"When women are seen with pen in hand, they are met immediately
with shrieks commanding a return to that life of pain which their
writing had interrupted, a life devoted to the women's work of
needle and distaff."
Archangela Tarabotti, writer and nun
1654, Venice, Italy
"My wish is to ride the tempest, tame the waves, kill
the sharks. I will not resign myself to the usual lot of women
who bow their heads and become concubines."
TrieuThi Trinh, Peasant who led an insurrection against
240 A.D. Vietnam
"Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood."
"Today the two hundred million men in our country are
entering into a civilized new world...but we, the two hundred
million women, are still kept down in the dungeon."
Qui Jin, writer, revolutionary
"Men have singled out women of outstanding merit and
put them on a pedestal to avoid recognizing the capabilities
of all women."
Huda Shaarawi, writer and women's rights organizer
"The most sure, but at the same time the most difficult
expedient to mend the morals of the people, is a perfect system
Catherine the Great
"There is nothing new except what has been forgotten,"
"I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble
woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king
of England too."
Elizabeth I, Speech at Tilbury
"Women have always struggled with their men-folk
for the abolition of slavery, the liberation of countries from
colonialism, the dismantling of apartheid and the attainment
of peace. It is now the turn of men to join women in their struggle
Gertrude Mongella of Tanzania
Secretary General of US Fourth Conference on the World's Women, 1995
"We deny the right of any portion of the species to
decide for another portion what is and what is not their 'proper
sphere.' The proper sphere for all human beings is the largest
and highest which they are able to attain to."
Harriet Taylor Mill
(with John Mill created a marriage based on equalitarian principals)
"Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do
not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands,
stand beside us, fight with us."
Christabel Pankhurst, Suffragette
Helmer: "Before all else you are a wife and
a mother. Nora: That I no longer believe. I believe that before
all else I am a human being."
Ibsen, The Dolls' House
"A woman must have money and a room of her own if she
is to write fiction"
"Who has forbidden women to engage in private
and individual studies? Have they not a rational soul as men
do?...I have this inclination to study and if it is evil I am
not the one who formed me thus - I was born with it and with
it I shall die."
Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz - Letter to Father Nunez
"To follow without halt, one aim; there is the
secret of success. And success? What is it? I do not find it
in the applause of the theater; it lies rather in the satisfaction
"The myth that men are the economic providers
and women, mainly, are mothers and care givers in the family
has now been thoroughly refuted. This family pattern has never
been the norm, except in a narrow middle-class segment."
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Prime Minister of Norway, 1995
"The earth which sustains humanity must not
be injured. It must not be destroyed!"
Hildegarde of Bingen
"Women have the right to mount the scaffold;
they should likewise have the right to mount the rostrum."
Olympe de Gouges, author of Declaration of Rights of Women
"Although they are only breath, words which I command
c. 610-640 B.C. Greece
"For a king, death is better than dethronement
c.532, Byzantine Empire
"Pay heed to the word of your Mother as though
it were the word of a God."
3,000 B.C. Mesopotamia
"Why should we pay taxes when we have no part
in the honors, the commands, the state craft for which you contend?"
Hortensia, Speech before the Roman Triumvirate
42 B.C. Italy
"If you want anything said, ask a man. If you
want anything done, ask a woman."
"Although I am a woman and young, I have more
than enough courage to suffer this death and a thousand more."
La Pola, statement before execution in wars of independence
"It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear
of losing power corrupts,"
Aung San Suu Kyi
1991, Burma (Myanmar)
"Make women rational creatures, and free citizens,
and they will quickly become good wives; - that is if men do
not neglect the duties of husbands and fathers!"
Mary Wollstonecraft, author A Vindication of the Rights
"I myself have never been able to find out precisely
what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist
whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
Rebecca West, The Clarion
"Roman lust has gone so far that not even our
own persons remain unpolluted...If you weigh well the strengths
of our armies, you will see that in this battle we must conquer
or die. This is a woman's resolve. As for the men, they may live
or be slaves."
1st century A.D., England
"The liberated woman is not that modern doll
who wears make-up and tasteless clothes. ....The liberation woman
is a person who believes that she is as human as a man. The liberated
woman does not insist on her freedom so as to abuse it."
Ghada Samman, writer