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Women

  • ... rule number one for all American women: You are to be seen and felt, but not heard. Listen and do as you are told and everything will be all right.

  • There is a sound reason why one and a half billion dollars are spent for cosmetics in your country every year, and only half that sum for education: There are no naturally pretty girls in the United States.

  • It's odd, really, more women aren't used for private investigation work. They could go anywhere and no one would notice them.

  • All women want to be understood until they understand themselves.

  • 'But women have nothing to do with politics.' 'They have everything to do with politics. They always have had.'

  • I'm tired of hearing you men say that this and that and the other isn't woman's work. Any work is woman's work that a woman can do well.

  • Being a woman is of special interest only to aspiring male transsexuals. To actual women, it is simply a good excuse not to play football.

  • What is a woman? I assure you, I do not know ... I do not believe that anybody can know until she has expressed herself in all the arts and professions open to human skill.

  • Women alone stir my imagination ...

    • Virginia Woolf,
    • in Nigel Nicolson and Joanne Trautmann, eds., The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume IV: 1929-1931 ()
  • I don't think women outlive men, Doctor. It only seems longer.

  • If we were to see one flying woman, we would / instantly / know how to rise and join her — / for she could speak to us in our own tongue / with the magic instructions ...

  • The only options open for girls then were of course mother, secretary or teacher. At least that's what we all thought and were preparing ourselves for. Now, I must say how lucky we are, as women, to live in an age where 'Dental Hygienist' has been added to the list.

  • Women are repeatedly accused of taking things personally. I cannot see any other honest way of taking them.

  • Nobody objects to a woman being a good writer or sculptor or geneticist as long as she manages also to be a good wife, mother, good-looking, good-tempered, well-dressed, well-groomed, unaggressive.

  • Long before Playboy, Woman was not the sum of her parts: her parts were her sum.

  • We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains.

  • ... giving the utmost of herself to three absorbing interests [marriage, motherhood, career] ... was a problem for a superwoman, and a job for a superwoman, and only some such fabled being could have accomplished it with success.

  • By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.

  • Woman must come of age by herself. ... She must find her true center alone.

  • In the case of women, it is of the living and unpublished blood that the violent world has professed to be delicate and ashamed. See the curious history of the political rights of woman under the Revolution. On the scaffold she enjoyed an ungrudged share in the fortunes of party. Political life might be denied her, but that seems a trifle when you consider how generously she was permitted political death.

  • ... a woman, when she is heroic, is not heroic by halves.

  • Women are not inherently passive or peaceful; we're not inherently anything but human.

  • The great and almost only comfort about being a woman is that one can always pretend to be more stupid than one is and no one is surprised.

  • If you have a vagina and a point of view, that's a deadly combination.

  • I think being a woman is like being Irish ... Everyone says you're important and nice, but you take second place all the same.

  • ... until women assume the place in society which good sense and good feeling alike assign to them, human improvement must advance but feebly.

  • No matter what anybody says, we can't have it all. Not if you are a woman. Not yet.

  • ... anybody who has anything abusive to say of women, whether ancient or modern, can command a vast public in the popular press and a ready agreement from the average publisher.

  • The origin of the stupid ideal of womanhood against which men as well as women to-day are still fighting was the asceticism of the Christian religion; and, unless St. Paul was a woman in disguise, I fail to see how woman is to be blamed for a conception of her place and duty from which she has suffered more than anybody else.

  • She didn't write it. She wrote it, but she shouldn't have. She wrote it, but look what she wrote about. She wrote it, but 'she' isn't really an artist and 'it' isn't really serious, of the right genre — i.e., really art. She wrote it, but she wrote only one of it. She wrote it, but it's only interesting/included in the canon for one, limited reason. She wrote it, but there are very few of her.

  • We would have every arbitrary barrier thrown down. We would have every path laid open to woman as freely as to man. If you ask me what offices they may fill; I will reply — any. I do not care what case you put; let them be sea-captains if you will.

  • ... I have sometimes thought that a woman's nature is like a great house full of rooms: there is the hall, through which everyone passes in going in and out; the drawing room where one receives formal visits; the sitting room where the members of the family come and go as they list; but beyond that, far beyond, are other rooms the handles of whose doors are never turned; no one knows the way to them, no one knows whither they lead; and in the innermost room, the holy of holies, the soul sits alone and waits for a footstep that never comes.

    • Edith Wharton,
    • "The Fullness of Life" (1891), in Scribner's Magazine ()
  • One gender to walk the wide world in / Is the feminine, / A plight that — softly to a friend — / I can recommend.

  • Women aren't trying to do too much. Women have too much to do.

  • As millions of women have done before me, I pulled domesticity over my head like a blanket and found I was still cold.

  • She specialized in feminism, and in her eyes to be a woman was in itself a good argument.

  • Cows in India occupy the same position in society as women did in England before they got the vote. Woman was revered but not encouraged. Her life was one long obstacle race owing to the anxiety of man to put pedestals at her feet. While she was falling over the pedestals she was soothingly told that she must occupy a Place Apart — and indeed, so far Apart did her place prove to be that it was practically out of earshot. The cow in India finds her position equally lofty and tiresome. You practically never see a happy cow in India.

  • Wife or whore, women are the most scorned class in America. You may hate niggers and PRs and geeks, but you're a little frightened of them. Women don't get even the respect of fear.

  • All of the women I know feel a little like outlaws.

  • Women can always think as much as they like, an' they could get up on a platform an' talk till they bust, as long as they didn't want the world to be made no better, an' they wouldn't be thought unwomanly. It's soon as a woman wants any practical good done that she is considered a unwomanly creature.

  • ... you can give it a long name if you like, but I'm an old-fashioned woman and I call it mother-wit, and it's so rare for a man to have it that if he does you write a book about him and call him Sherlock Holmes.

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

  • Every great man has a woman behind him ... And every great woman has some man or other in front of her, tripping her up.

  • All sorts of articles and letters appear in the papers about women. Profound questions are raised concerning them. Should they smoke? Should they work? Vote? Marry? Exist? Are not their skirts too short, or their sleeves? Have they a sense of humor, of honor, of direction? Are spinsters superfluous? But how seldom similar inquiries are propounded about men.

  • ... the position of women, that sad and well-nigh universal blot on civilizations, was never far from her mind.

  • Great parts of our economy are directly dependent upon women having a weak self-concept. A multi-billion dollar fashion-cosmetic industry testifies to the validity of this approach. A woman who does not know who she is can be sold anything.

  • 'Slut' used to mean a slovenly woman. Now it means a woman who will go to bed with everyone. This is considered a bad thing in a woman, although perfectly fabulous in a man. 'Bitch' means a woman who will go to bed with everyone but you.

  • Some women wait for themselves / around the next corner / and call the empty spot peace ...

  • Some women wait for something / to change and nothing / does change / so they change / themselves.

  • There are no honest poems about dead women.

  • The vote, I thought, means nothing to women. We should be armed.

  • Women are the only exploited group in history to have been idealized into powerlessness.

  • In a world not made for women, criticism and ridicule follow us all the days of our lives. Usually they are indications that we are doing something right.

  • If there's anything the world disdains more than uppity young women, it's uppity old women. Dying young has always been a woman's best career move.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Princess As Icon," What Do Women Want? ()
  • During years of working for a living, I have experienced much of the legal and social discrimination reserved for women in this country, I have been refused service in public restaurants, ordered out of public gathering places and turned away from apartment rentals. All for the clearly stated, sole reason that I am a woman.

  • I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them, and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words.

  • If the shoe doesn't fit, must we change the foot?

  • Women get more radical with age.

  • More women are becoming the men they wanted to marry, but too few men are becoming the women they wanted to marry. That leaves most women with two jobs, one outside the home and one in it ...

  • For girls and women, storytelling has a double and triple importance. Because the stories of our lives have been marginalized and ignored by history, and often dismissed and treated as 'gossip' within our own cultures and families, female human beings are more likely to be discouraged from telling our stories and from listening to each other with seriousness.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • introduction, in Bonnie Watkins and Nina Rothchild, eds., In the Company of Women ()
  • The most common characteristic of women's history is to be lost and discovered, lost again and rediscovered, lost once more and re-rediscovered — a process of tragic waste and terrible silences that will continue until women's stories are a full and equal part of the human story.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • introduction, in Bonnie Watkins and Nina Rothchild, eds., In the Company of Women ()
  • The truth is, we [women] live like bats, or owls, labor like beasts, and die like worms.

    • Margaret Cavendish,
    • Duchess of Newcastle, "Female Orations," Orations of Diverse Sorts ()
  • This world taught woman nothing skillful and then said her work was valueless. It permitted her no opinions and said she did not know how to think. It forbade her to speak in public, and said the sex had no orators.

    • Carrie Chapman Catt,
    • in Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 4 ()
  • So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why doesn't somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?

  • ... in the old times, women did not get their lives written, though I don't doubt many of them were much better worth writing than the men's.

  • ... women are the real architects of society.

  • Women, rouse yourselves! The tocsin of reason resounds through the whole universe: recognize your rights. The powerful empire of nature is no longer surrounded by prejudices, fanaticism, superstition and lies.

  • I have never had any great esteem for the generality of the fair sex, and my only consolation for being of that gender has been the assurance it gave me of never being married to any one among them.

  • Our sex's weakness you expose and blame, / Of every prating fop the common theme; / Yet from this weakness you suppose is due / Sublimer virtue than your Cato knew. / From whence is this unjust distinction shown? / Are we not formed with passions like your own? / Nature with equal fire our souls endued: / Our minds as lofty, and as warm our blood.

  • As I ... have always (at least from fifteen) thought the reputation of learning a misfortune to a woman, I was resolved to believe that these stories were not meant at me ...

  • Estrogen is a powerful if vengeful hormone affecting a woman's fertility, moods, sleep patterns, appetite. Estrogen is the household heating oil of womanhood.

  • Women's propensity to share confidences is universal. We confirm our reality by sharing.

  • 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.

  • There might ... have arisen a 'woman's rights question' in those old Mosaic days, had not the priests, who feared any loosening of their control over the people, issued a 'Thus saith the Lord,' and so riveted her chains for another three thousand years. 'Thy desire shall be unto thy husband, and he shall rule over thee,' settled the problem for the time.

  • ... woman's subordination came to be complete. She was first knocked down, dragged away senseless, and made a slave. She was bought and sold, or traded; she became a thing, a piece of property, a bond slave. Her degraded position among men became a custom, then an institution, then a tradition.

  • Why do we hesitate to trust woman free, when she has fulfilled so many precious trusts in bondage?

  • 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.

  • A woman's life stretches over many periods, as does man's. In a lifetime she is capable of being much more than a mother, as man is expected to be much more than a father.

  • 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.

  • A woman, especially, if she have the misfortune of knowing anything, should conceal it as well as she can.

  • I was a woman, / which is to say, / part girl and part suffering. / The first half of my life / has been utterly absorbed / by other people / and by my own demons. / The second half / I will spend laughing.

  • For indeed all that we think so new to-day has been acted over and over again, a shifting comedy, by the women of every century.

  • Jesus was a friend of women, the first and practically the last friend women had in the church.

  • ... I saw no poor men, except a few intemperate ones. I saw some very poor women; but God and man know that the time has not come for women to make their injuries even heard of.

  • ... the sum and substance of female education in America, as in England, is training women to consider marriage as the sole object in life, and to pretend that they do not think so.

  • This noble word [women], spirit-stirring as it passes over English ears, is in America banished, and 'ladies' and 'females' substituted: the one to English taste mawkish and vulgar; the other indistinctive and gross.

  • If a test of civilization be sought, none can be so sure as the condition of that half of society over which the other half has power,--from the exercise of the right of the strongest. Tried by this test, the American civilization appears to be of a lower order than might have been expected from other symptoms of its social state. The Americans have, in the treatment of women, fallen below, not only their own democratic principles but the practice of some parts of the Old World. The unconsciousness of both parties as to the injuries suffered by women at the hands of those who hold the power is a sufficient proof of the low degree of civilization in this important particular at which they rest. While women's intellect is confined, her morals crushed, her health ruined, her weaknesses encouraged, and her strength punished, she is told that her lot is cast in the paradise of women: and there is no country in the world where there is so much boasting of the 'chivalrous' treatment she enjoys. ... In short, indulgence is given her as a substitute for justice.

  • All women are misfits, I think; we do not fit into this world without amputations.

  • A woman and a Jew, sometimes more / of a contradiction than I can sweat out, / yet finally the intersection that is both / collision and fusion, stone and seed.

    • Marge Piercy,
    • "The Ram's Horn Sounding," Available Light ()
  • It is only a legend / You say? But what / Is the meaning of the legend / If not / To give blame to women most / And most punishment?

    • Stevie Smith,
    • "How Cruel Is the Story of Eve," The Best Beast ()
  • ... women love with their imagination and men with their senses.

  • ... you may not know what I mean by the Angel in the House. I will describe her as shortly as I can. She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excellent in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it — in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. ... And when I came to write I encountered her with the very first words. The shadow of her wings fell on my page ... Had I not killed her she would have killed me.

  • Shopping, true feminine felicity!

  • Whenever I hear a man talking of the advantages of our ill-used sex, I look upon it as the prelude to some new act of authority.

  • What! still retaining your Utopian visions of female felicity? To talk of our happiness! — ours, the ill-used and oppressed! You remind me of the ancient tyrant, who, seeing his slaves sink under the weight of their chains, said, 'Do look at the indolent repose of those people!'

  • A woman only can understand a woman ...

  • The labor of women in the house certainly, enables men to produce more wealth than they otherwise could; and in this way women are economic factors in society. But so are horses. The labor of horses enables men to produce more wealth than they otherwise could. The horse is an economic factor in society. But the horse is not economically independent, nor is the woman.

  • The women who do the most work get the least money, and the women who have the most money do the least work.

  • There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. As well speak of a female liver.

  • Not woman, but the condition of woman, has always been a doorway of evil.

  • The original necessity for the ceaseless presence of the woman to maintain that altar fire — and it was an altar fire in very truth at one period — has passed with the means of prompt ignition; the matchbox has freed the housewife from that incessant service, but the feeling that women should stay at home is with us yet.

  • We're half the people; we should be half the Congress.

    • Jeannette Rankin,
    • 1966, in Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin: First Lady in Congress ()
  • The individual woman is required ... a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition.

    • Jeannette Rankin,
    • in Hannah Josephson, Jeannette Rankin: First Lady in Congress ()
  • There is, I suppose, no occupation in the world which has an influence on the efficiency and happiness of the members of nearly all other occupations so continuous and so permeating as that of the working housewife and mother.

  • ... the struggle for the right to become politicians in itself made women into politicians.

    • Eleanor F. Rathbone,
    • "Changes in Public Life," in Ray Strachey, ed., Our Freedom and Its Results ()
  • ... the explanation of the ebb and flow of the women's movement ... is partly psychological. During those early post-war years when successes came thick and fast and were almost thrust upon us, the nation was still under the influence of the reconstruction spirit, when everything seemed possible ... A few years later the nation had reached the stage which follows a drinking bout. It was feeling ruefully in its empty pockets. It did not want to part with anything to anybody. Its head ached. Noble sentiments made it feel sick. It wanted only to be left alone.

    • Eleanor F. Rathbone,
    • "Changes in Public Life," in Ray Strachey, ed., Our Freedom and Its Results ()
  • ... continually measuring women's wants by men's achievements seems out of date, ignominious, and intolerably boring. ... Now that we have secured possession of the tools of citizenship, we intend to use them not to copy men's models but to produce our own.

    • Eleanor F. Rathbone,
    • "Changes in Public Life," in Ray Strachey, ed., Our Freedom and Its Results ()
  • The world needs scientists, engineers — and if a brain is qualified to do such work, it should be encouraged, not smothered because it is a female brain.

    • Marguerite Rawalt,
    • in Judith Paterson, Be Somebody: A Biography of Marguerite Rawalt ()
  • Whenever women have made any social gains, whether it's being accepted as athletes or moving into the professions, it's going to be contradicted with an image of woman as small, diminished, reduced, brought back to a childish body. The result is that a lot of extraordinary power is going to be diverted into making oneself smaller than one is meant to be.

    • Kim Chernin,
    • in Natalie Angier, "Fashion's Waif Look Makes Strong Women Weep," The New York Times ()
  • She knew well that upon the woman depends the whole crushing weight of responsibility for happiness in marriage.

  • Patience and endurance were not virtues in a woman; they were necessities, forced on her. Perhaps some day things would change and women would renounce them. They would rise up and say: 'We are not patient. We will endure no more.' Then what would happen to the world?

  • She had always been too wise to tell him all she thought and felt, knowing by some intuition of her own womanhood that no man wants to know everything of any woman.

  • ... a strong hatred [is] the best lamp to bear in our hands as we go over the dark places of life, cutting away the dead things men tell us to revere.

  • Women have always been seen as waiting: waited to be asked, waiting for our menses, in fear lest they do or do not come, waiting for men to come home from wars, or from work, waiting for children to grow up, or for the birth of a new child, or for menopause.

  • The most notable fact that culture imprints on women is the sense of our limits. The most important thing one woman can do for another is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities.

  • ... two women, eye to eye / measuring each other's spirit, each other's / limitless desire, / a whole new poetry beginning here.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Transcendental Etude," The Dream of a Common Language ()
  • The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "Disloyal to Civilization: Feminism, Racism, Gynophobia," in Chrysalis ()
  • Any woman's death diminishes me.

    • Adrienne Rich,
    • "From an Old House in America" (1974), The Fact of a Doorframe ()
  • The entire being of a woman is a secret which should be kept.

  • ... women are born twice.

    • Anne Sexton,
    • "Little Girl, My String Bean, My Lovely Woman," Live or Die ()
  • Women tell time by the body. They are like clocks. They are always fastened to the earth, listening for its small animal noises.

