the society of men and women in reciprocal relation. We do not have the society of human beings.

  • The ceiling isn't glass; it's a very dense layer of men.

  • ... whatever is morally wrong, is equally wrong in man and in woman and no virtue is to be cultivated in one sex, that is not equally required by the other.

    • Anna Jameson,
    • 1847, in G.H. Needler, Letters of Anna Jameson to Ottilie Von Goethe ()
  • And what is wrong in woman's life / In man's cannot be right.

  • ... men maintain that the mind of women can learn only a little. ... if it were customary to send daughters to school like sons, and if they were then taught the natural sciences, they would learn as thoroughly and understand the subtleties of all the arts and sciences as well as sons.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • 1405, in Earl Jeffrey Richards, trans., The Book of the City of Ladies ()
  • If you're an extraordinarily gifted woman, the door is open. What women are fighting for is the right to be as mediocre as men.

    • Grace Hartigan,
    • in Arlene Raven, Cassandra Langer, Joanna Frueh, eds., Feminist Art Criticism ()
  • [On female and male judges:] A wise old woman and a wise old man reach the same conclusion.

    • M. Jeane Coyne,
    • "Women's Milestone; Majority on Minnesota Court," New York Times ()
  • Women have to be twice as good [as men] for half as much pay.

    • Agnes Macphail,
    • in Terence Allan Crowley, Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality ()
  • It is part of the amazing originality of Christ that there is to be found in his teaching no word whatever which suggests a difference in the spiritual ideals, the spheres, or the potentialities of men and women.

  • In a society where the rights and potential of women are constrained, no man can be truly free. He may have power, but he will not have freedom.

  • I tasted the bread and wine of equality.

  • They used to say that eighteen beautiful daughters were not equal to one son with a limp, but times have changed.

  • ... when women progress, all of society benefits.

  • A democracy depends on the full integration of women into society, especially on seeing to it that they have equal access to the same tools of opportunity as men.

  • Teach girls to read and to work at something where they can bring home money — and the entire balance of power shifts.

  • I don't want to have any privileges doled out to me like slices of gingerbread cut thin. I want to feel I can stand up under any star and shine just as independently and vigorously as I choose.

    • Mary Hannaford Ford,
    • "A Feminine Iconoclast" (1889), in Carol Farley Kessler, ed., Daring to Dream ()
  • We are thy sisters. ... / Our skins may differ, but from thee we claim / A sister's privilege and a sister's name.

    • Sarah L. Forten,
    • 1837, in Dorothy Sterling, ed., We Are Your Sisters ()
  • I am working for the time when unqualified blacks, browns and women join the unqualified men in running our government.

  • I am no better than you. You are no worse than I. Whatever I am, you, in your children, may be. Whatever you are, I in my father have been.

  • God hath put no such difference between the Male and Female as man would make.

  • Men of quality are not threatened by women of equality.

  • ... marriage, home life, and children, ought to be enjoyed by men and women together. Nobody — and least of all the child — is served by the present tendency to put these things all on one side as 'Woman's World.'

    • Alva Myrdal,
    • in Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein, Women's Two Roles: Home and Work ()
  • An idea built the wall of separation between the sexes, and an idea will crumble it to dust ...

    • Sarah M. Grimké,
    • "The Education of Women" (c. 1852), in Elizabeth Ann Bartlett, ed., Letters on the Equality of the Sexes and Other Essays ()
  • [On the Adam and Eve story:] They both fell from innocence, and consequently from happiness, but not from equality.

  • ... whatever it is morally right for man to do, it is morally right for woman to do.

  • Who has ever attempted to draw a line of separation between the duties of men and women, as moral beings, without committing the grossest inconsistencies on the one hand, or running into the most arrant absurdities on the other?

  • Accomplishments have no color.

  • ... gender biases ... have, in our more enlightened spheres, retreated largely to an unconscious level, yet they are all the more powerful for that, making women hesitant to enter the fray and increasing the likelihood that, when they do, their temerity will be rewarded by their being dismissed, sidelined, sloppily and mockingly misconstrued, or — the most elegant of all obliterations — merely ignored. It's all so civilly done that you're never sure that it isn't your own shortcomings being justly evaluated.

  • The day will come when men will recognize woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development of the race.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • in Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony ()
  • There will never be complete equality until women themselves help to make laws and to elect lawmakers.

  • Join the union, girls, and together say, 'Equal Pay for Equal Work!'

  • All citizens including women are equally admissible to all public dignities, offices, and employments, according to their capacity, and with no other distinction than that of their virtues and talents.

    • Olympe de Gouges,
    • Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen
    • ()
  • We cannot legislate equality but we can legislate ... equal opportunity for all.

  • ... until ... the promiscuous woman is recognized, not only in law but in public opinion, as being neither better nor worse than the promiscuous man, equality has not been won in the moral sphere.

    • Alison Neilans,
    • "Changes in Sex Morality," in Ray Strachey, ed., Our Freedom and Its Results ()
  • Too often girls accept that of course the boys will get better lighting and seating at their sports events, of course the football team will get more attention, privileges, and space in the yearbook. We need to teach girls to look around and notice when they're being treated like second-class citizens, and then to insist on equal treatment.

  • The more equality there is established among men, the more virtue and happiness will reign in society.

  • ... virtue can only flourish among equals ...

  • Our souls may all be equal in the sight of the Lord, but our gumption and ingenuity ain't. So the results of man's labor will never be equal.

  • This is what sexism does best: it makes you feel crazy for desiring parity and hopeless about ever achieving it.

  • Nobody is such an individualist as the man who advocates equality.

  • If you think equality is the goal ... your standards are too low.

    • Anonymous,
    • feminist T-shirt, in Barbara Ehrenreich, "Sorry, Sisters, This Is Not the Revolution," The Snarling Citizen ()
  • Men their rights and nothing more; women their rights and nothing less.

  • One of the things I have always said about the man-woman relationship is that I don't want anybody to walk ahead of me and I don't want anybody to walk behind me. I want a man who will walk along beside me. And that's how I feel about equal rights.

    • Cicely Tyson,
    • Report of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year
    • ()
  • The feminist surge will crest when a lady named Arabella, flounces and ruffles and all, can rise to the top of a Fortune 500 corporation.

  • When human beings are ranked instead of linked, everyone loses.

  • [On being asked when she thought there would be enough women on the Supreme Court:] When there are nine.

    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
    • in Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg ()
  • I think gender discrimination is bad for everyone, it's bad for men, it's bad for children. ... Think of how the Constitution begins. 'We the people of the United States in order to form a more perfect union.' But we're still striving for that more perfect union. And one of the perfections is for the 'we the people' to include an ever enlarged group.

    • Ruth Bader Ginsburg,
    • in Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg ()