Here are 31 quotes for Women's Month, 2023...
As I said last year, this is not an exhaustive list of women worth quoting. There is no such list...
This happens to be my list on a particular set of 31 days in a very specific year. (Next year will inspire a whole new set of quotes... )
“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
~ Georgia O'Keeffe
"all that you touch, you change || all that you change, changes you."
“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”."
~ bell hooks
" Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women.”
~ Nora Ephron
"...as I've aged, I have more time for tenderness, for the poems that are so earnest they melt your spine a little. I have decided that I'm here in this world to be moved by love and [to] let myself be moved by beauty."
"I am more modest now, but I still think that one of the pleasantest of all emotions is to know that I, I with my brain and my hands, have nourished my beloved few, that I have concocted a stew or a story, a rarity or a plain dish, to sustain them truly against the hungers of the world."
"...you have lit the path every step of the way, you have reached back to make sure we knew we were welcome, and you have all showed us how it can best be done. But mostly, you have given us the power of your grace, strength, and love in a world that does not necessarily cultivate those things for or in women. Thank you for being dedicated to building the world we all deserve..."
"At my age, in this still hierarchical time, people often ask me if I'm 'passing the torch.' I explain that I'm keeping my torch, thank you very much - and I'm using it to light the torches of others...
If I had one piece of advice to give to young girls, I would say, 'Don't listen to my advice. Listen to the voice inside.' It's not important that they know who I am, it's important that they know who they are."
"Of all the things I wondered about on this land, I wondered the hardest about the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home - not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colors. How our perceptions are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you away. How you can fall in love with the light..."
~ Ellen Meloy
"Theater, like democracy, by definition can only be done in collaboration. Both must be responsive to the needs of the moment, and they happen in the present tense. Both are done on the breath, in public; both are dependent on speech and the mysterious human grace of empathy. They must happen right now, in front of us, and we all share the same air...
This is what theater looks like, but it’s also what democracy looks like. The theater teaches us that the validity of ethical principles, beliefs, and laws must be debated in full view of everyone concerned, in the open air of the public space. Theater teaches us that the struggle to make sense of things is what we are here to do. And we must do it together if we are to do it well...
Of all the things the Greeks [ancient Greek plays] teach us, perhaps the most essential for our purposes today is that there are worse things than failure. If I could give you only one piece of advice today it would be to live by their example and risk failure. Just look at those plays. Look at the size of what they are grappling with—they’re sounding the depths of what it is to be human; time and again, the dilemmas they pose just seem impossible to contend with, yet they take them on. These are plays of astonishing ambition and they never cease to humble me and inspire me to reach farther and risk more as an artist.
Why not try to address the hardest things? The alternative is to make nice, neat plays that offend no one and do nothing much because they don’t attempt anything much. Why not risk failure and try to make, well, art? What is stake other than the size of my soul? "
~ Ellen McLaughlin in her 2009 commencement address to the graduates of American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T.)
"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. "
"Oak trees don't set an intention to listen to each other better or agree to hold tight to each other when the next storm comes. Under the earth, always, they reach for each other, they grow such that their roots are intertwined and create a system of strength that is as resilient on a sunny day as it is in a hurricane...
Many of us have been socialized to understand that constant growth, violent competition, and critical mass are the ways to create change. But... adaptation and evolution depend more upon critical, deep, and authentic connections... "
~ Adrienne Maree Brown
“What you keep out is as significant as what you put in..."
~ Marcella Hazan (on cooking)
“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you're connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea..."
“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”
“If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off... no matter what they say...”
~ Barbara McClintock, cytogeneticist, winner of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
"You really have to have a goal. The goal posts might shift, but you should have a goal. Know what it is you want to find out..."
~ Zaha Hadid, architect
"... we'd like to think that you fix something in an old house and that you're done. But if you live in an old house, you know that it's never done. It is never done. And as soon as you fix one thing, then something else goes wrong. These systems need constant monitoring, vigilance, attention, repair, sometimes overhaul. You never assume that you get a new hot water heater and you'll never have to worry about it again...
If we think of our country as being like an old house and we know that the work is never done, and we wouldn't assume that the work was ever done. You wouldn't assume that one law and we're done. One election and we're done. And why do we think that about an entity as big as our country when we, the owners of old houses, know that is never going to happen with an old house?
'We in the developed world are like homeowners who inherited a house on a piece of land that is beautiful on the outside, but whose soil is unstable loam and rock, heaving and contracting over generations, cracks patched but the deeper ruptures waved away for decades. We are the heirs to whatever is right or wrong with it. We did not erect the uneven pillars or joists, but they are ours to deal with now.' "
"Our world is abundant with quiet, hidden lives of beauty and courage and goodness. There are millions of people at any given moment, young and old, giving themselves over to service, risking hope, and all the while ennobling us all. To take such goodness in and let it matter—to let it define our take on reality as much as headlines of violence—is a choice we can make to live by the light in the darkness.”
~ Krista Tippett, from Becoming Wise
"For it would seem... that we write, not with the fingers, but with the whole person. The nerve which controls the pen winds itself about every fibre of our being, threads the heart, pierces the liver...
So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters, and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say..."
~ Virginia Woolf
"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
~ Eleanor Roosevelt
"Technique and ability alone do not get you to the top; it is the willpower that is the most important. This willpower you cannot buy with money or be given - it rises from your heart...
No matter how slow a person walked, they could still reach the summit, one step at a time."
~ Junko Tabei (her approach to life & mountaineering)
"I was inspired by a traditional African tool that has three legs and a basin to sit on. To me the three legs represent three critical pillars of just and stable societies. The first leg stands for democratic space, where rights are respected, whether they are human rights, women's rights, children's rights, or environmental rights. The second represents sustainable and equitable management and resources. And the third stands for cultures of peace that are deliberately cultivated within communities and nations. The basin, or seat, represents society and its prospects for development. Unless all three legs are in place, supporting the seat, no society can thrive. Neither can its citizens develop their skills and creativity. When one leg is missing, the seat is unstable; when two legs are missing, it is impossible to keep any state alive; and when no legs are available, the state is as good as a failed state. No development can take place in such a state either. Instead, conflict ensues."
“The burden of keeping three people in toilet paper seemed to me rather a heavy one...
My thoughts went round and round and it occurred to me that if I ever wrote a novel it would be of the 'stream of consciousness' type and deal with an hour in the life of a woman at the sink..."
“We embrace those things that make us unique or odd. For only in these things can we locate and then develop our most individual abilities..."
~ Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Witch
“Every 'yes' changes something in me. Every 'yes' is a bit more transformative. Every 'yes' sparks some new phase of revolution."
~ Shonda Rhimes
"Politicians need a better understanding of global ecology. We need to be freed from our species-specific arrogance. No evidence exists that we are chosen, the unique species for which all the others were made. Nor are we the most important one because we are so numerous, powerful, and dangerous."
~ Lynn Margulis
"I’ve never really thought in terms of taboos. I think that books can really help parents and kids talk together about difficult subjects. I’ve always felt that way. The parent reads the book. The kid reads the book and then they can talk about the characters instead of talking about themselves. You know there’s a connection even if you don’t talk about it when you read the same books."
~ Judy Blume
"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine where we go with the rest of our lives. To experience adventure or to be limited by the fear of it."
~ Judy Blume, Tiger Eyes