    • Anne Sexton,
    • in George Plimpton, ed., Writers at Work, vol 4. ()
  • Nowhere is woman treated according to the merit of her work, but rather as a sex. It is therefore almost inevitable that she should pay for her right to exist, to keep a position in whatever line, with sex favors. Thus it is merely a question of degree whether she sells herself to one man, in or out of marriage, or to many men. Whether our reformers admit it or not, the economic and social inferiority of woman is responsible for prostitution.

  • The most wasteful 'brain drain' in America today is the drain in the kitchen sink.

  • I would confide to you perhaps my secret profession of faith — which is ... which is ... that let us say and do what we please and can ... there is a natural inferiority of mind in women — of the intellect ... not by any means, of the moral nature — and that the history of Art and of genius testifies to this fact openly.

    • Elizabeth Barrett Browning,
    • 1845, in Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, The Letters of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Barrett 1845-1846, vol. 1 ()
  • I feel there is something unexplored about women that only a woman can explore.

    • Georgia O'Keeffe,
    • 1925, in Jack Cowart and Juan Hamilton, eds., Georgia O'Keeffe: Art and Letters ()
  • I am to gratify his pleasure and nurse his child, I am a piece of household furniture, I am a woman.

    • Sophia Tolstoy,
    • 1863, in O.A. Golinenko et al., eds., The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy ()
  • What we've done, it seems to me, is allow women to get older, but not to age.

  • Men have jobs, while women have Roles: Mother, Wife, Goddess, Temptress, etc. That's probably why it's so hard for women to rewrite the rules. You're not just changing a job description, but an ancient myth. You're revising the Bible, Poetry, Legend and Psychoanalytic Scripture.

  • ... one can judge a civilization by the way it treats its women.

  • Beautiful sisters, come high up to the strongest rocks, / we are all fighting women, heroines, horsewomen ...

    • Edith Södergran,
    • "Violet Twilights" (1916), in Stina Katchadourian, trans., Love and Solitude ()
  • Home can only come to its true dignity and power when the wife and mother is an equal partner in all that appertains to the sacred interests of the larger home of society and government.

  • The belief that a woman is against war simply because she is a woman and not a man cannot of course be substantiated. In every country there are women who believe that war is inevitable and righteous; the majority of women as well as men in the nations at war doubtless hold that conviction. On the other hand, quite as an artist in an artillery corps commanded to fire upon a beautiful building like the duomo at Florence would be deterred by a compunction unknown to the man who had never given himself to creating beauty and did not know the intimate cost of it, so women, who have brought men into the world and nurtured them until they reach the age for fighting, must experience a peculiar revulsion when they see them destroyed, irrespective of the country in which these men may have been born.

    • Jane Addams,
    • 1915, in Margaret R. Higonnet, ed., Lines of Fire: Women Writers of World War I ()
  • We must get rid of the habit of classing all women together politically and thinking of the 'woman's vote' as one and indivisible.

    • Laura Ingalls Wilder,
    • 1919, in Stephen W. Hines, ed., Little House in the Ozarks: A Laura Ingalls Wilder Sampler, The Rediscovered Writings ()
  • I believe that the souls of women flatten and anchor themselves in times of adversity, lay in for the stay. I've heard that when elephants are attacked they often run, not away, but toward each other. Perhaps it is because they are a matriarchal society.

  • Show me a woman content with her figure and I'll show you a seven-year-old girl. Everybody else is engaged in the war against flab.

  • The liberation of women from exclusive domesticity did not originate in feminist books, or a war, or a big inflation, although they contributed to its progress. The rising enrollment of women in the paid labor force is a straightforward consequence of the industrial revolution of two hundred years ago.

  • Much female conversation is, in fact, about survival — but in code.

  • What we have in common is what keeps us apart.

  • Female friendships that work are relationships in which women help each other belong to themselves.

  • Defining child care primarily as women's sphere reinforces the devaluing of women and prevents their equal access to power.

  • The true worth of a race must be measured by the character of its womanhood.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • "A Century of Progress of Negro Women," speech, Chicago Women's Federation ()
  • Next to God we are indebted to women, first for life itself, and then for making it worth living.

    • Mary McLeod Bethune,
    • in Audrey Thomas McClusky and Elaine M. Smith, eds., Mary McLeod Bethune: Building a Better World : Essays and Selected Documents ()
  • ... the higher the development of women, the more they suffer from the 'patriotic' mandate to bear many children to replace the nation's losses. For they know that, from the point of view of their personal development as well as that of the race, fewer but better children are to be preferred.

  • Help[ing] one another is part of the religion of our sisterhood ...

  • The female population exceeds the male, you know, especially in New England, which accounts for the high state of culture we are in, perhaps.

  • I'm a woman / Phenomenally. / Phenomenal woman, / That's me.

  • ... women are scolded both for being mothers and for not being mothers, for wanting to eat their cake and have it too, and for not wanting to eat their cake and have it too ...

  • So we end up with the contradictory picture of a society that appears to throw its doors wide open to women, but translates her every step towards success as having been damaging ...

  • We women are doing pretty well. We're almost back to where we were in the twenties.

    • Margaret Mead,
    • 1976, in Jane Howard, Margaret Mead: A Life ()
  • I went to a steam laundry, / And asked with smile polite: / 'Ladies, why will you work so late?' / They said: 'We think it right / To buy our opera cloaks ourselves, / And so we work at night.'

  • Aren't women prudes if they don't and prostitutes if they do?

  • I saw a woman sleeping. In her sleep she dreamt Life stood before her, and held in each hand a gift — in the one Love, in the other Freedom. And she said to the woman, 'Choose!' And the woman waited long: and she said, 'Freedom!' And Life said, 'Thou hast well chosen. If thou hadst said, "Love," I would have given thee that thou didst ask for; and I would have gone from thee, and returned to thee no more. Now, the day will come when I shall return. In that day I shall bear both gifts in one hand.' I heard the woman laugh in her sleep.

  • No woman who is a woman says of a human body, 'it is nothing' ... On this one point, and on this point alone, the knowledge of woman, simply as woman, is superior to that of man; she knows the history of human flesh; she knows its cost; he does not.

  • We have always borne part of the weight of war, and the major part ... Men have made boomerangs, bows, swords, or guns with which to destroy one another; we have made the men who destroyed and were destroyed! ... We pay the first cost on all human life.

  • ... this one thought stands, never goes — if I might but be one of those born in the future; then, perhaps, to be born a woman will not be to be born branded.

  • ... I have discovered that of all cursed places under the sun, where the hungriest soul can hardly pick up a few grains of knowledge, a girls' boarding-school is the worst. They are called finishing schools, and the name tells accurately what they are. They finish everything but imbecility and weakness, and that they cultivate. They are nicely adapted machines for experimenting on the question, 'Into how little space a human soul can be crushed?' I have seen some souls so compressed that they would have fitted into a small thimble, and found room to move there — wide room.

  • Men are like the earth and we are the moon; we turn always one side to them, and they think there is no other, because they don't see it — but there is.

  • ... a woman's sense of time must be quite different from a man's. Her sense of continuity is internal and natural ... She connects directly to the source of time, and the moon that pulls the tides around the world also pulls the hormone tide within her; her months are marked off without need of calendar. She carries her months, her years, her spring and winter within herself.

  • The Rights of Women, says a female pen, / Are, to do every thing as well as Men, / To think, to argue, to decide, to write, / To talk, undoubtedly — perhaps, to fight. / ... / But since the Sex at length has been inclin'd / To cultivate that useful part — the mind; — / Since they have learnt to read, to write to spell; — / Since some of them have wit, — and use it well; — / Let us not force them back with brow severe, / With the pale of ignorance and fear, / Confin'd entirely to domestic arts, / Producing only children, pies, and tarts.

  • It's so acceptably easy for a woman not to strive too hard, not to be too adventure-crazed, not to take too many risks, not to enjoy sex with full candor ... It isn't seemly for a woman to have that much zest.

  • Women have been trained to speak softly and carry a lipstick. Those days are over.

  • Never go back, never apologize, and never forget we're half the human race.

  • They used to give us a day — it was called International Women's Day. In 1975 they gave us a year, the Year of the Woman. Then from 1975 to 1985 they gave us a decade, the Decade of the Woman. I said at the time, who knows, if we behave they may let us into the whole thing. Well, we didn't behave and here we are.

    • Bella Abzug,
    • speech, Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing ()
  • This woman's place is in the House — the House of Representatives.

    • Bella Abzug,
    • 1970 campaign slogan, in Doris Faber, Bella Abzug ()
  • It must always be borne in mind that the assumption of woman's social superiority lies at the root of these rules of conduct.

  • I fired the ball for the purpose of giving those dudes to understand upon what ground I stood, believing that those of this class who believe that there are no women capable of taking care of themselves when young, would inform their friends that they might be in danger of their lives if they approached me.

    • Mary Walker,
    • 1862, in Charles McCool Snyder, Dr. Mary Walker ()
  • little old ladies is the term they use / to make us laugh at the women who / have been fighting for sixty years.

    • Alta,
    • "L.O.L.," no visible means of support ()
  • The mechanism of violence is what destroys women, controls women, diminishes women and keeps women in their so-called place.

    • Eve Ensler,
    • in Eve Ensler, ed., A Memory, a Monologue, a Rant, and a Prayer ()
  • In order for the human race to continue, women must be safe and empowered. It's an obvious idea, but like a vagina, it needs great attention and love in order to be revealed.

  • Look at the parts the Oscar-nominated actresses played this year: hooker, hooker, hooker, hooker, and nun.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • We weren't meant to have futures, we were meant to marry them. We weren't meant to have politics, or careers that mattered, or opinions, or lives; we were meant to marry them. If you wanted to be an architect, you married an architect.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • speech to Wellesley graduating class ()
  • ... I cannot understand any woman's wanting to be the first woman to do anything. ... It is a devastating burden and I could not take it, could not be a pioneer, a Symbol of Something Greater.

    • Nora Ephron,
    • "Bernice Gera, First Lady Umpire" (1973), Nora Ephron Collected ()
  • Every woman dreams of love. When she is young she prays she will find it. When she is middle aged she hopes for it and when she is old she remembers it.

  • The term girl not only serves to avoid certain anxiety-arousing connotations inherent in the word woman regarding aggression, sexuality, and reproduction, it also serves to impart a tone of frivolousness and lack of seriousness to ambitious, intellectual, and competitive striving that women may pursue.

    • Harriet Lerner,
    • "Girls, Ladies, or Women? the Unconscious Dynamics of Language Choice," Comprehensive Psychiatry ()
  • The amount of time that a young girl spends wearing pink will be inversely proportional to her future income.

    • Sandy Lerner,
    • in Kathy Sheridan, "The Life and Opinions of Sandy Lerner, Ungentlewoman," More ()
  • So a girl is damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. If she refuses to talk like a lady, she is ridiculed and subjected to criticism as unfeminine; if she does learn, she is ridiculed as unable to think clearly, unable to take part in a serious discussion: in some sense, as less than fully human. These two choices which a woman has — to be less than a woman or less than a person — are highly painful.

  • Women never have young minds. They are born three thousand years old.

  • If God had to give a woman wrinkles, he might at least have put them on the soles of her feet.

  • The feeling one has after coming to know American women is that they are starving at their sources.

  • ... I believe that the matter is automatically self-regulating; that those women who prefer the home and have an ability for it will eventually return to it; that others, like myself, will compromise; and that still others, temperamentally unfitted for it, will remain in the world to add to its productivity ...

  • The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: 'It's a girl.'

  • We seem to think that women here are better off than they are in any other country, and that's not true. We are the only modern democracy in the whole world with no national system of child care, no natioanl system of healthcare, no system of family-friendly workplace policies. Women are a lesser percentage of elected officials [here] than in India.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • in Patt Morrison, "The Founder," Los Angeles Times ()
  • Women, with few exceptions, have had no place in history as leaders.

  • One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.

  • ... it is not the inferiority of women that has caused their historical insignificance; it is rather their historical insignificance that has doomed them to inferiority.

  • ... women have no existence except in love; the history of their life begins and ends with love!

  • As long as the family and the myth of the family and the myth of maternity and the maternal instinct are not destroyed, women will still be oppressed.

    • Simone de Beauvoir,
    • in Betty Friedan, "A Dialogue With Simone de Beauvoir," It Changed My Life ()
  • The people are as severe toward the clergy as toward women; they want to see absolute devotion to duty from both.

  • ... 'tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice. It would be subversive of every human interest that the cry of one-half the human family be stifled. ... The world has had to limp along with the wobbling gait and one-sided hesitancy of a man with one eye. Suddenly the bandage is removed from the other eye and the whole body is filled with light. It sees a circle where before it saw a segment. The darkened eye restored, every member rejoices with it.

  • If women were once permitted to read Sophocles and work with logarithms, or to nibble at any side of the apple of knowledge, there would be an end forever to their sewing on buttons and embroidering slippers.

  • You better change your ways / And get really wild. / I want to tell you something / I wouldn't tell you no lie. / Wild women are the only kind / That really get by, / 'Cause Wild Women don't worry / Wild Women don't get the blues.

    • Ida Cox,
    • song, "Wild Women Don't Have the Blues" ()
  • The accusation that I am a woman is incontrovertible.

  • The world may forgive a woman for being handsome, — even for being witty, — but not for entertaining opinions different from its own ...

  • The critical principle of feminist theology is the promotion of the full humanity of women. Whatever denies, diminishes, or distorts the full humanity of women is, therefore, appraised as not redemptive.

  • Interesting, isn't it, that even though more than two and a half decades have passed since the sexual revolution brought women a new measure of sexual freedom, there's still no word in the language that doesn't reek with pejorative connotation to describe a woman who has sex freely. Since language frames thought and sets its limits, this is not a trivial matter. For without a word that describes without condemning, it's hard to think about it neutrally as well. When we say the words 'promiscuous woman,' therefore, it's a statement about her character, not just her sexual behavior.

  • What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? / The world would split open.

  • 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.

  • ... in recent years anthropologists and social historians have shown that matriarchy is an intellectual construct rather than a historical reality.

    • Sarah B. Pomeroy,
    • introduction to the 1995 edition, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in Classical Antiquity ()
  • Public depictions of women still tend to remain rigid and narrow — about the size of a coffin, say.

    • Joan Frank,
    • "No One Escapes," Desperate Women Need to Talk to You ()
  • The problem that has no name — which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities — is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.

  • Protectiveness has often muffled the sound of doors closing against women ...

  • Each suburban wife struggled with it alone. As she made the beds, shopped for groceries, matched slipcover material, ate peanut butter sandwiches with her children, chauffered Cub Scouts and Brownies, lay beside her husband at night — she was afraid to ask even of herself the silent question — 'Is this all?'

  • Woman naturally seeks to embrace that which is living, personal, and whole. To cherish, guard, protect, nourish and advance growth is her natural, maternal yearning.

  • For a woman to get a rewarding sense of total creation by way of the multiple monotonous chores that are her daily lot would be as irrational as for an assembly line worker to rejoice that he had created an automobile because he tightened a bolt.

  • ... it is one thing to argue that our biological traits make us unfit for professional work. It is another to imply that our biological traits make us fit for dishwashing, floor scrubbing, collar starching, let alone bringing up babies. ... Since when, by the way, do we try to enhance rather compensate for assumed biological handicaps? We provide spectacles for the nearsighted. We don't say, 'Sorry. Don't come to school. You can't see the blackboard. People like you are historically and biologically destined to fail.'

  • When will it no longer be necessary to attach special weight to the word 'woman' and raise it specially?

    • Ding Ling,
    • "Thoughts on March 8" (1942), in I Myself Am a Woman: Selected Writings of Ding Ling ()
  • ... the lowest depth of women's degradation in Christendom was reached in the public sentiment (guided by ecclesiastics) which condemned thousands of poor creatures to be tortured and publicly burnt alive at the stake for their imaginary league with Christendom's imaginary devil!

  • So long as it is women who are mainly in charge of children the double standard will survive.

  • ... while it is a misfortune to a woman never to be loved, it is a tragedy to her never to love.

  • Women's chains have been forged by men, not by anatomy.

  • ... the recurrent drama of menstrual bleeding must have been unnerving to primitive peoples. In man, the shedding of blood is always associated with injury, disease, or death. Only the female half of humanity was seen to have the magical ability to bleed profusely and still rise phoenix-like each month from the gore.

  • Went out last night / With a crowd of my friends / They must have been women / 'Cause I don't like no men ...

    • Ma Rainey,
    • song, "Prove It On Me Blues" ()
  • Married and unmarried women waste a great deal of time in feeling sorry for each other.

  • Women who are not living ought to spend all their time cracking jokes. In a rotten society women grow witty; making a heaven while they wait.

  • ... biological possibility and desire are not the same as biological need. Women have child-bearing equipment. To choose not to use the equipment is no more blocking what is instinctive than it is for a man who, muscles or no, chooses not to be a weight lifter.

  • Scratch most feminists and underneath there is a woman who longs to be a sex object. The difference is that is not all she longs to be.

  • Lucky are you, reader, if you happen not to be of that sex to whom it is forbidden all good things; to whom liberty is denied; to whom almost all virtues are denied; lucky are you if you are one of those who can be wise without its being a crime.

  • There is no such thing as a strictly woman's problem. Any question affecting the welfare of society is a woman's problem.

    • Nancy Astor,
    • speech before the House of Commons, in Alice Stone Blackwell, The Woman Citizen ()
  • Being one woman, truly and wholly, you will be all women — tend one garden, and you will birth worlds.

    • Kate Braverman,
    • in Mickey Pearlman and Katherine Usher Henderson, A Voice of One's Own: Conversations With America's Writing Women ()
  • ... the modern woman asks herself: Is there something wrong with me if my children don't fill up my life?

  • Womanhood is the great fact in her life; wifehood and motherhood are but incidental relations.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • To think that all in me of which my father would have felt proper pride had I been a man, is deeply mortifying to him because I am a woman.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1855, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • [On women's role in the home:] Every wife, mother and housekeeper feels at present that there is some screw loose in the household situation.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • Well-behaved women rarely make history.

    • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich,
    • "Virtuous Women Found: New England Ministerial Literature, 1668-1735," in American Quarterly ()
  • Though the female life force is indomitable, there is no question that millennia of second-class status has left a mark on our psyches. (Make that third-class status if God is involved).

  • I am a woman. My life is a long, strong, twisted rope, made up of a number of human relationships, nothing more.

  • Yours is indeed the half of humanity which keeps the other half guessing. ... I thought you were going to say swearing.

  • What would life be without her? As babies, she borns us; as boys, she bosses us; as men, she owns us; at death, she buries us, and she alone puts flowers on man's grave! Man was made to do her bidding ...

  • [On being asked how it felt to be the first female conductor of the Boston Symphony:] I've been a woman for a little more than fifty years, and I've gotten over my original astonishment.

    • Nadia Boulanger,
    • 1938, in Deborah G. Felder, The 100 Most Influential Women of All Time ()
  • A woman's biography — with about eight famous historical exceptions — so often turns out to be the story of a man and the woman who helped his career.

    • Catherine Drinker Bowen,
    • in Barbara Sicherman and Carol Hurd Green, eds., Notable American Women: The Modern Period ()
  • A culture that doesn't respect half its population will never prosper.

  • We still think of a powerful woman as an anomaly, a potentially dangerous anomaly ...

  • ... I think women are here to stay!

  • It sometimes looks as though woman would not be woman unless man insisted upon it, since she tends so markedly to be just a human being when away from men, and only on their approach does she begin to play her required role.

  • ... it is impossible to attack the problem of poverty in the industrialized or the developing world effectively unless the extent to which poverty is a women's problem is recognized.

  • What all women have in common is that they share most of the unpaid work of the world.

  • 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 ()
  • Women have no wilderness in them, / They are provident instead, / Content in the tight hot cell of their hearts / To eat dusty bread.

  • ... in a time lacking in truth and certainty and filled with anguish and despair, no woman should be shamefaced in attempting to give back to the world, through her work, a portion of its lost heart.

    • Louise Bogan,
    • "The Heart and the Lyre" (1947), A Poet's Alphabet ()
  • [Slogan on T-shirts to raise money for 1978 American Women's Himalayan Expedition to Annapurna:] A woman's place is on top.

  • Oh, God, who does not exist, you hate women, otherwise you'd have made them different.

  • What do women want anyway? as the grand old master of psychology said. Well, hell, there was only one thing I could think of: to be their own men.

  • It's not the vote women need, we should be armed.

  • No nation ever rises higher than its women ...

  • First, women couldn't vote. Then they couldn't work. Now they can't sit down and read the paper.

  • Women, ever since there have been women, have had a way of being people.

  • Of how many women might the history be comprised in those few words — 'she lived, suffered, and was buried'!

    • Anna Jameson,
    • 1834, in Geraldine Macpherson, Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson ()
  • Let me not be sad because I am born a woman / In this world; many saints suffer in this way.

    • Janabai,
    • c. 1340, in Susie Tharu and K. Lalita, eds., Women Writing in India ()
  • Now is the time for our women to begin to try to lift up their heads and plant the roots of progress under the hearthstone.

  • ... His side had won the day, / Had not we women radicals / Just got right in the way.

  • Being alone and liking it is, for a woman, an act of treachery, an infidelity far more threatening than adultery.

  • I long to speak out about the intense inspiration that comes to me from the lives of strong women. They have made of their lives an intense adventure ...

    • Ruth Benedict,
    • in Margaret Mead, An Anthropologist at Work: Writings of Ruth Benedict ()
  • [Honoring 'a hundred gallant women' who had been imprisoned for their suffragist activities:] The suffrage pickets stood at the White House gates for ten months and dramatized the women's agitation for political liberty. Self-respecting and patriotic American women will no longer tolerate a government which denies women the right to govern themselves. A flame of rebellion is abroad among women, and the stupidity and brutality of the government in this revolt have only served to increase its heat.

  • In a society in which money determines value, women are a group who work outside the money economy.

    • Margaret Benston,
    • "The Political Economy of Women's Liberation," Monthly Review ()
  • ... women's entry into the public sphere can be seen not merely as the result of contemporary economic pressures, the high rate of divorce, or the success of the feminist movement, but rather as a profound evolutionary response to a pervasive cultural crisis. Feminine principles are entering the public realm because we can no longer afford to restrict them to the private domestic sphere, nor allow a public culture obsessed with Warrior values to control human destiny if we are to survive.

  • Women often get dropped from memory, and then history.

  • But if God had wanted us to think just with our wombs, why did He give us a brain?

  • I owe my greatest success to women. Contrary to the assertion that women do all in their power to hinder one another's progress, I have found that it has always been one of my own sex who has given me a helping hand when I needed it.

  • ... many women gave me real aid when I stood at the crossroads. Too many women go around these days saying women in important positions don't help their own sex, but that was never my experience. The list is endless, believe me.

  • Whatever a woman is doing, there's always something else she should be doing.

  • Woman! woman! What a disturbing element you are in the universe — man's universe!

  • Women are socialized to be nice, to be docile. I call it 'shrink to fit': Shrink yourself to fit what others expect of you.

    • Meg Ryan,
    • in Oprah Winfrey, O's Guide to Life ()
  • To say 'divine feminine' is redundant.

    • Rachel Bagby,
    • 1988, in Nina Boyd Krebs, Changing Woman Changing Work ()
  • From birth to age eighteen, a girl needs good parents. From eighteen to thirty-five, she needs good looks. From thirty-five to fifty-five, she needs a good personality. From fifty-five on, she needs good cash.

  • Motherhood and homemaking are honorable choices for any woman, provided it is the woman herself who makes those decisions.

  • In no human society except America during the 1950s do women stay home and not do anything.

  • A woman's life can really be a succession of lives, each revolving around some emotionally compelling situation or challenge, and each marked off by some intense experience.

  • It's shocking what happens to mothers in this country. They die at 40 and they're not buried until they're 80.

    • Ruth Osborne,
    • in Evelyn Oppenheimer, The Articulate Woman ()
  • ... you have not a boat of your own, that is just it; that is what women always suffer from; they have to steer, but the craft is some one else's, and the haul too.

  • Is it to be imagined ... that women were made for no other purpose than to fabricate sweetmeats and gingerbread, construct shirts, darn stockings, and become mothers of possible presidents? Assuredly not. Should the women of America ever discover what their power might be, and compare it with what it is, much improvement might be hoped for.

  • The men who espoused unpopular causes may have been considered misguided, but they were rarely attacked for their morals or their masculinity. Women who did the same thing were apt to be denounced as harlots or condemned for being unfeminine — an all-purpose word that was used to describe almost any category of female behavior of which men disapproved.

  • Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • speech (1851), in Olive Gilbert, Narrative of Sojourner Truth ()
  • Women run on expectations, the way a car is fueled by gas. And it doesn't matter whose: unspoken assignments from parents, bosses, clients, children, and lovers crowd our calendars' borders, in ink only we can see.

  • I'm all for women myself. I believe they're the comin' man.

  • Other books have been written by men physicians ... One would suppose in reading them that women possessed but one class of physical organs, and that these are always diseased. Such teaching is pestiferous, and tends to cause and perpetuate the very evils it professes to remedy.

  • ... happy women get softer and rounder.

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

  • When we liberate the economic potential of women, we elevate the economic performance of communities, nations, and the world. There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries: greater political stability. Fewer military conflicts. More food. More educational opportunity for children. By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people.

  • Becoming a woman is an act partly of nature and partly of self-invention.

  • A popular saying in Alderson went as follows: 'They work us like a horse, feed us like a bird, treat us like a child, dress us like a man — and then expect us to act like a lady.'

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

  • So much conspires to silence us — because our truths are inherently subversive.

  • The text-books for girls were carefully edited, and their knowledge of 'science' was to be limited to a few 'popular and amusing facts,' but in return for this intellectual emancipation they were strongly advised by the educational authorities of the time to avoid all disputes, to give up their opinions, even if they knew they were in the right, and finally (and in this all authorities, male and female, united as one man) never to allow it to be suspected that they knew anything or their matrimonial chances were gone forever.

    • Mary K. Ford,
    • Women's Progress: A Comparison of Centuries
    • ()
  • After centuries of conditioning of the female into the condition of perpetual girlishness called femininity, we cannot remember what femaleness is.

  • A black man walking through certain white neighborhoods or a white man walking though certain black neighborhoods can understand the fear of unprovoked attack. It is the same fear a woman has when she walks down the street at night — any street, even her own. Women are always in someone else's territory.

    • Andra Medea,
    • in Andrea Medea and Kathleen Thompson, Against Rape ()
  • Women are not inherently passive or peaceful. We're not inherently anything but human.

    • Robin Morgan,
    • in Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed ()
  • The Confucian concept and Chinese ideograms for 'woman' and for 'slave' are the same.

  • The egg cackles and lays the chicken.

  • As we've frequently had to remind politicians, women were not born Democrats, Republicans, or yesterday.

  • A woman can do anything she wants as long as she doesn't do anything she wants! She can go anywhere she likes as long as she stays put!

  • They talk about a woman's sphere as though it had a limit; / There's not a place in earth or heaven, / There's not a task to mankind given, / There's not a blessing or a woe, / There's not a whispered 'yes' or 'no,' / There's not a life, or death, or birth, / That has a feather's weight of worth / Without a woman in it.

    • Kate Field,
    • in U.S. Department of Commerce, Domestic Commerce ()
  • I believe that woman is the equal of man — if she is. That woman is no better than man — unless she is.

  • Women were the slave class that maintained the species in order to free the other half for the business of the world ...

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

    • Celia Gilbert,
    • in Sara Ruddick and Pamela Daniels, eds., Working It Out ()
  • Women? We are as realistic as yesterday and as inevitable as tomorrow.

    • Myriam,
    • in Robin Morgan, The Word of a Woman ()
  • And I was to find out then, as I found out so many times, over and over again, that women especially are social beings, who are not content with just husband and family, but must have a community, a group, an exchange with others. A child is not enough. A husband and children, no matter how busy one may be kept by them, are not enough. Young and old, even in the busiest years of our lives, we women especially are victims of the long loneliness.

  • Woman is the ozone of the metaphysical atmosphere.

    • Minnie D. Louis,
    • "The Influence of Women in Bringing Religious Conviction to Bear Upon Daily Life" (1895), in Ellen M. Umansky and Dianne Ashton, eds., Four Centuries of Jewish Women's Spirituality ()
  • I'm glad I'm a woman because I don't have to worry about getting men pregnant.

    • Nell Dunn,
    • in Sarah Parvis, ed., Good Girls Finish Last ()
  • A woman's work, from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed, is as hard as a day at war, worse than a man's working day. ... To men, women's work was like the rain-bringing clouds, or the rain itself. The task involved was carried out every day as regularly as sleep. So men were happy — men in the Middle Ages, men at the time of the Revolution, and men in 1986: everything in the garden was lovely.

  • ... I got a flash of ... what it means, now, 'you can't be too rich or too thin.' How well it works, will keep on working, because the vast majority of women will never be thin. Thin enough. How well the hope of class mobility keeps every mother dieting, and handing the diets down to her daughter, hoping the daughter may do even better. When you combine this with the fact that many non-white peoples tend to be heavier than white folks, dieting becomes a tool not only in enforcing class but in encouraging assimilation.

    • Elana Dykewomon,
    • "Traveling Fat," in Christian McEwen and Sue O'Sullivan, eds., Out the Other Side ()
  • The practice of putting women on pedestals began to die out when it was discovered that they could give orders better from that position.

  • The figure of a handsome woman, blindfolded, holding a pair of scales in her outstretched, majestic hand, was used by Man to symbolize the Spirit of Justice long before he admitted any of her sex to the bar or jury duty ... Man has always liked to have some woman, especially one about eight feet high and of earnest aspect, to represent his ideas or inventions. At the same time, of course, he anxiously thwarted her attempts to utilize the inventions or pursue the theories he held. Thus, he wanted women to be illiterate, but to represent the Spirit of Education ... He wanted some smiling damsel to typify Architecture for him, but never to build his houses. And, much as he insisted on having his women folk meek and shy, he was always portraying them blowing trumpets and leading his armies to war.

    • Miriam Beard,
    • "Woman Springs from Allegory to Life," in The New York Times ()
  • ... the dogma of woman's complete historical subjection to man must be rated as one of the most fantastic myths ever created by the human mind.

  • Despite the modern dogma to the effect that women were a subject sex until the nineteenth century 'emancipated' them from history, women in history had demonstrated strong wills and purposes, had made assertions, and had directed or influenced all human destiny, including their own, since human life began.

    • Mary Ritter Beard,
    • "Feminism as a Social Phenomenon," in Woman's Press Magazine ()
  • Seeking approval and acceptance from a male hierarchy in the workplace is an all-too-familiar and illusive goal to almost every woman of any age, and the search for personal and professional fulfillment while meeting the needs of children and husbands remains a juggling act. Should I be working, should I be home? Who needs me most or dare I be alone? The mental radar is always scanning the skies to see who needs what.

  • I don't want to send all the married women to work, but what I want is an economic situation where every woman who prefers to be a full-time homemaker and mother may do so, and every woman who wants to be in an outside situation has sufficient, satisfactory childcare available to her so that she can do it without feeling guilty.

    • Beryl Beaurepaire,
    • in Susan Mitchell, The Matriarchs: Twelve Australian Women Talk About Their Lives ()
  • Women never have an half-hour in all their lives (excepting before or after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up so late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have 'no time in the day to themselves.'

  • Woman must have a purse of her own.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1853, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • ... women ... are doing more than half of the work in this world and more than half of the loving. Because of that, I think women also have more than half the fatigue and suffering in this world.

  • ... we are not afraid to rock the boat. Making waves. This is what Asian American women have done and will continue to do.

    • Asian Women United of CA,
    • in Asian Women United of California, ed., Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings By and About Asian American Women ()
  • Here is how it is for women. We become our schedules. That starts to feel good. Then it starts to feel necessary. Then it starts to feel like everything.

  • ... no woman should say, 'I am but a woman!' But a woman! What more can you ask to be?

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1874), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • ... a woman's life ... had two parts, one when she must transmit, like stored honey, all that she had to give. Then, unlike the queen bee, she did not die, her work done; but out of the inexhaustible core of her deepest personality, started in again to weave for herself a soul, a being, strong enough to face the rigors of eternity.

  • Girls do what their mothers tell them. Ladies do what society tells them. Women make up their own minds.

  • ... women ... are the custodians of the world's best kept secret: / Merely the private lives of one-half of humanity.

    • Carolyn Kizer,
    • "Pro Femina" (1963), Cool, Calm, and Collected: Poems 1960-2000 ()
  • I'm just a person trapped inside a woman's body.

  • We have women in the military, but they don't put us in the front lines. They don't know if we can fight or if we can kill. I think we can. All the general has to do is walk over to the women and say, 'You see the enemy over there? They say you look fat in those uniforms.'

  • Consideration for Women Is the Measure of a Nation's Progress.

  • Women are not a special interest group in the usual sense of the term. We are half the population.

  • Remember, 20 percent of women have inferiority complexes, 70 percent have illusions.

  • Women, whatever Godfrey may tell you, make excellent men of business. They are, if anything, over-prudent, over-cautious where money is concerned; but that is a very good fault in a trustee.

  • ... we always are thinking of a woman when we generalize about women.

  • It is dangerous for a woman to defy the gods; / To taunt them with the tongue's thin tip ...

    • Anne Spencer,
    • "Letter to My Sister," in Langston Hughes and Arna Bontemps, eds., The Poetry of the Negro 1746-1949 ()
  • They talk about a woman's sphere, / As though it had a limit. / There's not a place in earth or heaven, / There's not a task to mankind given, / There's not a blessing or a woe, / There's not a whisper, yes or no, / There's not a life, a death, a birth, / That has a feather's weight of worth, / Without a woman in it!

  • I am woman, hear me roar / In numbers too big to ignore, / And I know too much / To go back and pretend.

    • Helen Reddy,
    • with Ray Burton, "I Am Woman," song ()
  • If I have to, I can do anything. / I am strong; I am invincible; I am woman.

    • Helen Reddy,
    • with Ray Burton, "I Am Woman," song ()
  • There are only two periods in a woman's life when she hopes to be taken for older than she is, under sixteen and over ninety.

  • And that's the trouble with us women. When we look to men to be the answer to our dreams, we usually end up with nightmares.

  • Female biology can illuminate or desolate — but it can never be underestimated.

  • Forgive you? — Oh, of course, dear, / A dozen times a week! / We women were created / Forgiveness but to speak. / ... / And one day you'll be grieving, / And chiding me, no doubt, / Because so much forgiving / Has worn a great love out.

    • Ella Higginson,
    • "Wearing Out Love," When the Birds Go North Again ()
  • If you're going to generalize about women, you'll find yourself up to here in exceptions.

  • While only women can have babies, it must be remembered that they are not always having them.

  • One good thing about being a woman is we haven't too many examples yet of what a genius looks like. It could be me.

  • I've always believed that one woman's success can only help another woman's success.

  • ... women were more victimized by nature. The incongruity was doubled in their case, for women, supposed to be endowed with greater sensitiveness, finer perception, and responsiveness to the ethical and aesthetic, were peculiarly the victims of physical being and hence the subject of more ribaldry than men. It was no wonder maternity had been sentimentalized. It had to be either that or the most boisterous aspect of the bad joke. No wonder decent women could not enjoy vulgarity. It came too close to being truth for them.

  • Not many women today live simple lives. We are workers, mothers, wives, daughters, friends, kin-keepers, hostesses, volunteers, and many other things to many people. We are overworked and overwhelmed. We are tired.

  • The art of being a woman can never consist of being a bad imitation of a man.

  • 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 Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds., The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women ()
  • As the feminist saying goes, 'Women deliver.' In other words, when women control resources, the social gain is greater than when men control resources.

