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40 Inspiring Quotes From Trailblazing Women We Admire

Derek Walter

These inspiring quotes from trailblazing women serve as a reminder to us all that we can overcome daunting challenges, both personal and professional.

Women continue to make significant strides in the business world, founding innovative companies, introducing revolutionary new ideas and building a path to workforce equity.

To provide a boost of inspiration for those who are making both large and small changes every day, we've curated 40 inspiring quotes from powerful women.

Start your day with these 40 quotes from trailblazing women we admire.

Words of wisdom

  1. "Do one thing every day that scares you." – Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady of the United States, diplomat, activist

  2. "We must develop a thick skin. With an unshakeable sense of self – and a commitment to being compassionate – nothing will faze you." – Mari Smith, social media marketer known as the "Facebook Queen"

  3. "Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom." – Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court

  4. "Nasty Gal would have surely failed had it been my goal to grow a business to the size that I have today." – Sophia Amoruso, Nasty Gal founder and author of #GirlBoss

  5. "The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." – Coco Chanel, iconic fashion designer

  6. "Do not bring people in your life who weigh you down, and trust your instincts. Good relationships feel good. They feel right. They don't hurt. They're not painful. That's not just with somebody you want to marry, but it's with the friends you choose. It's with the people you surround yourself with." – Michelle Obama, former first lady of the United States

  7. "I want little girls to grow up knowing they can do anything, even play football." – Jen Welter, the NFL's first female coach

  8. "Champions keep playing until they get it right." – Billie Jean King, an American tennis player who fought for equal prize money for female athletes

  1. "You can have it all. Just not all at once." – Oprah Winfrey, television personality

  2. "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, screenwriter

Advice to listen to

  1. "To love what you do and feel like it matters, how could anything be more fun?" – Katherine Graham, first American female Fortune 500 CEO

  1. "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." – Gertrude Stein, American author

  2. "When I'm hungry, I eat. When I'm thirsty, I drink. When I feel like saying something, I say it." – Madonna, American entertainer and first female billionaire of pop music

  3. "Ask for what you want and be prepared to get it." – Maya Angelou, author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and civil rights activist

  1. "I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse." – Florence Nightingale, nurse

  2. "I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career." – Gloria Steinem, journalist and social activist

  3. "It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case, you fail by default." – JK Rowling, author

  4. "Decide ... whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying." – Amelia Earhart, aviation pioneer and author
  1. "No one has ever become poor by giving." – Anne Frank

  2. "If you need the user to tell you what you're selling, then you don't know what you're selling, and it's probably not going to be a good experience." – Marissa Mayer, businesswoman, investor, former CEO of Yahoo


  1. "Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder." – Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In

Unique perspective

  1. "I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on Earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet." – Susan B. Anthony, women's rights activist, social reformer

  1. "If you follow your heart, if you listen to your gut, and if you extend your hand to help another, not for any agenda, but for the sake of humanity, you are going to find the truth." – Erin Brockovich, environmental activist

  2. "Don't cut off your career branches too early. Don't step away from your career based on what 'might' happen." – Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors

  3. "I was taught to strive, not because there were any guarantees of success, but because the act of striving is in itself the only way to keep faith with life." – Madeleine Albright, first female U.S. Secretary of State

  1. "Every great dream begins with a dreamer." – Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and political activist

  2. "Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas." – Marie Curie, first female Nobel Prize recipient

  3. "There are lots of opportunities out there for women to work in these fields; girls just need support, encouragement and mentoring to follow through with the sciences." – Sally Ride, first American female to go into space

  1. "Some leaders are born women." – Geraldine Ferraro, first female vice presidential candidate

  2. "To stay ahead, you must have your next idea waiting in the wings." – Rosabeth Moss Kanter, academic and business leader who coined terms such as "empowerment" and "employee participation"

  3. "Each person must live their life as a model for others." – Rosa Parks, civil rights activist

  4. "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones." – Helena Rubenstein, American business woman who started one of the world's first cosmetic companies

  5. "Do not be afraid to make decisions.  Do not be afraid to make mistakes." – Carly Fiorina, first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company

  1. "I always want to make films. I think of it as a great opportunity to comment on the world in which we live." – Kathryn Bigelow, first female to win an Academy Award for Best Director

Different is good

  1. "What sets you apart can sometimes feel like a burden, and it's not. And a lot of the time, it's what makes you great." – Emma Stone, Academy and Golden Globe Award-winning actress

  2. "The price of inaction is far greater than the cost of a mistake." – Meg Whitman, CEO of Quibi

  3. "If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems." – Majora Carter, urban revitalization strategist

  1. "You create opportunities by performing, not complaining." – Muriel Siebert, first female member of the New York Stock Exchange

  2. "None of us can know what we are capable of until we are tested." – Elizabeth Blackwell, first woman to graduate from medical school in the U.S.

  3. "I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive." – Justice Sonia Sotomayor, first Latina Supreme Court Justice
Image Credit: Jacob Wackerhausen / Getty Images
Derek Walter Contributing Writer
Derek Walter is the founder of Walter Media, which offers writing and content strategy services. He is also the author of Learning MIT App Inventor: A Hands-On Guide to Building Your Own Android Apps.