Women’s Equality Quotes Through the Decades

On August 26, we celebrate Women’s Equality Day in the United States. The date was set aside in 1973 to commemorate the 1920 certification of the 19th Amendment to our Constitution. This Amendment, of course, gave women the right to vote. In honor of this day, let’s look at quotes from women about equality:

15 Women’s Equality Quotes Through the Decades

1776: “Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors.” – Abigail Adams

1837: “I know nothing of man’s rights, or woman’s rights; human rights are all that I recognize.” – Sarah Moore Grimke

1848: “Any great change must expect opposition, because it shakes the very foundation of privilege.” – Lucretia Mott

1869: “I believe that the influence of woman will save the country before every other power.” – Lucy Stone

1876: “Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.” – Susan B. Anthony

1897: “I am not one of those who believe – broadly speaking – that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislatures, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance. “ – Jane Addams

1906: “The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved.” – Emma Goldman

1914: “The young women of today, free to study, to speak, to write, to choose their occupation, should remember that every inch of this freedom was bought for them at a great price. It is for them to show their gratitude by helping onward the reforms of their own times, by spreading the light of freedom and of truth still wider. The debt that each generation owes to the past it must pay to the future” – Abigail Scott Duniway

1928: “Women must learn to play the game as men do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

1930s: “Women should do for themselves what men have already done—occasionally what men have not done—thereby establishing themselves as persons, and perhaps encouraging other women toward greater independence of thought and action.” – Amelia Earhart

1972: “I never doubted that equal rights was the right direction.  Most reforms, most problems are complicated.  But to me there is nothing complicated about ordinary equality.” – Alice Paul

2007: “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” – Maya Angelou

2009: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg

2016: “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” – Sheryl Sandberg

2020: “I say to you, keep challenging. Keep pushing. Make them a little uncomfortable because it’s only in that discomfort that we actually create the conditions to reimagine our standards, our policies, and our leadership — to move toward real representation and meaningful influence over the structures of decision-making and power.” – Meghan Markle

In the almost 250 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there have been significant wins for women’s equality, and those are worth celebrating this August 26. However, these quotes across that same 250-year period aren’t all that different in their message and tone. Women are still asking for equality at all tables, and there is still work to be done here in the United States and abroad. We must continue leading the conversation on women’s equality; the world and our children are listening.