    • Linda Gordon,
    • "Translating Our Bodies, Ourselves," in The Nation ()
  • The Conservative Establishment has always treated women as nannies, grannies and fannies.

  • Bitches are good examples of how women can be strong enough to survive even the rigid, punitive socialization of our society. As young girls it never quite penetrated their consciousness that women were supposed to be inferior to men in any but the mother/helpmate role. They asserted themselves as children and never really internalized the slave style of wheedling and cajolery which is called feminine ... All Bitches refused, in mind and spirit, to conform to the idea that there were limits on what they could be and do.

    • Joreen,
    • "The Bitch Manifesto," in Anne Koedt, Ellen Levine, Anita Rapone, eds., Radical Feminism ()
  • I've always thought that the most perfect fate which could befall any woman would be to be born a rich widow.

  • ... sentences that begin with 'all women' are never, never true.

  • Too many women in too many countries speak the same language — silence.

  • Where there is a woman there is magic.

  • right now being born a girl is to be born threatened ...

  • ... women should no longer be ashamed to glory in being women, or to enjoy the satisfactions that are unique to women, such as motherhood. When women feel that they must divest themselves of their uniquely feminine qualities, they are not achieving equality, but losing identity. To be somebody, a woman does not have to be more like a man, but has to be more of a woman.

  • Let Greeks be Greeks, and women what they are.

    • Anne Bradstreet,
    • prologue, "The Tenth Muse, Lately Sprung Up in America" (1650), in John Harvard Ellis, ed, The Works of Anne Bradstreet in Prose and Verse ()
  • ... women's reality has been perceived as fiction. Let us name some of those realities here: maternity, rape, prostitution, chronic fatigue, verbal, physical, and mental violence. Newspapers present these as stories, not fact.

  • ... a woman has been trained ever since she was a little girl to look in the mirror, not to see what's right, but to check what's wrong. Women are inclined to see their flaws rather than their assets.

  • These is old blues / and I sing em like any woman do. / These the old blues / and I sing em, sing em, sing em. Just like any woman do. / My life ain't done yet. / Naw. My song ain't through.

  • Women will not, for many a year, perhaps never, descend again to the status of toys.

  • ... women are the true maintenance class. Society is built upon their acquiescence, and upon their small and necessary labors.

  • I think there's a sense of power women don't get till we're older when we say, 'This is the line, and you're not stepping over it.'

  • Sisterhood is powerful.

    • Kathie Sarachild,
    • flier for keynote speech, New York Radical Women action ()
  • [On women:] We are all yeses. We are worthy enough, we passed inspection, we survived the great fetal oocyte extinctions. In that sense, at least — call it a mechanospiritual sense — we are meant to be. We are good eggs, every one of us.

  • Now that you have touched the women, you have struck a rock, you have dislodged a boulder, and you will be crushed.

    • Anonymous,
    • South African chant used in the campaign against the pass laws (1956), in Angela Davis, Women, Culture & Politics ()
  • It's a wise man that understands that no two women are alike.

  • Calling all sisters. Calling all / Righteous sisters. / Calling all women.

    • Ruby Dee,
    • "Calling All Women," My One Good Nerve ()
  • We are the ones we've been waiting for.

    • June Jordan,
    • "Poem to South African Women," Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems of June Jordan ()
  • One can hardly tell women that washing up saucepans is their divine mission, [so] they are told that bringing up children is their divine mission. But the way things are in the world, bringing up children has a great deal in common with washing up saucepans.

  • I am Nature, the universal Mother, mistress of all the elements, primordial child of time, sovereign of all things spiritual, queen of the dead, queen also of the immortals, the single manifestation of all gods and goddesses that are. My nod governs the shining heights of Heaven, the wholesome sea-breezes, the lamentable silences of the world below. Though I am worshipped in many aspects, known by countless names, and propitiated with all manner of different rites, yet the whole round earth venerates me.

    • Isis,
    • hymn recorded at Philae Egypt, in Eloise McKinney-Johnson, "Egypt's Isis: The Original Black Madonna," Journal of African Civilizations ()
  • Women hold up half the sky.

    • Anonymous,
    • Chinese proverb, in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide ()
  • Now that you have touched the women, you have struck a rock, you have dislodged a boulder, and you will be crushed.

    • Anonymous,
    • South African chant used in the campaign against the pass laws (1956), in Angela Davis, Women, Culture & Politics ()
  • Stop telling women to smile.

  • You are not entitled to my space.

  • ... woman's cause is one and universal ...

    • Anna Julia Cooper,
    • "The Intellectual Progress of the Colored Woman in the United States Since the Emancipation Proclamation" (1893), in The Voice of Anna Julia Cooper ()
  • That's what makes life so hard for women, that instead of thinking that this is the way things are, we always think it's the way we are.

  • Daughters, the women are speaking / They arrive / over the wise distances / on perfect feet. / Daughters, I love you.

    • Linda Hogan,
    • "The Women Speaking," in Rayna Green, ed., That's What She Said: Contemporary Poetry and Fiction by Native American Women ()
  • Never, ever accept 'because you are a woman' as a reason for doing or not doing anything.

  • Women are meant to sing all the time, / Just listen. / That's why water plays an endless tune / And trees whisper secrets to the moon.

    • Nancy Wood,
    • "What Women Are, A Legend," Shaman's Circle ()
  • We are an entire generation of women who are making up our lives as we go along.

  • A woman has got to be able to say, and not feel guilty, 'Who am I, and what do I want out of life?'

  • The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own. There is no other way.

  • Not a single woman in the room could handle being told, 'You’re awesome.' I couldn’t handle being told I am awesome. What in the hell is wrong with us?

  • We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.

  • It’s hard to imagine how women made the leap into professions for which they had no role models, no invitation, and very little encouragement.

  • [Peaches' reply when it was mentioned she'd been arrested 25 times in the past 6 months:] Well, no woman's perfect.

  • what is 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.

  • If you have never been called a defiant, incorrigible, impossible woman ... have faith. There is yet time.

  • Is woman a lost sex? If so, is she the only lost sex? Has woman alone conceived all the vipers in our land?

  • Men fear being used; women fear being used up.

  • Men are not amusing during the shooting season; but, after all, my dear, men were not especially designed to amuse women.

  • We are nearly all composed of such a complex mixture of human qualities that in each one of us reside both masculine and feminine principles: what man is without any female attribute and what woman never demonstrates any masculine characteristics?

    • Natalie Clifford Barney,
    • 1963, in Anna Livia, ed., A Perilous Advantage: The Best of Natalie Clifford Barney ()
  • When a man falls in love, he wants to go to bed. When a woman falls in love, she wants to talk about it.

  • If men ever discovered how tough women actually are, they would be scared to death.

  • The feminine in the man is the sugar in the whisky. The masculine in the woman is the yeast in the bread. Without these ingredients the result is flat, without tang or flavor.

  • A good woman is known by what she does; a good man by what he doesn't.

  • After marriage, a woman's sight becomes so keen that she can see right through her husband without looking at him, and a man's so dull that he can look right through his wife without seeing her.

  • Eternity: The interval between the time when a woman discovers that a man is in love with her and the time when he finds it out himself and tells her about it.

  • Women who insist on having the same options as men would do well to consider the option of being the strong, silent type.

  • Different though the sexes are, they intermix. In every human being a vacillation from one sex to the other takes place, and often it is only the clothes that keep the male or female likeness.

  • Women have served all these centuries as looking-glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.

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

  • Perhaps a mind that is purely masculine cannot create, any more than a mind that is purely feminine ... It is fatal to be a man or woman pure and simple; one must be woman-manly or man-womanly.

  • ... women speak because they wish to speak, whereas a man speaks only when driven to speech by something outside himself — like, for instance, he can't find any clean socks ...

  • If American men are obsessed with money, American women are obsessed with weight. The men talk of gain, the women talk of loss, and I do not know which talk is the more boring.

  • A man at his desk in a room with a closed door is a man at work. A woman at a desk in any room is available.

  • What is asserted by a man is an opinion; what is asserted by a woman is opinionated. A woman with ideas and the ability to express them is something of a social embarrassment, like an unhousebroken pet.

  • A critical, strong speech made by a man is 'blunt' or "outspoken" or 'pulls no punches.' A speech of similar force and candor made by a woman is 'waspish,' 'sarcastic,' or 'cutting.' A man of strong opinions is defined as having 'deep convictions.' A woman so constituted is merely 'opinionated,' and always 'aggressive.'

  • When women can cherish the vulnerability of men as much as men can exult in the strength of women, a new breed could lift a ruinous yoke from both.

  • ... I'm not denyin' the women are foolish: God Almighty made 'em to match the men.


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  • To be happy with a man you must understand him a lot and love him a little; to be happy with a woman you must love her a lot and not try to understand her at all.

  • There is only one sex. A man and a woman are so entirely the same thing that one can scarcely understand the subtle reasons for sex distinctions with which our minds are filled.

    • George Sand,
    • in Marie Jenney Howe, George Sand and the Search for Love ()
  • It's a great shame that the world was organized with two sexes. It makes for a lot of trouble.

  • Lots of men hate women now-a-days. ... It was a man-made world, and now we're asking to go shares in the making.

  • I think every individual, and every society, is perfected just in proportion to the combination, and cooperation, of masculine and feminine elements of character. He is the most perfect man who is affectionate as well as intellectual; and she is the most perfect woman who is intellectual as well as affectionate. Every art and science becomes more interesting, viewed both from the masculine and feminine points of view.

  • 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.

  • ... a woman may be called a wife and mother for most of her life, while a man is called a husband and father only at his funeral.

  • Women might be able to fake orgasms. But men can fake whole relationships.

  • Of course men play roles, but women play roles too, blanker ones. They have, in the play of life, fewer good lines.

  • Women are more accommodating. If a woman drinks the last glass of apple juice in the refrigerator, she'll make more apple juice. If a man drinks the last glass of apple juice, he'll just put back the empty container.

  • Men have better self-images than women. You know what I've never seen in a men's magazine? A makeover.

  • Men have an easier time buying bathing suits. Women have two types: depressing and more depressing. Men have two types: nerdy and not nerdy.

  • There is not a man shortage. There is actually a man excess. Look at the House of Representatives. Look at the Senate. Look at the tenured faculty in any American college. You will see an appalling man excess, which means a woman shortage.

  • The condition of women affords in all countries the best criterion by which to judge the character of men.

  • Men are taught to apologize for their weaknesses, women for their strengths.

  • I feel sorry for men. They have more problems than women, because they now have to compete with women.

  • The freedom women were supposed to have found in the Sixties largely boiled down to easy contraception and abortion: things to make life easier for men, in fact.

  • I read recently in an article by G.K. Chesterton, that sex without gestation and parturition is like blowing the trumpets and waving the flags without doing any of the fighting. From a woman such words, though displaying inexperience, might come with dignity; from a man they are an unforgivable, intolerable insult. What is man's part in sex but a perpetual waving of flags and blowing of trumpets and avoidance of the fighting?

  • ... war and the 'war of the sexes' are neither divinely nor biologically ordained.

  • ... there are only two basic ways of structuring the relations between the female and male halves of humanity. All societies are patterned on either a dominator model — in which human hierarchies are ultimately backed up by force or the threat of force — or a partnership model, with variations in between.

  • You bore me ... when you talk about one sex or the other, as if they were separate things. There is only one human entity and that is a man and a woman.

  • If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.

  • The cocks may crow, but it's the hen that lays the egg.

  • Not one man, in the million, shall I say? no, not in the hundred million, can rise above the belief that woman was made for man ...

  • Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But, in fact, they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.

  • When a man says he doesn't understand a woman it's because he won't take the trouble.

  • A man murmurs 'Who came before me?' A woman asks 'Who will come after me?'

  • The difference between man's love and woman's is she loves with all her heart and soul; he, with all his mind and body.

  • Men give love because they want sex. Women give sex because they want love. That's the difference between men and women. Ever notice how when we talk about our love lives, it's always about a man? Singular. All most of us want is one good man. But when men talk, it's about women. Plural. They want as many as they can get.

  • Whatever they may be in public life, whatever their relations with men, in their relations with women, all men are rapists and that's all they are. They rape us with their eyes, their laws, and their codes.

  • When a man loses superiority, he loses potency. That's what all this talk about castrating women is about. Castrating women are those who refuse to pretend men are better than they are and better than women are. The simple truth — that men are only equal — can undermine a culture more devastatingly than any bomb. Subversion is telling the truth.

  • 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 ()
  • I never can see why they make such a fuss and get so frightened because wimmen does a thing or two now they usedn't to. Nothing short of a earthquake can make them not men an' wimmmen, an' that's the main thing.

  • ' ... Men always say there is no female Shakespeare.' 'Humph! You study the fellows who say that, and you'll see they are a long way from being Shakespeares themselves. Why shouldn't women have the same privilege?'

  • ... I early became conscious that men breathe more audibly than women. Sit in a room in silence with men and women, and you can always hear the men breathing.

  • How true it is that men live for Things and women for People!

  • Every great man has a woman behind him ... And every great woman has some man or other in front of her, tripping her up.

  • '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?'

  • The first thing that strikes the careless observer is that women are unlike men. They are 'the opposite sex' — (though why 'opposite' I do not know; what is the 'neighbouring sex'?).

  • I sometimes think men don't 'hear' very well, if I take your meaning to be 'understand what is going on in a person.' That's what makes them so restful. Women wear each other out with their everlasting touching of the nerve.

  • Women are / Superior to men in every way, / But chiefly in the intellect.

  • Consider the 'new' woman. She's trying to be Pollyanna Borgia, clearly a conflict of interest. She's supposed to be a ruthless winner at work and a bundle of nurturing sweetness at home. It remains for each woman to find her place and each man his in this cultural chaos of mixed signals.

  • Femininity and masculinity are social constructs. Female and male are biological. We don't have to learn to be men or women but we do have to learn to be ladies and gentlemen.

  • A man loves a woman so much, he asks her to marry — to change her name, quit her job, have and raise his babies, be home when he gets there, move where his job is. You can hardly imagine what he might ask if he didn't love her.

    • Gabrielle Burton,
    • "No One Has a Corner on Depression, But Housewives Are Working on It," in Mary Kay Blakely, The New York Times ()
  • Men and women, women and men. It will never work ...

  • A women needs a man like a fish needs a net.

  • The only difference between men and women is that women are able to create new little human beings in their bodies while simultaneously writing books, driving tractors, working in offices, planting crops — in general, doing everything men do.

  • You see an awful lot of smart guys with dumb women, but you hardly ever see a smart woman with a dumb guy.

  • As women got little crumbs of power, men began to act paranoid — as if we'd disabled them utterly. Do all women have to keep silent for men to speak? Do all women have to be legless for men to walk?

  • Men must be stripped of arrogance and women must become independent for any mutually nurturing alliance to endure between the sexes.

    • Erica Jong,
    • "Jane Eyre's Unbroken Will," What Do Women Want? ()
  • If the men in the room would only think how they would feel graduating with a 'spinster of arts' degree they would see how important this is.

  • ... we are becoming the men we wanted to marry.

  • More women are becoming the men they wanted to marry, but too few men are becoming the women they wanted to marry. That leaves most women with two jobs, one outside the home and one in it ...

  • ... the system which admits the unworthy to the vote provided they are men, and shuts out the worthy provided they are women, is so unjust and illogical that its perpetuation is a sad reflection upon American thinking.

  • Had I been crested, not cloven, my Lords, you had not treated me thus.

    • Elizabeth I,
    • to courtiers, in Nigel Nicolson, Portrait of a Marriage ()
  • [On being criticized for her serious expression:] I simply ache from smiling. Why are women expected to beam all the time? It's unfair. If a man looks solemn, it's automatically assumed he's a serious person, not a miserable one.

  • ... a woman who has known but one man is like a person who has heard only one composer.

  • 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 ()
  • Be plain in dress, and sober in your diet, / In short, my deary, kiss me! and be quiet.

    • Lady Mary Wortley Montagu,
    • "A Summary of Lord Lyttleton's Advice to a Lady" (1768), The Works of the Right Honorable Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, vol. 5 ()
  • I have never in all my various travels seen but two sorts of people, and those very like one another; I mean men and women, who always have been and ever will be the same.

  • It was the usual masculine disillusionment in discovering that a woman has a brain.

  • If God had made a woman before he made a man, that might've been the end of creation. A woman, used to having the run of the Garden, and all of its say-so to herself, might've raised Jesse with God if she'd been roused up one morning to find a rib missing, and a man there to spoil the quiet and mess up the neatness and to pounce on her in the one-flesh act.

  • Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy, fat women.

  • ... 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.'

  • ... 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.

  • The ladies here probably exchanged looks which meant, 'Men never know when things are dirty or not;' and the gentlemen perhaps thought each to himself, 'Women will have their little nonsenses and needless cares.'

  • The freer that women become, the freer will men be. Because when you enslave someone — you are enslaved.

  • Margaret Atwood, the Canadian novelist, once asked a group of women at a university why they felt threatened by men. The women said they were afraid of being beaten, raped, or killed by men. She then asked a group of men why they felt threatened by women. They said they were afraid women would laugh at them.

    • Molly Ivins,
    • in Regina Barreca, ed., The Penguin Book of Women's Humor ()
  • Let the sexes mutually forgive each other their follies; or, what is much better, let them combine their talents for their general advantage.

  • Love occupies a vast space in a woman's thoughts, but fills a small portion in a man's life.

  • Francesca's was a grievance of which most of her sex have to complain; a man's letter is always the most unsatisfactory thing in the world. There are none of those minute details which are such a solace to feminine anxiety; the mere fact of writing, always seems sufficient to content a masculine conscience.

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

  • There should be an end to the bitterness of feeling which has arisen between the sexes in this century.

  • A house does not need a wife any more than it does a husband.

  • A man does not have to stay at home all day, in order to love it; why should a woman?

  • Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn't make sense not to use both.

  • When women are angry at men, they call them heartless. When men are angry at women, they call them crazy.

  • Women do not have to depend on men in order to advance in leadership. Women in the United States would not be able to vote today if they waited for men to give them the vote. It is the same for feminine leadership in any field. Women have to work for what they believe in and cause it to happen. The problems that men have in accepting women will be overcome by women, not by men.

  • ... I suppose it is because woman's courage is mental and man's physical, that in times of great strain women always make the better showing.

  • Men love a joke — on the other fellow. But your really humorous woman loves a joke on herself.

  • Men play harder than they work; women work harder than they play.

  • Girls inevitably grew into women, but something of the boy persisted in every man.

  • She had always been too wise to tell him all she thought and felt, knowing by some intuition of her own womanhood that no man wants to know everything of any woman.

  • The concept of 'Momism' is male nonsense. It is the refuge of a man seeking excuses for his own lack of virility. I have listened to many women in various countries, and I have never found a woman who willingly 'mothers' her husband. The very idea is repulsive to her. She wants to mother the children while they are young, but never their fathers. True, she may be forced into the role of mother by a man's weaknesses and childishness, and then she accepts the role with dignity and patience, or with anger and impatience, but always with a secret, profound sadness unexpressed and inexpressible.

  • I do not think women understand how repelled a man feels when he sees a woman wholly absorbed in what she is thinking, unless it is about her child, or her husband, or her lover. It ... gives one gooseflesh.

    • Rebecca West,
    • "There Is No Conversation," The Harsh Voice ()
  • It struck her that the difference between men and women is the rock on which civilization will split before it can reach any goal that could justify its expenditure of effort.

  • Idiocy is the female defect ... It is no worse than the male defect, which is lunacy ...

  • ... men are not realists — only women are.

  • Women are as old as they feel, and men are old when they lose their feelings.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • I believe in the single standard for men and women.

    • Mae West,
    • in Joseph Weintraub, ed., The Wit and Wisdom of Mae West ()
  • When a woman goes wrong, a man goes right after her.

  • I have never heard of a male artist concerned about the effect of his growth and expansion on his family. We accept the fact that his work justifies all sacrifices. But woman does not feel this is enough of a justification.

    • Anaïs Nin,
    • "The New Woman," in Ramparts Magazine ()
  • Women, I contend, are not men's equals in anything except responsibility. We are not their inferiors, either, or even their superiors. We are quite simply different races.

    • Phyllis McGinley,
    • "The Honor of Being a Woman," The Province of the Heart ()
  • It is well known that a mother with fatherless children drove some man away with her bitchiness, while a father with motherless children is the tender victim of some selfish woman.

  • I long to hear that you have declared an independency — and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation. That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter to her husband, John Adams (1776), in L.H. Butterfield et al., eds., The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family 1762-1784 ()
  • Whilst you are proclaiming peace and good will to men, emancipating all nations, you insist upon retaining an absolute power over wives. But ... notwithstanding all your wise laws and maxims we have it in our power not only to free ourselves but to subdue our masters, and without violence throw both your natural and legal authority at our feet.

    • Abigail Adams,
    • letter to her husband, John Adams (1776), in L.H. Butterfield et al., eds., The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family 1762-1784 ()
  • ... man and woman are two locked caskets, of which each contains the key to the other.

  • Women lead in ways different from men's. Men, I think, have been programmed to give orders. Women have been programmed to motivate people, to educate them, to bring out the best in them. Ours is a less authoritarian leadership. I think women tend to play hardball less often. This is the trend of office politics anyway: the days of warring factions are over. We're talking now in terms of cooperation, and I think that is the game women play best.

    • Muriel Fox,
    • in Marilyn Loden, Feminine Leadership ()
  • A true conception of the relation of the sexes will not admit of conqueror and conquered; it knows of but one great thing; to give of one's self boundlessly, in order to find one's self richer, deeper, better.

  • ... true emancipation ... will have to do away with the absurd notion of the dualism of the sexes, or that man and woman represent two antagonistic worlds.

    • Emma Goldman,
    • "The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation," Anarchism ()
  • Women are door-mats and have been; / The years those mats applaud — / They keep their men from going in / With muddy feet to God.

  • The fact is that men need women more than women need men; and so, aware of this fact, man has sought to keep woman dependent upon him economically as the only method open to him of making himself necessary to her.

  • The lecturer in a marriage course at one of the big Eastern colleges for women recently said that a woman, even if she earns money, must act as if her husband were the important member of the family financially. She said this was the right psychological approach. It's not only the right psychological approach, but it's a recognition of fact.

  • In a woman-dominated society like our own, it's a cinch for a successful wife to spotlight her work, in public. If she's too successful, that's something to avoid as a conversational topic, at least among her husband's friends.

  • Woman throughout the ages has been mistress to the law, as man has been its master.

  • I will be neither man nor woman, / I will be just a human.

    • Anna Wickham,
    • "The Revolt of Wives," The Contemplative Quarry ()
  • There are no medicine men without medicine women. A medicine man is given power by a woman, and it has always been that way. A medicine man stands in the place of the dog. He is merely an instrument of woman. It doesn't look that way anymore, but it is true.

  • ... I just wish, when neither of us has written to my husband's mother, I didn't feel so much worse about it than he does.

  • It might be marvelous to be a man — then I could stop worrying about what's fair to women and just cheerfully assume I was superior, and that they had all been born to iron my shirts. Better still, I could be an Irish man — then I would have all the privileges of being male without giving up the right to be wayward, temperamental and an appealing minority.

  • I don't think men try to make women be like them, but I think women try to make men be like them, a lot.

  • It takes three or four women to get each man into, through, and out of the world.

  • Now we are expected to be as wise as men who have had generations of all the help there is, and we scarcely anything.

  • 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 ()
  • We know of no culture that has said, articulately, that there is no difference between men and women except in the way they contribute to the creation of the next generation.

  • ... 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.

  • Women want mediocre men, and men are working hard to be as mediocre as possible.

  • ... the assumption that men and woman are essentially alike in all respects, or even in the most important ones, is a damaging one, as damaging as the assumption that they are different in ways in which they aren't different, perhaps more so ...

    • Margaret Mead,
    • 1938, in Margaret M. Caffrey and Patricia A. Francis, eds., To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead ()
  • ... the right line of conduct is the same for both sexes, though the manner in which it is pursued, may somewhat vary, and be accommodated to the strength or weakness of the different travelers.

  • Because of our social circumstances, male and female are really two cultures and their life experiences are utterly different.

  • A woman has all too much substance in a man's eyes at the best of times. That is why men like women to be slim. Her lack of flesh negates her. The less of her there is, the less notice he need take of her. The more like a male she appears to be, the safer he feels.

  • How unfair it was, reflected Dame Laura, that women in love looked their best and men in love looked like depressed sheep.

  • 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 ()
  • ... the world tells us what we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. To you it says — work; and to us it says — seem!

  • It is delightful to be a woman; but every man thanks the Lord devoutly that he isn't one.

  • I am not convinced that men and women were ever meant to share the same house, though some people can do it beautifully.

  • The well-mannered man never puts out his hand in greeting until a lady extends hers. This is a test of good breeding that is constantly applied. ... The first move in the direction of cordiality must come from the lady, the whole code of behaviour being based on the assumption that she is the social superior.

  • I suppose there was never yet a woman who had not somewhere set up on a pedestal in her brain an ideal of manhood. ... He never is finished till the brain of his creator ceases to work, till she has added her last touch to him, and has laid down the burden of life and gone elsewhere, perhaps to some happy land where ideals are more frequently realised than ever happens here.

  • [Addressing her male readers:] You are not our protectors. ... If you were, who would there be to protect us from?

    • Mary Walker,
    • 1871, in Charles McCool Snyder, Dr. Mary Walker ()
  • A woman reasons by telegraph, and his [a man's] stage-coach reasoning cannot keep pace with hers.

    • Mary Walker,
    • 1867, in Charles McCool Snyder, Dr. Mary Walker ()
  • Let woman out of the home, let man into it, should be the aim of education. The home needs man, and the world outside needs woman. Children need their fathers at home and they need their mothers outside of it. That is, the work of the world needs to be done by men and women together.

  • The truth has never been told about women in history: that everywhere man has gone woman has gone too, and what he has done she has done also. Women are ignorant of their own past and ignorant of their own importance in that past.

  • For Nature is not unjust. She does not steal into the womb and like an evil fairy give her good gifts secretly to men and deny them to women. Men and women are born free and equal in ability and brain. The injustice begins after birth.

  • I do not believe there is any important difference between men and women — certainly not as much as they may be between one woman and another or one man and another.

  • For no country is a true democracy whose women have not an equal share in life with men, and until we realize this we shall never achieve a real democracy on this earth.

  • A man is educated and turned out to work. But a woman is educated — and turned out to grass.

  • ... men cannot be free in a nation where women are forbidden freedom.

  • The basic discovery about any people, therefore, is the discovery of the relationship between its men and women.

  • ... 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.

  • The most sympathetic of men never fully comprehend woman's concrete situation.

  • It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal; that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills.

  • The face of a woman is always a help or a hindrance in her life story, whatever the strength or range of her mind, however important the things which concern her. Men have wanted it to be this way.

  • For woman's cause is man's: they rise or sink / Together, dwarfed or godlike, bond or free ...

  • Your sex are placed in so unjust a position here, that it is policy to ensure their submission by presenting to them a religion which promises them an equality with their oppressors hereafter.

  • We are a society that values a man for what he does in the world, a woman for how she looks.

  • We need only look at the language we use about men, women and sex to understand the differences. Men score, they make it, they collect notches — language that connotes conquest and accomplishment. Women are seduced, they're taken, they give up their virginity — words that suggest submission and loss. He's the actor, she the acted-upon. He gains status; she loses it as she gives up this socially prized commodity. He's a stud; she's too easy, a slut.

  • 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.

  • I believe in the difference between men and women. In fact, I embrace the difference.

    • Elizabeth Taylor,
    • in Joseph Papa, Elizabeth Taylor, A Passion for Life: The Wit and Wisdom of a Legend ()
  • I do believe the reason why so few men, even among the intelligent, wish to encourage the mental cultivation of women, is their excessive love of the good things of this life; they tremble for their dear stomachs, concluding that a woman who could taste the pleasures of poetry or sentiment would never descend to pay due attention to those exquisite flavours in pudding or pie, that are so gratifying to their philosophic palates ...

    • Jane Taylor,
    • 1808, in Ada M. Ingpen, ed., Women As Letter-Writers ()
  • Smart women love smart men more than smart men love smart women.

  • Isn't it interesting how men 'leave' their families, but women 'abandon' their children?

  • After sex, men fear too much intimacy; they want to separate again. Women want to talk, to continue the merging, melting fusion into one. Postcoital conversations keep the woman's power alive. Through unconscious severance, by falling asleep, the man regains his self.

  • Freud, living at a time when women were proving their heads were no different from men's, substituted the penis for the head as the organ of male superiority, an organ women could never prove they had.

  • The average man is more interested in a woman who is interested in him than he is in a woman — any woman — with beautiful legs.

  • ... a sense of deep strain between women and men has been permeating our species' life as far back into time as the study of myth and ritual permits us to trace human feeling.

  • ... what is human and the same about the males and females classified as Homo sapiens is much greater than the differences.

  • A man likes to feel that he is loved, a woman likes to be told.

  • After the door of a woman's heart has once swung on its silent hinges, a man thinks he can prop it open with a brick and go away and leave it.

  • Womankind suffers from three delusions: marriage will reform a man, a rejected lover is heartbroken for life, and if the other women were only out of the way, he would come back.

  • If women envy men, we can now see that it's because of the privileges their anatomy confers and not the anatomy itself.

  • ... until it had been clearly explained that men were always and always partly wrong in all their ideas, life would be full of poison and secret bitterness. Men fight about their philosophies and religions, there is no certainty in them; but their contempt for women is flawless and unanimous.

  • Men simply don't understand how women are. They think there's some other kind.

  • ... certain ancient cavilers have gone so far as to deny that the female sex, as opposed to the male sex, is made in the likeness of God, which likeness they must have taken to be, as far as I can tell, in the beard.

  • The human animal ... is ... neither male nor female ... And if I am allowed to jest a little in passing, I have a joke that is not altogether irrelevant: nothing resembles a male cat on the windowsill more than a female cat.

  • ... a man may build and decorate a beautiful house, but it remains for a woman to make a home of it for him. It is the personality of the mistress that the home expresses. Men are forever guests in our homes, no matter how much happiness they may find there.

  • Manliness has been defined as assertion of the self. Womanliness has been defined as the nurturing of selves other than our own — even if we quite lose our own in the process. (Women are supposed to find in this loss their true fulfillment.) But every individual person is born both to assert herself or himself and to act out a sympathy for others trying to find themselves — in Christian terms, meant to love one's self as one loves others ... Jesus never taught that we should split up that commandment — assigning 'love yourself' to men, 'love others' to women. But society has tried to.

    • Barbara Deming,
    • "Two Perspectives on Women's Struggle," We Cannot Live Without Our Lives ()
  • I think the world has been split in half for much too long — between masculine and feminine. Or rather, between what is said to be masculine and said to be feminine. 'Vive la différence!' has been a popular saying ... I would like to argue that perhaps our most crucial task at this point of history — a task for women and men — is not to celebrate these so-called differences between our natures but to question boldly, by word and act, whether they properly exist at all, or whether they do not violently distort us, whether they do not split our common humanity.

    • Barbara Deming,
    • "Two Perspectives on Women's Struggle," We Cannot Live Without Our Lives ()
  • Without a woman, he who's natural / Is sad, for she's his mother, sister, love. / And rarely is she enemy to him.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Letter of the God of Love" (1399), in Thelma S. Fenster and Mary Carpenter Erler, eds., Poems of Cupid, God of Love ()
  • ... books were not composed / By women, nor did they record the things / That we may read against them and their ways. / Yet men write on, quite to their heart's content, / The ones who plead their case without debate. / They give no quarter, take the winner's part / Themselves, for readily do quarrelers / Attack all those who don't defend themselves. / If women, though, had written all those books, / I know that they would read quite differently, / For well do women know the blame is wrong. / The parts are not apportioned equally, / Because the strongest take the largest cut / And he who slices it can keep the best.

    • Christine de Pisan,
    • "Letter of the God of Love" (1399), in Thelma S. Fenster and Mary Carpenter Erler, eds., Poems of Cupid, God of Love ()
  • [When asked why women had no sense of humor:] Do you know why God withheld the sense of humour from women? That we may love you, instead of laughing at you.

  • In passing, also, I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on woman.

  • When going on a date with someone they met online, the number-one fear that straight women have is going on a date with a serial killer. The number-one fear straight men have is going on a date with a fat woman. That says everything.

  • ... nature has decreed that for what men suffer by having to shave, be killed in battle, and eat the legs of chickens, women make amends by housekeeping, childbirth, and writing all the letters for both of them ...

  • Women as a class have never subjugated another group; we have never marched off to wars of conquest in the name of the fatherland. We have never been involved in a decision to annex the territory of a neighboring country, or to fight for foreign markets on distant shores. These are the games men play, not us. We want to be neither oppressors nor oppressed. The women's revolution is the final revolution of them all.

  • [When asked if men are really superior to women in any way:] In some areas. For example, most men can throw a softball or a large rock farther than a woman can, and on that basis alone it's obvious men deserve to be president of AT&T.

  • All male roommates first thing in the morning look rumpled and adorable. All female roommates at 7:30 in the morning look like Lon Chaney. No one knows why this is true, but it is.

  • How does it feel to be a woman minister? I don't know; I've never been a man minister.

  • Once in a Cabinet we had to deal with the fact that there had been an outbreak of assaults on women at night. One minister suggested a curfew; women should stay home after dark. I said, 'But it's the men who are attacking the women. If there's to be a curfew, let the men stay home, not the women.'

    • Golda Meir,
    • in Andrea Medea and Kathleen Thompson, Against Rape ()
  • After all, God made man and then said I can do better than that and made woman.

  • ... when men don't like another man everyone assumes he's no good and that the men know what they are talking about, yet when women dislike another woman people just think they're being catty.

  • 'Tis hard we should be by the men despised, / Yet kept from knowing what would make us prized; / Debarred from knowledge, banished from the schools, / And with the utmost industry bred fools.

  • 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 ()
  • ... I want to say one word to the men who are present. I fear you think the 'new woman' is going to wipe you off the planet, but be not afraid. All who have mothers, sisters, wives or sweethearts will be very well looked after.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1895, in Michael Anthony Lawrence, Radicals in Their Own Time: Four Hundred Years of Struggle for Liberty and Equal Justice in America ()
  • We still think of a powerful man as a born leader and a powerful woman as an anomaly.

  • [After a male friend said men were 'afraid women will laugh at them':] I asked some women ... 'Why do women feel threatened by men?' 'They're afraid of being killed,' they said.

    • Margaret Atwood,
    • "Writing the Male Character," Second Words: Selected Critical Prose 1960-1982 ()
  • 'A man,' says Seyavi of the campoodie, 'must have a woman, but a woman who has a child will do very well.'

  • In a man they forgive anything. In a woman nothing.

  • All men are no more alike than all women, only aliker.

  • Jimmie is clever, but he is no match for a clever woman. No man is, for that matter.

  • When a man is attacked in print, it's usually for saying what he says; when a woman is attacked in print, it's often for being who she is.

  • Men and women ... need and want recognition of their value and uniqueness. The goal is not to make women more like men, or men more like women, but for everyone to become most like themselves.

  • It sometimes looks as though woman would not be woman unless man insisted upon it, since she tends so markedly to be just a human being when away from men, and only on their approach does she begin to play her required role.

  • Research has shown that men attribute their success to ability; both men and women in research studies attribute women's successes to luck. If we believe that women succeed only by chance, by extension we also believe that women are incapable of creating success.

  • ... the sexes in each species of beings ... are always true equivalents — equals but not identicals ...

  • All peace-loving women shut up when they sense they have stepped onto Guy Turf. Guy Turf is a murky realm of ego and pride and chivalry and testosterone and heroism.

  • Sex differences may be 'natural,' but gender differences have their source in culture.

  • On the whole, Western society is organized around the assumption that the differences between the sexes are more important than any qualities they have in common.

  • Away back in the cave-dwelling days, there was a simple and definite distribution of labor. Men fought and women worked. Men fought because they liked it; and women worked because it had to be done. ... The masculine attitude toward life was: 'I feel good today; I'll go out and kill something.'

  • Woman has two works to perform: a work of differentiation, of man from herself, and a work of unification, of man with herself. ... We, woman, are now entering upon our second work.

  • Women are strangers in the country of man ...

  • Women are penalized both for deviating from the masculine norm and for appearing to be masculine. When women try to establish their competence, they are scrutinized for evidence that they lack masculine (instrumental) characteristics as well as for signs that they no longer possess female (expressive) ones. They are taken to fail, in other words, both as a male and as a female.

  • Stories told around the water-cooler as well as statistics confirm that a man's competence is more likely to be presupposed, a woman's questioned.

  • ... 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 ()
  • 'Man's world' and 'woman's place' have confronted each other since Scylla first faced Charybdis. ... if women have only a place, clearly the rest of the world must belong to someone else and, therefore, in default of God, to men.

  • Power behaviors that are seen as appropriate for men will not ... be seen as appropriate for women. ... Successful managers are those who are able to acquire and use power strategies effectively. Those power styles and strategies that are most associated with being perceived as powerful and competent, with being effective or persuasive, are also associated with being masculine. ... the evidence suggests that both masculine and feminine styles may be effective if used by men, but masculine styles are not effective when used by women. The ineluctable conclusion is that women have the choice of using power in an indirect (manipulative) way and risking either being ineffective or unrecognized, or using direct styles and risking being both ineffective and disliked.

  • 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 ()
  • Of all the systems — if indeed a bundle of contradictions and absurdities may be called a system — which human nature in its moments of intoxication has produced, that which men have contrived with a view to forming the minds and regulating the conduct of women, is perhaps the most completely absurd.

  • [Referencing Virginia Woolf's remark about the centuries women acted as mirrors, reflecting men at twice their natural size:] Men reflect women half their natural size.

  • There is more difference within the sexes than between them.

  • [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 ()
  • Neither the biologically determined categories 'male' and 'female' nor the socially produced categories 'masculine' and 'feminine' are absolute — entirely consistent, even monolithic, within themselves. Each inhabits and is inhabited by its opposite.

  • ... we will no longer be led only by that half of the population whose socialization, through toys, games, values and expectations, sanctions violence as the final assertion of manhood, which that half holds to be synonymous with nationhood.

    • Wilma Scott Heide,
    • in Marvin Bressler, eds., American High Education: Prospects and Choices ()
  • When a man gets up to speak, people listen, they look. When a woman gets up, people look; then, if they like what they see, they listen.

  • 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 ()
  • They say women talk too much. If you have worked in Congress you know that the filibuster was invented by men.

  • Male supremacy has kept her [woman] down. It has not knocked her out.

  • In politics women ... type the letters, lick the stamps, distribute the pamphlets and get out the vote. Men get elected.

  • Other wars end eventually in victory, defeat or exhaustion, but the war between men and women goes on forever.

  • ... to benefit the life conditions of men does not necessarily benefit the life conditions of women, although their interests may be apparently identical.

  • ... our culture is definitely the eighth grade. It's run by eighth-grade boys, and the way these boys show a girl they like her is by humiliating her and making her cry.

  • Women are the only oppressed group in our society that lives in intimate association with their oppressors.

  • 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.

  • Woman! woman! What a disturbing element you are in the universe — man's universe!

  • Very few men care to have the obvious pointed out to them by a woman.

  • Women are programmed to love completely, and men are programmed to spread it around. We are fools to think it's any different.

  • 'A man's way of loving is so different from a woman's,' sighed Anna. 'There ain't nothing,' said Mrs. Grimmage, 'there ain't nothing that makes them so sulky and turns them against you so soon as saying anything like that.'

  • ... love comes to man through his senses — to woman through her imagination.

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

  • The men who espoused unpopular causes may have been considered misguided, but they were rarely attacked for their morals or their masculinity. Women who did the same thing were apt to be denounced as harlots or condemned for being unfeminine — an all-purpose word that was used to describe almost any category of female behavior of which men disapproved.

  • The difference between men and women is inalienable. It is not a political fact, subject to cultural definition and redefinition, but a physical verity. We do truthfully experience our lives differently because our bodies are different. It is in what we do with our experience that we are the same. We feel, absorb and examine with the same intensity, and intense experience honestly examined informs the art of both sexes equally. ... The power of imagination illuminates all human lives in common.

  • I can do as much work as any man ... We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much. What we want is a little money. You men know that you get as much again as women when you write, or for what you do. When we get our rights, we shall not have to come to you for money, for then we shall have money enough of our own.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • 1851, in Carleton Mabee, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend ()
  • The real problem betewen the sexes is that for men, sex is a gender-underliner, they need it for their egos. We don't need sex to make us feel we are the person we need to be.

  • If you educate a man you educate a person, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.

  • A man has every season while a woman only has the right to spring. That disgusts me.

  • Women are not forgiven for aging. Bob Redford's lines of distinction are my old-age wrinkles.

  • This toxic striving for perfection is a female thing. How many men obsess about being perfect? For men, generally, good enough is good enough.

  • Every time a woman makes herself laugh at her husband's often-told jokes she betrays him. The man who looks at his woman and says 'What would I do without you?' is already destroyed.

  • God made men stronger but not necessarily more intelligent. He gave women intuition and femininity. And, used properly, that combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I've ever met.

    • Farrah Fawcett,
    • in Ronald Warren Deutsch, Inspirational Hollywood ()
  • 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.

  • When a man of forty falls in love with a girl of twenty, it isn't her youth he is seeking but his own.

    • Lenore Coffee,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • ... the trouble with a woman standing behind her man is that she can't see where she is going!

    • Johnnetta B. Cole,
    • speech (1992), in Gloria Wade-Gayles, ed., My Soul Is a Witness ()
  • Men look at themselves in mirrors. Women look for themselves.

  • A man who thinks he knows even one woman — knows none.

  • One thing we Older Women have learned, however, is that guys are simple contraptions. They like sex, and they like it when their women like it, and that's about it. Younger women tend to make things more complicated. They worry far too much about cellulite. Basically, if you're naked and smiling, men are pretty happy.

  • Anyone who believes that men and women have the same mind-set hasn't lived on earth. A man thinks that everything he does is wonderful, that the sun rises and sets around him. But a woman has doubts.

  • Alas! a woman that attempts the pen, / Such an intruder on the rights of men, / Such a presumptuous Creature, is esteem'd, / The fault, can by no vertue be redeem'd.

    • Anne Finch,
    • "The Introduction," Miscellany Poems, Written by a Lady ()
  • There is a hidden fear that somehow, if they are only given a chance, women will suddenly do as they have been done by.

  • We have overdone this matter of distinctions and differences. We have differentiated and analyzed until we were near dissolution. We must unify. We are souls. Female souls? Male Souls? No, immortal souls.

  • For a man to be a man, did he have to be a soldier, or at least prepare himself for war? For a woman to be a woman, did she have to be a mother, or at least prepare herself to raise children? Soldiers and mothers were the sacrificial couple, honored by statues in the park, lauded for their willingness to give their lives to others.

  • My research suggests that men and women may speak different languages that they assume are the same, using similar words to encode disparate experiences of self and social relationships. Because these languages share an overlapping moral vocabulary, they contain a propensity for systematic mistranslation ...

  • You know, when I first went into the movies Lionel Barrymore played my grandfather. Later he played my father and finally he played my husband. If he had lived I'm sure I would have played his mother. That's the way it is in Hollywood. The men get younger and the women get older.

    • Lillian Gish,
    • in Stuart Oderman, Lillian Gish: A Life on Stage and Screen ()
  • ... when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind. When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.

  • ... a woman's success is more likely to be explained by external factors like luck or ease of task, or by high effort, an internal but unstable factor, whereas a man's success is more likely to be attributed to high ability. The reverse is true for explanations of failure; men are said to fail because of hard luck, a hard task, or low effort, whereas women are said to fail because of low ability.

    • Bernice Lott,
    • "The Devalutaion of Women's Competence," in Janis S. Bohan, ed., Seldom Seen, Rarely Heard: Women's Place in Psychology ()
  • A woman's work, from the time she gets up to the time she goes to bed, is as hard as a day at war, worse than a man's working day. ... To men, women's work was like the rain-bringing clouds, or the rain itself. The task involved was carried out every day as regularly as sleep. So men were happy — men in the Middle Ages, men at the time of the Revolution, and men in 1986: everything in the garden was lovely.

  • [On the Adam and Eve story:] They both fell from innocence, and consequently from happiness, but not from equality.

  • The men in this family seemed like garden flowers, sweet and colorful and quick to fade ... The women, by contrast, were like weeds — there were so many of them, and they lasted on and on with a minimal flowering, able to subsist on altogether less in the way of space, nourishment and hope.

  • Ever notice how whenever you're in pain, guys think you've got your period? You're lying on the floor with a spear coming out of your chest, and he says, 'What's the matter, you got cramps?'

    • Marjorie Gross,
    • in Esther Blumenfeld and Lynne Alpern, Humor at Work ()
  • Two business women can 'make a home' together without either one being over-burdened or over-bored. It is because they both know how and both feel responsible. But it is a rare man who can marry one of them and continue the home-making partnership.

    • Cyrstal Eastman,
    • 1920, in Blanche Wiesen Cook, Crystal Eastman on Women and Revolution ()
  • Men have always been permitted to be people. We have just recently made it.

  • The men are much alarmed by certain speculations about women; and well they may be, for when the horse and ass begin to think and argue, adieu to riding and driving.

    • Adelaide Anne Proctor,
    • letter to Anna Jameson (1838), in Gerardine Macpherson, Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson ()
  • The figure of a handsome woman, blindfolded, holding a pair of scales in her outstretched, majestic hand, was used by Man to symbolize the Spirit of Justice long before he admitted any of her sex to the bar or jury duty ... Man has always liked to have some woman, especially one about eight feet high and of earnest aspect, to represent his ideas or inventions. At the same time, of course, he anxiously thwarted her attempts to utilize the inventions or pursue the theories he held. Thus, he wanted women to be illiterate, but to represent the Spirit of Education ... He wanted some smiling damsel to typify Architecture for him, but never to build his houses. And, much as he insisted on having his women folk meek and shy, he was always portraying them blowing trumpets and leading his armies to war.

    • Miriam Beard,
    • "Woman Springs from Allegory to Life," in The New York Times ()
  • I do not assume that woman is better than man. I do assume that she has a different way of looking at things.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • interview (1893), in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • Men are generally more law-abiding than women. Women have a feeling that since they didn't make the rules, the rules have nothing to do with them.

  • If a woman gets nervous, she'll eat or go shopping. A man will attack a country — it's a whole other way of thinking.

  • I always thought the difference between men and women was pockets.

  • A man is commanding — a woman is demanding. A man is forceful — a woman is pushy. A man is uncompromising — a woman is a ball-breaker. A man is a perfectionist — a woman's a pain in the ass. He's assertive — she's aggressive. He strategizes — she manipulates. He shows leadership — she's controlling. He's committed — she's obsessed. He's persevering — she's relentless. He sticks to his guns — she's stubborn. If a man wants to get it right, he's looked up to and respected. If a woman wants to get it right, she's difficult and impossible.

    • Barbra Streisand,
    • speech at the Women in Film luncheon (1986), in Lynda Obst, Hello, He Lied--And Other Truths From the Hollywood Trenches ()
  • If a man wants to get it right, he's looked up to and respected. If a woman wants to get it right, she's difficult or impossible. If he acts, produces and directs, he's called multitalented. If she does the same thing, she's called vain and egotistical.

  • For guys, sex is like going to a restaurant. No matter what they order off that menu, they walk out saying, 'Damn! That was good!' For women, it don't work like that. We go to the restaurant; sometimes it's good, sometimes you got to send it back ... Or you might go, 'I think I'm going to cook for myself today.'

  • ... men never would share power with women willingly. If we wanted it, we would have to take it.

  • Never underestimate a man's ability to underestimate a woman.

  • ... there's something about male sports privilege that contributes to the sexual objectification and abuse of women. Given how pervasive and what cultural icons men's sports are, that's a scary thought.

  • The stronger women get, the more men love football.

  • Not all women give most of their waking thoughts to the problem of pleasing men. Some are married.

    • Emma Lee,
    • in Jilly Cooper and Tom Hartman, eds., Violets and Vinegar ()
  • Powerful men often succeed through the help of their wives. Powerful women only succeed in spite of their husbands.

  • All too many men still seem to believe, in a rather naïve and egocentric way, that what feels good to them is automatically what feels good to women.

  • Men don't have to worry about turning forty. They have to worry about turning ninety, and even then they can father children. They just can't recognize them or pick them up.

  • Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next-door and just visit now and then.

  • ... I've always thought men and women are not too well suited to each other. It's inevitable that they should come together, but, again, how well suited are they to live together in the same house?

  • ... one has to remember that Men are not like Us, doesn't one?

  • ... claims about what's 'natural' have long been used to reinforce traditional gender roles and values. ... Even the notion that women should have children at all is based on the idea that a woman's inherent and most important role is that of mother. Shockingly, men's 'innate' roles are a lot more fun than the ones bestowed on women.

  • The men may be the head of the house, but the women are the neck and they can turn the head any way they want.

  • 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 Sandra M. Gilbert and Susan Gubar, eds., The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women ()
  • He had read somewhere that the desire of a man is for a woman, and the desire of a woman is to be desired.

  • No man worth his salt does not wish to be a husband and father; yet no man is raised to be a husband and father and no man would ever conceive of those relationships as instruments of his prime function in life. Yet every woman is raised, still, to believe that the fulfillment of these relationships is her prime function in life and, what's more, her instinctive choice.

    • Vivian Gornick,
    • "The Next Great Moment in History Is Theirs," Essays in Feminism ()
  • A man has to be Joe McCarthy to be called ruthless. All a woman has to do is put you on hold.

  • Consider how odd it would be if all we knew about elephants had been written by elephants. Would we recognize one? ... So when the human male describes his world he maps its distances from his unspoken natural center of reference, himself. He calls a swamp 'impenetrable,' a dog 'loyal' and a woman 'short.' ... The only animal who can observe man from the outside is of course the human female: we women who live in his house, in his shadow, on his planet. And it is important that we do this. This incompletely known animal conditions every aspect of our individual lives and holds the destruction of Earth in his hands.

    • Alice B. Sheldon,
    • 1973, in Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon ()
  • It is a man's world at the top, at the bottom, and in between. Men are in the catbird seat as far as income, opportunity, status, and power are concerned. This is the way it always has been and, as far as men are concerned, it is the way it always should be.

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

  • The idea of the mistress is fundamentally embarrassing. ... It is not just the secrecy and deception, it is the playing of a preordained role, which is based on the assumption that what women want is to be adored and showered with gifts and that what men want is to have an eternally available playmate while not giving freely of themselves. It is not very flattering to either sex.

  • Men always try to keep women out of business so they won't find out how much fun it really is.

    • Vivien Kellems,
    • in Alice Charlotte Goff, Women Can Be Engineers ()
  • Men define intelligence, men define usefulness, men tell us what is beautiful, men even tell us what is womanly.

  • The only problem with women is men.

    • Kathie Sarachild,
    • in Jonathon Green, ed., International Dictionary of Contemporary Quotations ()
  • It is apparent that we cannot speak of inferiority and superiority, but only of specific differences in aptitudes and personality between the sexes. These differences are largely the result of cultural and other experiential factors.

  • Women never bought Freud's idea of penis envy: who would want a shotgun when you can have an automatic?

  • A pedestal is as much a prison as any other small space.

    • Anonymous,
    • in Gloria Steinem, Moving Beyond Words ()
  • How to tell a businessman from a businesswoman: A businessman is aggressive; a businesswoman is pushy. A businessman is good on details; she's picky. He loses his temper at times because he's so involved in his work; she's bitchy. He knows how to follow through; she doesn't know when to quit. He stands firm; she's hard. He's a man of the world; she's been around. He isn't afraid to say what he thinks; she's mouthy. He drinks martinis because of excessive job pressures; she's a lush. He exercises authority diligently; she's power mad. He's climbed the ladder of success; she's slept her way to the top. He's a stern taskmaster; she's hard to work for!

    • Anonymous,
    • in Marilyn Loden, Feminine Leadership ()
  • Nothing could be more grotesquely unjust than a code of morals, reinforced by laws, which relieves men from responsibility for irregular sexual acts, and for the same acts drives women to abortion, infanticide, prostitution, and self-destruction.

  • To the Pilgrim Mothers, who not only had their full share of the hardships and privations of pioneer life but also had the Pilgrim Fathers to endure.

    • Fanny Fern,
    • toast following a toast to the Pilgrim Fathers, in Prosper Cravath et al., Early Annals of Whitewater 1837-1867 ()
  • I find that, in general, the amount of sharing men do with each other in one year is about the same as what I share with my female friends while we wait for our cars at the valet.

  • Polls show that what women fear most from men is violence, and what men fear most from women is ridicule.

  • ... but men don’t want women who are brave. They want women who make them feel like men.

  • The feminine in the man is the sugar in the whiskey. The masculine in the woman is the yeast in the bread. Without these ingredients the result is flat, without tang or flavor.

  • Don’t let what he wants eclipse what you need. 'He is very dreamy,' she says. 'But he is not the sun. You are.'

  • Because of our social circumstances, male and female are really two cultures and their life experiences are utterly different ...

  • Women if you want to realise yourselves — you are on the eve of a devastating psychological upheaval — all your pet illusions must be unmasked — the lies of centuries have got to go — are you prepared for the Wrench?

    • Mina Loy,
    • "Feminist Manifesto" (1914), in Roger L. Conover, ed., The Lost Lunar Baedecker ()
  • We are expected, somehow, not to offend anyone on our way to liberation. There's an absurd expectation that the women's movement must be the first revolution in history to accomplish its goals without hurting anyone's feelings.

    • Mary Kay Blakely,
    • introduction, in Gloria Kaufman and Mary Kay Blakely, eds., Pulling Our Own Strings ()
  • ... the explanation of the ebb and flow of the women's movement ... is partly psychological. During those early post-war years when successes came thick and fast and were almost thrust upon us, the nation was still under the influence of the reconstruction spirit, when everything seemed possible ... A few years later the nation had reached the stage which follows a drinking bout. It was feeling ruefully in its empty pockets. It did not want to part with anything to anybody. Its head ached. Noble sentiments made it feel sick. It wanted only to be left alone.

    • Eleanor F. Rathbone,
    • "Changes in Public Life," in Ray Strachey, ed., Our Freedom and Its Results ()
  • ... continually measuring women's wants by men's achievements seems out of date, ignominious, and intolerably boring. ... Now that we have secured possession of the tools of citizenship, we intend to use them not to copy men's models but to produce our own.

    • Eleanor F. Rathbone,
    • "Changes in Public Life," in Ray Strachey, ed., Our Freedom and Its Results ()
  • 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 ()
  • ... the women's movement, not only here in the U.S., but worldwide, is bigger and stronger than ever before and in places where it has never been. It has arms. It has legs. And most importantly, it has heads.

  • It's obviously a great sign of growth and success that the media no longer try to embody the bigness and diversity of the women's movement in one person. Only a diverse group can symbolize a movement.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • in Sarah Hepola, "Gloria Steinem, a Woman Like No Other," The New York Times ()
  • [On whether the Women's Movement needs another Gloria Steinem:] I don't think there should have been a first one.

    • Gloria Steinem,
    • in Sarah Hepola, "Gloria Steinem, a Woman Like No Other," The New York Times ()
  • People have been writing premature obituaries on the women's movement since its beginning.

    • Ellen Goodman,
    • "Women's Lib Obit Is a Bit Premature," in The Milwaukee Sentinel ()
  • You can believe in women's rights without believing that every woman is right.

  • The history of the women's movement in America follows a consciousness-amnesia cycle.

  • The feminine mystique has succeeded in burying millions of American women alive.

  • The problem that has no name — which is simply the fact that American women are kept from growing to their full human capacities — is taking a far greater toll on the physical and mental health of our country than any known disease.

  • The American women's movement, in the closing quarter of the twentieth century, began in the workplace. Twenty-five years later it is still a work in progress. Despite efforts to make them comprehensible, broad social movements do not proceed in neat and orderly fashion, participants marching single file, their eyes glued to the future. Such movements are ill-defined, contradictory, painful, exhilarating. Like biological evolution, social processes advance and retreat in fits and starts, sometimes so incrementally as to seem nonexistent. But change is inexorable, and once unleashed cannot be contained. The movement of women today is no exception. At different speeds, in different ways, it is a worldwide happening. ... change happens in spirals, not cycles, and there is no going back.

  • Am I not a woman and a sister?

  • Women are everywhere. Everything is our concern.

  • Thirty years ago, when the Woman's Rights Movement began, the status of a married woman was little better than that of a domestic servant. By the English common law, her husband was her lord and master. He had the sole custody of her person, and of her minor children. He could 'punish her with a stick no bigger than his thumb,' and she could not complain against him.

  • ... the so-called women's question is a whole-people question.

  • Women's property has been taxed, equally with that of men's, to sustain colleges endowed by the states; but they have not been permitted to enter those high seminaries of learning.

    • Lucretia Mott,
    • speech (1849), in Dana Greene, ed., Lucretia Mott: Her Complete Speeches and Sermons ()
  • The only thing the women were after was just the chance to help the world on. But some men were so dreadfully afraid of them that they refused to understand, and talked about 'shrieking sisterhoods' and 'disappointed spinsters' and rubbish of that sort.

  • With education, enfranchisement, and legal equality all conceded, the future of women lies in their own hands; and it has been the fuundamental belief of the Women's Movement that in those hands it is safe.

  • Women as a class have never subjugated another group; we have never marched off to wars of conquest in the name of the fatherland. We have never been involved in a decision to annex the territory of a neighboring country, or to fight for foreign markets on distant shores. These are the games men play, not us. We want to be neither oppressors nor oppressed. The women's revolution is the final revolution of them all.

  • ... the modern woman asks herself: Is there something wrong with me if my children don't fill up my life?

  • There's always been a women's movement this century!

    • Mary Stott,
    • in Dale Spender, There's Always Been a Women's Movement This Century ()
  • Confusion has seized us, and all things go wrong, / The women have leaped from 'their spheres,' / And, instead of fixed stars, shoot as comets along, / And are setting the world by the ears!

    • Maria Chapman,
    • "The Times That Try Men's Souls" (1838), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, History of Woman Suffrage ()
  • Sisterhood is a funny thing. It's easy to recognize, but hard to define.

    • Pearl Cleage,
    • "Beverly's Boots," Deals With the Devil ()
  • ... woman's discontent increases in exact proportion to her development.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation, because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source.

  • The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • Thus far women have been the mere echoes of men. Our laws and constitutions, our creeds and codes, and the customs of social life are all of masculine origin. The true woman is as yet a dream of the future.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • speech (1888), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 3 ()
  • Woman will always be dependent until she holds a purse of her own.

  • Without fear of contradiction, I can safely say that every step in progress that woman has made she has been assailed by ecclesiastics, that her most vigilant unwearied opponents have always been the clergy ...

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1888, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • We are not at war with men, we are at war with history — a history defined by a patriarchy so tenacious and entrenched it feels almost dangerous to say the word aloud.

  • At the demonstration of sixty feminists against the Miss America Pageant in 1968, when the women filled a trash can with bras, girdles, curlers and spike-heeled shoes, the bra-burning myth was launched by the media and, in spite of its inaccuracy and spiteful intent, put radical feminism on the map.

  • Just so long as all our literature is pervaded with the thought that women are inferior, so long will our sex be held in a low estimate.

  • You might have to go back to the Children's Crusade in 1212 AD to find as unfortunate and fatuous an attempt at manipulated hysteria as the Women's Liberation Movement.

  • That seems to be the haunting fear of mankind — that the advancement of women will sometime, someway, someplace, interfere with some man's comfort.

  • No nation ever rises higher than its women ...

  • We may yet live to see the day when women will be no longer news! And it cannot come too soon. I want to be a peaceful, happy, normal human being, pursuing my unimpeded way through life, never having to stop to explain, defend or apologize for my sex.

  • We haven't come a long way, we've come a short way. If we hadn't come a short way, no one would be calling us 'baby.'

  • Woman is learning for herself that not self-sacrifice, but self development, is her first duty in life; and this, not primarily for the sake of others but that she may become fully herself.

  • The women's movement is a non-hierarchical one. It does things collectively and experimentally.

  • Woman has gone far and traveled fast since she came to believe in herself. And / When doors, great and small, / Nine and ninety flew ope at her touch, / Shall the hundredth appal?

  • Will it be said that the judgment of a male of two years old, is more sage than that of a female's of the same age? I believe the reverse is generally observed to be true. But from that period what partiality! how is the one exalted, and the other depressed, by the contrary modes of education which are adopted! the one is taught to aspire, and the other is early confined and limited. As their years increase, the sister must be wholly domesticated, while the brother is led by the hand through all the flowery paths of science.

  • The issue of comparative performances can be regarded as settled to-day, both scientifically and practically. Though differences in attitudes between men and women still form a favorite topic of drawing-room conversation ... women's abilities are no longer seriously in doubt. These discussions rather seem to be a kind of rearguard action carried on after the main battle has been decided.

    • Alva Myrdal,
    • in Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein, Women's Two Roles: Home and Work ()
  • Men who want to support women in our struggle for freedom and justice should understand that it is not terrifically important to us that they learn to cry; it is important to us that they stop the crimes of violence against us.

  • Sex has been used much too long as a subterfuge by the inefficient woman who likes to make herself and others believe that it is not her incapability, but her womanhood, which is holding her back.

  • The men are much alarmed by certain speculations about women; and well they may be, for when the horse and ass begin to think and argue, adieu to riding and driving.

    • Adelaide Anne Proctor,
    • letter to Anna Jameson (1838), in Gerardine Macpherson, Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson ()
  • [On the ERA Equality March:] It's the funniest thing. I don't feel there's any discrimination. I know my husband feels that way.

    • Pat Nixon,
    • 1969, in Judith Paterson, Be Somebody: A Biography of Marguerite Rawalt ()
  • ... one of the great weaknesses of the women's rights movement over the past two hundred years has been the tendency of its history to disappear, so that it must be resurrected for each new generation.

  • They've taken a notion to speak for themselves, / And are wielding the tongue and the pen; / They've mounted the rostrum; the termagent elves, / And — oh horrid! — are talking to men! / With faces unblanched in our presence they come / To harangue us, they say, in behalf of the dumb.

    • Maria Chapman,
    • "The Times That Try Men's Souls" (1838), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, History of Woman Suffrage ()
  • The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1870, in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • When society is rightly organized, the wife and mother will have time, wish and will to grow intellectually, and will know that the limits of her sphere, the extent of her duties, are prescribed only by the measure of her ability.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1853, in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • We shall some day be heeded, and when we shall have our amendment to the Constitution of the United States, everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people believe that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1894, in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • Just as long as newspapers and magazines are controlled by men, every woman upon them must write articles which are reflections of men's ideas. As long as that continues, women's ideas and deepest convictions will never get before the public.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • in Susan B. Anthony and Ida Husted Harper, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. IV ()
  • The true republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.

  • Women, more than men, are bound by tradition and authority. What the father, the brother, the doctor, and the minister have said has been received undoubtingly. Until women throw off this reverence for authority they will not develop.

    • Maria Mitchell,
    • diary (1871), in Phebe Mitchell Kendall, ed., Maria Mitchell, Life, Letters, and Journals ()
  • [On being told a newspaper didn't have women on its foreign affairs staff:] I can't change my sex. But you can change your policy.

    • Helen Kirkpatrick,
    • 1940, in Julia Edwards, Women of the World: The Great Foreign Correspondents ()
  • The heart of a woman falls back with the night, / And enters some alien cage in its plight, / And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars / While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

  • And we find from Church history that the primitive Christians thus understood it; for that women did actually speak and preach amongst them we have indisputable proof.

  • In education, in marriage, in religion, in everything, disappointment is the lot of women. It shall be the business of my life to deepen this disappointment in every woman's heart until she bows down to it no longer.

    • Lucy Stone,
    • speech (1855) in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. I ()
  • The right to vote will yet be swallowed up in the real question, viz: has woman a right to herself? It is very little to me to have the right to vote, to own property, etc., if I may not keep my body, and its uses, in my absolute right.

    • Lucy Stone,
    • letter to Antoinette Brown (1855) in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. I ()
  • Women are not a special interest group in the usual sense of the term. We are half the population.

  • My greatest disappointment in all the projects I worked on during the White House years was the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified. ... Why all the controversy and why such difficulty in giving women the protection of the Constitution that should have been theirs long ago?

  • Why should we pay taxes when we have no part in the honours, the commands, the statecraft, for which you contend against each other with such harmful results?

    • Hortensia,
    • in Appian, The Civil Wars ()
  • Naive conclusions to draw from man's brutality! Because man is a brute, woman has to be locked up so that she will remain unharmed.

  • ... men never would share power with women willingly. If we wanted it, we would have to take it.

  • It is not alone the fact that women have generally had to spend most of their strength in caring for others that has handicapped them in individual effort; but also that they have almost universally had to care wholly for themselves.

  • When I learnt, however, that in 1911 there had been twenty-one regular feminist periodicals in Britain, that there was a feminist book shop, a woman's press, and a woman's bank run by and for women, I could no longer accept that the reason I knew almost nothing about women of the past was because there were so few of them, and they had done so little.

  • ... for centuries women have been saying many of the things we are saying today and which we have often thought of as new ...

  • Till women are more rationally educated, the progress in human virtue and improvement in knowledge must receive continual blocks.

  • I do not wish them [women] to have power over men; but over themselves.

  • The right of education of the female sex, as it is in a manner everywhere neglected, so it ought to be generally lamented. Most in this depraved later age think a woman learned and wise enough if she can distinguish her husband's bed from another's.

  • Vain man is apt to think we were merely intended for the world's propagation and to keep its human inhabitants sweet and clean; but, by their leaves, had we the same literature he would find our brains as fruitful as our bodies.

  • If you're feminist, it means that you've noticed that male ownership of the direction of female lives has been the order of the day for a few thousand years, and it isn't natural.

  • Women have suffered too much from the Conspiracy of Silence to allow that conspiracy to last one minute longer. It has been an established and admitted rule in the medical profession to keep a wife in ignorance of the fact that she has become the victim of venereal disease.

  • ... Gov. [Jerry] Brown said to me, 'Why do you criticize me for not appointing enough women judges?' Then he named some he had appointed. And I said: 'Governor, you can't name all of the male judges you've appointed. When you can't name all of the women judges you've appointed, then you will have appointed enough.'

    • Gloria Allred,
    • in Patt Morrison, "Filner's Nemesis," The Los Angeles Times ()
  • Men have always got so many 'good reasons' for keeping their privileges. If we had left it to the men toilets would have been the greatest obstacle to human progress. Toilets was always the reason women couldn't become engineers, or pilots, or even members of parliament. They didn't have women's toilets.

  • You cannot decree women to be sexually free when they are not economically free.

  • Women are a very small factor in Holy Writ, as but one-eleventh of the Bible refers to them at all, and in the interest of justice and good morals it is a pity much of that was ever written.

    • Josephine Kirby Henry,
    • 1905, in Annie Laurie Gaylor, ed., Women Without Superstition "No Gods--No Masters": The Collected Writings of Women Freethinkers of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries ()
  • There are no such things as women's issues! All issues are women's issues ... the difference that we bring is that we are going to bring the full, loud, clear, determined voice of women into deciding how those issues are going to be addressed.

  • History shows that no nation can enslave its women, but it insures its own barbarism. In proportion as society advances in culture, women are freed from an unholy tyranny, and in that righteous freedom are able to do much for the world's advancement. Every civilized nation owes much to its women. And the student of history clearly perceives that the advancement of any nation is marked by the progress of its women ...

  • Is it not monstrous that our seducers should be our accusers?

  • No man worth his salt does not wish to be a husband and father; yet no man is raised to be a husband and father and no man would ever conceive of those relationships as instruments of his prime function in life. Yet every woman is raised, still, to believe that the fulfillment of these relationships is her prime function in life and, what's more, her instinctive choice.

    • Vivian Gornick,
    • "The Next Great Moment in History Is Theirs," Essays in Feminism ()
  • For a lot of middle-class women in this country, Women's Liberation is a matter of concern. For women on welfare, it's a matter of survival.

  • [Supporting the Sex Discrimination Act:] It's ridiculous to think that half the brains in the country are locked up in female heads and are not being used.

  • 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.

  • ... women's reality has been perceived as fiction. Let us name some of those realities here: maternity, rape, prostitution, chronic fatigue, verbal, physical, and mental violence. Newspapers present these as stories, not fact.

  • There are no new women, but there are new men; for they are beginning to recognize the worth of women, and to acknowledge it.

  • ... society, while willing to make room for women, is not willing to make changes for them.

  • [When her husband said her earnings as a married woman belonged to him:] I cannot persuade myself that that which I invent — create, in fact — can belong to anyone but myself! I wish that women could be dealt with, not mercifully, not compassionately, nor affectionately, but justly; it would be so much better — for the men.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • There are very few jobs that actually require a penis or vagina. All other jobs should be open to everybody.

    • Florynce R. Kennedy,
    • in Gloria Steinem, "The Verbal Karate of Florynce R. Kennedy, Esq.," Ms. ()
  • ... women are the true maintenance class. Society is built upon their acquiescence, and upon their small and necessary labors.

  • Women's liberation is the liberation of the feminine in the man and the masculine in the woman.

  • Fie on the falsehood of men, whose minds go oft a madding, and whose tongues can not so soon be wagging, but straight they fall a railing.

  • It was not seen that woman's place was in the home until she began to go out of it; the statement was a reply to an unspoken challenge, it was attempted resistance to irresistible change.

  • One can hardly tell women that washing up saucepans is their divine mission, [so] they are told that bringing up children is their divine mission. But the way things are in the world, bringing up children has a great deal in common with washing up saucepans.

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

  • [On being requested to apply for a passport using her husband's name:] Mr. Secretary: Will you kindly have issued to me a passport under my own name. There is no law compelling a woman to use any but her own name, and I have never done so. Since it is apparent that the purpose of a passport is to establish identity, I assume you will not wish me to travel under a false name.

    • Doris Fleischman,
    • 1925, in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()
  • Perhaps some day men will raise a tablet reading in letters of gold: 'All honor to women, the first disenfranchised class in history who, unaided by any political party, won enfranchisement by its own effort ... and achieved the victory without the shedding of a drop of human blood. All honor to women of the world!'

  • Women haven't yet completely exchanged their privileges for their rights.

    • Clemence Dane,
    • in Clemence Dane and Helen Simpson, Enter Sir John ()
  • The personal is political.

    • Anonymous,
    • women's movement theme, 1970s, in Evelyn Shapiro and Barry M. Shapiro, The Women Say/The Men Say ()
  • The history of American women is about the fight for freedom, but it's less a war against oppressive men than a struggle to straighten out the perpetually mixed message about women's role that was accepted by almost everybody of both genders.

  • ... advocating women's rights and greater opportunity for women in the workplace and in every avenue of public life is inconsistent with an insistence on mother taking care of children and housework.

  • The emancipation of women is practically the greatest egoistic movement of the nineteeth century, and the most intense affirmation of the right of the self that history has yet seen.

  • Women have been called queens for a long time, but the kingdom given them isn't worth ruling.

  • 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.

  • Wherever I am, I see the yoke on women in some form or another. On some it sits easy for they are but beasts of burden. On others pride hushes them to silence; no complaint is made for they scorn pity or sympathy. On some it galls and chafes; they feel assured by every instinct of their nature that they were designed for a higher, nobler calling than to 'drag life's lengthening chain along.'

    • Abigail May Alcott,
    • 1843, in Eve LaPlante, Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother ()
  • 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 ()
  • Girls are taught to seem, to appear — not to be and do.

    • Abigail May Alcott,
    • 1848, in Eve LaPlante, Marmee and Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother ()
  • Women's rights are human rights.

  • What rights have women? ... [they are] punished for breaking laws which they have no voice in making. All avenues to enterprise and honors are closed against them. If poor, they must drudge for a mere pittance — if of the wealthy classes, they must be dressed dolls of fashion — parlor puppets.

  • ... even the best of constitutions need sometimes to be amended and improved, for after all there is but one constitution which is infallible, but one constitution that ought to be held sacred, and that is the human constitution.

    • Ernestine L. Rose,
    • speech (1863), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. I ()
  • Without the means to prevent, and to control the timing of, conception, economic and political rights have limited meaning for women. If women cannot plan their pregnancies, they can plan little else in their lives ...

  • The Rights of Women, says a female pen, / Are, to do every thing as well as Men, / To think, to argue, to decide, to write, / To talk, undoubtedly — perhaps, to fight. / ... / But since the Sex at length has been inclin'd / To cultivate that useful part — the mind; — / Since they have learnt to read, to write to spell; — / Since some of them have wit, — and use it well; — / Let us not force them back with brow severe, / With the pale of ignorance and fear, / Confin'd entirely to domestic arts, / Producing only children, pies, and tarts.

  • Yes, injured Woman! rise, assert thy right!

  • Women's history is the primary tool for women's emancipation.

  • The Taliban was so egregious and so extreme that if women who were free to speak did not speak, we might as well say to the entire world, 'No matter what you do to women, no one cares, just go right ahead.'

  • ... 'tis woman's strongest vindication for speaking that the world needs to hear her voice. It would be subversive of every human interest that the cry of one-half the human family be stifled. ... The world has had to limp along with the wobbling gait and one-sided hesitancy of a man with one eye. Suddenly the bandage is removed from the other eye and the whole body is filled with light. It sees a circle where before it saw a segment. The darkened eye restored, every member rejoices with it.

  • 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.

  • Women are from their very infancy debarred those advantages with the want of which they are aftewards reproached, and nursed up in those vices which will hereafter be upbraided to them. So partial are men as to expect bricks when they afford no straw ...


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  • ... how can women, — many of whom, I am told, are really interesting and intelligent, how can they spoil their pretty mouths and ruin their beautiful complexions, by demanding with Xantippean fervor, in the presence, often, of a vulgar, irreverent mob, what the gentle creatures, are pleased to call their 'rights?' How can they wish to soil the delicate texture of their airy fancies, by pondering over the wearying stupidities of Presidential elections, or the bewildering mystifications of rabid metaphysicians?

  • Woman has been the great unpaid laborer of the world.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., The History of Woman Suffrage, vol. 1 ()
  • While women were tortured, drowned and burned by the thousands, scarce one wizard to a hundred was ever condemned ... The same distinction of sex appears in our own day. One code of morals for men, another for women.

  • The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities of higher education, for the full development of her faculties, forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear — is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • "The Solitude of Self," farewell speech to the National American Woman Suffrage Association ()
  • There is no such thing as a sphere for sex. Every man has a different sphere, in which he may or may not shine, and it is the same with every woman, and the same woman may have a different sphere at different times.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1848, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Oh, the shortcomings and inconsistency of the average human being, especially when this human being is a man trying to manage women's affairs!

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1901, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • But so long as women are slaves, men will be knaves.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • 1890, in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • Woman's degradation is in man's idea of his sexual rights. Our religion, laws, customs, are all founded on the belief that woman was made for man.

    • Elizabeth Cady Stanton,
    • letter to Susan B. Anthony (1860), in Theodore Stanton and Harriot Stanton Blatch, eds., Elizabeth Cady Stanton As Revealed in Her Letters Diary and Reminiscences, vol. 2 ()
  • I have seen that women are shut out from every means of earning a living that is really remunerative, crowded into certain narrow walks, which, in consequence, are so thronged that the poor creatures are forced to work for the merest pittance.

  • If ... society will not admit of woman's free development, then society must be remodeled ...

    • Elizabeth Blackwell,
    • letter (1848), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, The History of Woman Suffrage ()
  • The economic dependence of women is perhaps the greatest injustice that has been done to us, and has worked the greatest injury to the race.

  • Women who set a low value on themselves make life hard for all women.

  • We may yet live to see the day when women will be no longer news! And it cannot come too soon. I want to be a peaceful, happy, normal human being, pursuing my unimpeded way through life, never having to stop to explain, defend or apologize for my sex.

  • There are countless thousands of truly chivalrous men, who have the true chivalry whose foundation is justice ... 'Let us give women a fair deal!'

  • Men alone are not capable of making laws for men and women.

    • Nellie McClung,
    • newspaper report (1915), in Linda Rasmussen et al., A Harvest Yet to Reap ()
  • 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.

  • Morally a woman has a right to the free and entire development of every faculty which God has given her to be improved and used to His honor. Socially she has a right to the protection of equal laws; the right to labor with her hands the thing that is good; to select the kind of labor which is in harmony with her condition and her powers; to exist, if need be, by her labor, or to profit others by it if she choose. These are her rights, not more nor less than the rights of the man.

    • Anna Jameson,
    • "The Communion of Labor" (1856), in Sisters of Charity, Catholic and Protestant, and the Communion of Labor ()
  • 'Man's world' and 'woman's place' have confronted each other since Scylla first faced Charybdis. ... if women have only a place, clearly the rest of the world must belong to someone else and, therefore, in default of God, to men.

  • ... power is not a thing to be owned. But if you believe that it is such a thing, losing it becomes a possibility to fear. That fear, I think, is one reason for the dark projections of a catastrophic future that are so widespread, in our dual society. The present powerful, being committed to polarization, expect that any new deal will overturn the one that set them in authority; that the last shall be first and the first last, role reversal everywhere, men as slaves, women as masters, in a revolution of contradiction.

  • A country that can put men on the moon can put women in the Constitution.

  • The hand that rocks the cradle should also rock the boat.

    • Wilma Scott Heide,
    • in Hunter College Women's Studies Collective, Women's Realities, Women's Choices ()
  • The Queen is most anxious to enlist everyone who can speak or write to join in checking this mad, wicked folly of 'Woman's Rights,' with all its attendant horrors ... It is a subject which makes the Queen so furious that she cannot contain herself.

  • ... you have not a boat of your own, that is just it; that is what women always suffer from; they have to steer, but the craft is some one else's, and the haul too.

  • I am above eighty years old ... I suppose I am about the only colored woman that goes about to speak for the rights of the colored women. I want to keep the thing stirring, now that the ice is cracked.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • in Carleton Mabee, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend ()
  • I can do as much work as any man ... We do as much, we eat as much, we want as much. What we want is a little money. You men know that you get as much again as women when you write, or for what you do. When we get our rights, we shall not have to come to you for money, for then we shall have money enough of our own.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • 1851, in Carleton Mabee, Sojourner Truth: Slave, Prophet, Legend ()
  • I am glad to see that men are getting their rights, but I want women to get theirs, and while the water is stirring I will step into the pool.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • 1867, in Erlene Stetson and Linda David, Glorying in Tribulation: The Life Work of Sojourner Truth ()
  • Sisters, I a'n't clear what you'd be after. Ef women want any rights more'n dey's got, why don't dey jes' take 'em, an' not be talkin' about it?

  • Children, I talks to God and God talks to me. I goes out and talks to God in de fields and de woods. Dis morning I was walking out, and I got over de fence. I saw de wheat a holding up its head, looking very big. I goes up and takes holt ob it. You b'lieve it, dere was no wheat dare? I says, God, what is de matter wid dis wheat? and he says to me, 'Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.' Now I hears talkin' about de Constitution and de rights of man. I comes up and I takes hold of dis Constitution It looks mighty big, and I feels for my rights, but der aint any dare. Den I says, God, what ails dis Constitution? He says to me, 'Sojourner, dere is a little weasel in it.'

  • Whar did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

    • Sojourner Truth,
    • speech (1851), in Olive Gilbert, Narrative of Sojourner Truth ()
  • When we liberate the economic potential of women, we elevate the economic performance of communities, nations, and the world. There is a stimulative and ripple effect that kicks in when women have greater access to jobs and the economic lives of our countries: greater political stability. Fewer military conflicts. More food. More educational opportunity for children. By harnessing the economic potential of all women, we boost opportunity for all people.

  • It has not been without bitter resistance by the clergy that woman's property and educational rights have advanced. Woman's anti-slavery work, her temperance work, her demand for personal rights, for political equality, for religious freedom and every step of kindred character has met with opposition from the church as a body and from the clergy as exponents of its views.

  • I finally got it: empower girls and everything changes.

  • 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 ()
  • ... the backlash convinced the public that women's 'liberation' was the true contemporary American scourge — the source of an endless laundry list of personal, social, and economic problems.

  • ... the last decade has seen a powerful counterassault on women's rights, a backlash, an attempt to retract the handful of small and hard-won victories that the feminist movement did manage to win for women. This counterassault is largely insidious: in a kind of pop-culture version of the Big Lie, it stands the truth boldly on its head and proclaims that the very steps that have elevated women's position have actually led to their downfall.

  • On the other hand, I flattered myself that I am not the first woman to have had something published; that minds have no sex and that if the minds of women were cultivated like those of men, and if as much time and energy were used to instruct the minds of the former, they would equal those of the latter.

  • We've chosen the path to equality, don't let them turn us around.

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

  • I ask no favors for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks ...

  • Our fathers waged a bloody conflict with England, because they were taxed without being represented ... They were not willing to be governed by laws which they had no voice in making; but this is the way in which women are governed in this Republic.

  • The men are much alarmed by certain speculations about women; and well they may be, for when the horse and ass begin to think and argue, adieu to riding and driving.

    • Adelaide Anne Proctor,
    • letter to Anna Jameson (1838), in Gerardine Macpherson, Memoirs of the Life of Anna Jameson ()
  • The woman's bill of rights is, unhappily, long overdue. It should have run along with the rights of man in the eighteenth century. Its drag as to time of official proclamation is a drag as to social vision. And even if equal rights were now written into the law of our land, it would be so inadequate today as a means to food, clothing and shelter for woman at large that what they would still be enjoying would be equality in disaster rather than in realistic privilege.

  • We shall some day be heeded, and when we shall have our amendment to the Constitution of the United States, everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people believe that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1894, in Lynn Sherr, ed., Failure Is Impossible: Susan B. Anthony in Her Own Words ()
  • It is urged that the use of the masculine pronouns he, his, and him in all the constitutions and laws, is proof that only men were meant to be included in their provisions. If you insist on this version of the letter of the law, we shall insist that you be consistent and accept the other horn of the dilemma, which would compel you to exempt women from taxation for the support of the government and from penalties for the violation of laws. There is no she or her or hers in the tax laws, and this is equally true of all the criminal laws.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • 1872, in Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony ()
  • No man is good enough to govern any woman without her consent.

    • Susan B. Anthony,
    • in Ida Husted Harper, The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony ()
  • Marriage, to women as to men, must be a luxury, not a necessity; an incident of life, not all of it. And the only possible way to accomplish this great change is to accord to women equal power in the making, shaping and controlling of the circumstances of life.

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

  • The true republic: men, their rights and nothing more; women, their rights and nothing less.

  • I am prepared to sacrifice every so-called privilege I possess in order to have a few rights.

    • Inez Milholland,
    • 1909, in Louise Bernikow, The American Women's Almanac ()
  • The heart of a woman falls back with the night, / And enters some alien cage in its plight, / And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars / While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.

  • I'm just a person trapped inside a woman's body.

  • 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
    • ()
  • The flour-merchant, the house-builder, and the postman charge us no less on account of our sex; but when we endeavor to earn money to pay all these, then, indeed, we find the difference.

    • Lucy Stone,
    • 1855, in Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda J. Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage, vol. I ()
  • My greatest disappointment in all the projects I worked on during the White House years was the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified. ... Why all the controversy and why such difficulty in giving women the protection of the Constitution that should have been theirs long ago?

  • [After a speech proposing the ERA to the New Jersey State Assembly:] One of my colleagues rose and ... said, 'I just don't like this amendment; I've always thought of women as kissable and cuddly and smelling good!' It was the kind of thing you really don't believe. The only answer, of course, was, 'That's the way I've always felt about men and I hope, for your sake, that you haven't been disappointed as often as I have.

  • The progress of women's rights in our culture, unlike other types of 'progress,' has always been strangely reversible.

  • My friends, do we realize for what purpose we are convened? Do we fully understand that we aim at nothing less than an entire subversion of the present order of society, a dissolution of the whole existing social compact?

    • Elizabeth Oakes Smith,
    • speech (1852), in Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage, eds., History of Woman Suffrage ()
  • [We need to push] for what we want, not just what we can get.

  • And when her biographer says of an Italian woman poet, 'during some years her Muse was intermitted,' we do not wonder at the fact when he casually mentions her ten children.

  • ... men have their cake and get to eat it too, for while they decree themselves as representative of humanity, women who argue that men are not, are simply showing how little they know! And when men's standards are defined as human standards, then women who assert that women are different, demonstrate how 'inhuman' they are. It is a real 'Catch 22.'

  • 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.

  • All the talk about women's rights is moonshine. Women have every right. They have only to exercise them.

    • Victoria Claflin Woodhull,
    • in Victoria Claflin Woodhull and Tennessee C. Claflin, The Human Body, the Temple of God: And Other Essays, Or: The Philosophy of Sociology ()
  • [On Dean Acheson:] 'Why do pretty women want to be like men?' he once asked me. 'They don't,' I replied, 'they only want equal rights and privileges, Mr. Secretary of State, and I insist on having mine!'

  • We have taken this action, because as women ... we realize that the condition of our sex is so deplorable that it is our duty even to break the law in order to call attention to the reasons why we do so.

  • ... there were some Labourists saying that other things must be dealt with before women got the vote. It was humanly natural that they, as men, should say so. Our business as women was to recognize this and act accordingly.

  • Women have suffered too much from the Conspiracy of Silence to allow that conspiracy to last one minute longer. It has been an established and admitted rule in the medical profession to keep a wife in ignorance of the fact that she has become the victim of venereal disease.

  • If men will not do us justice, they shall do us violence.

  • When two people marry they become in the eyes of the law one person, and that one person is the husband!

  • ... I have been the victim of many of the injustices that women who are my clients have had. That is how I understand how this is impacting their lives economically, psychologically, often physically. It's all personal. For me, if one woman is denied her rights, we're all being denied our rights.

    • Gloria Allred,
    • in Patt Morrison, "Filner's Nemesis," The Los Angeles Times ()
  • I live in a war zone. I would never have imagined 37 years ago when I started practicing law that there would still be so much discrimination against women, so much denial of women's rights.

    • Gloria Allred,
    • in Patt Morrison, "Filner's Nemesis," The Los Angeles Times ()
  • You cannot decree women to be sexually free when they are not economically free.

  • ... many people buy into the notion that women can 'have it all' and assume that means they've achieved equality. But for every law that helps women there is another that hurts women, and for every man who takes for granted that women are equal to men, there is another who doesn't feel they're equal.

  • History shows that no nation can enslave its women, but it insures its own barbarism. In proportion as society advances in culture, women are freed from an unholy tyranny, and in that righteous freedom are able to do much for the world's advancement. Every civilized nation owes much to its women. And the student of history clearly perceives that the advancement of any nation is marked by the progress of its women ...

  • Obviously the most oppressed of any oppressed group will be its women.

    • Lorraine Hansberry,
    • 1959, in Adrienne Rich, "The Problem of Lorraine Hansberry," Blood, Bread, and Poetry ()
  • I remember praying about it, and begging God that if it were true that because I was a girl I could not successfully master Greek and go to college and understand things to kill me at once, as I could not bear to live in such an unjust world.

    • M. Carey Thomas,
    • in Barbara M. Cross, ed., The Educated Woman in America ()
  • Women have no rights, Don, except what men allow us. Men are more aggressive and powerful, and they run the world. When the next real crisis upsets them, our so-called rights will vanish like — like that smoke. We'll be back where we always were: property. And what has gone wrong will be blamed on our freedom, like the fall of Rome was. You'll see.

    • Alice B. Sheldon,
    • "The Women Men Don't See," Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction ()
  • 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.

  • It is a man's world at the top, at the bottom, and in between. Men are in the catbird seat as far as income, opportunity, status, and power are concerned. This is the way it always has been and, as far as men are concerned, it is the way it always should be.

  • [When her husband said her earnings as a married woman belonged to him:] I cannot persuade myself that that which I invent — create, in fact — can belong to anyone but myself! I wish that women could be dealt with, not mercifully, not compassionately, nor affectionately, but justly; it would be so much better — for the men.

    • Fanny Kemble,
    • in Margaret Armstrong, Fanny Kemble: A Passionate Victorian ()
  • [On being requested to apply for a passport using her husband's name:] Mr. Secretary: Will you kindly have issued to me a passport under my own name. There is no law compelling a woman to use any but her own name, and I have never done so. Since it is apparent that the purpose of a passport is to establish identity, I assume you will not wish me to travel under a false name.

    • Doris Fleischman,
    • 1925, in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()