Quotes From 15 Strong Women That Changed My Life

I know we hear a lot about women empowerment. Sayings and phrases constantly circle my mind about it, althought, sometimes I do feel quite hopeless being a women. Being a women is hard: it's messy, it's challenging, it's a battle. But, it is also beautiful and powerful and worth it. I quite enjoy being a girl. What I enjoy more is being a girl born into a time where women are rising and fighting for each other.

Strong women are hard to define because, to me, all women are strong. The difference between a "strong woman" that appears when you type it into Google, and you or me, is that they have a very public platform to spread their strength.

Throughout the years, more and more women are being recognized and heard. From political, to spiritual, to actividm, to the #MeToo movement. It is amazing. It is also the reason I started writing for HerCampus in the first place, to leave it all out there and have my words seen, and to be surrounded by women using their power. 

Here is a list of 15 women whos' light has touched me over the years. These words are powerful and important. Not only to me, but to so many young women. My hope is that some of these women may cause at least one of you who read this to embrace yourself as well. No matter what kind of women you are - black, white, asian, native american, hispanic, jewish, catholic, muslim, buddist, skinny, fluffy, blonde, brunette, red-head, feminine, masculine, gay, straight, pansexual, transgender, whatever it is...let it shine. 

Women Sitting on Brown Wooden Bench Photo by RF._.studio from Pexels

  1. 1. Michelle Obama


    “Even when it’s not pretty or perfect. Even when it’s more real than you want it to be. Your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own”

    - Michelle Obama has always been a huge inspiration to me. She is so unapologetically herself. I have always wanted to be like her, in the sense that she is so kind, caring, smart, and independent - even though she has a wonderful husband. She is her own person, her own women, and has her own story. 

  2. 2. Ruth Bader Ginsburg

    Ruth Bader Ginsburg 2016 portrait


    “Not fragile like a flower

    Fragile like a bomb.”

    “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.”

    - RBG is undoubtedly my hero. Judge Ginsburg has been making history for herslef and all women forever. She was an advocate in the strongest sense. I picked two quotes becasue I physically couldn't justify giving this women just one. Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave me and gives me still such hope for our future. When she passed away I cried for a long time. Judge Ginsburg is probably the most fiesty, beautiful, firecracker, feminist ever. 

    May she rest in peace and may we never forget what she has given us. 

  3. 3. Rosa Parks

    Winter bus standing on the side of the road


    “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.”

    - Rosa Parks was one of the first powerful women I ever learned about in school--not giving up that bus seat, not giving up her freedom, not giving in. Rosa Parks is a historical icon to say the least, but a lot of people forget - she was just a normal woman, an everyday lady doing her daily routine. It took only one instance for her to become this pillar for women, espcially black women. I think the biggest lesson I learned from her is the essence of this quote: "I try not to be fearful and doubt myself when I know what I'm doing is the right thing."

  4. 4. Meryl Streep 

    Meryl Streep Yes Gif


    “The formula of happiness and success is just being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.”

    - Meryl Streep has always been on the TV screen in my house. From Mamma Mia to Into The Woods to Devil Wears Prada.

    Meryl and I go way back, okay?

    But seriously, seeing her portray such dynamic and powerful female characters has been positive for me in so many ways. However, the true beauty is the fact that she is a powerhouse off-screen as well. For me, Meryl Streep shines, and when she shines, she makes me want to shine too. 

  5. 5. Whoopi Goldberg

    Friends Laughing B&W


    “Normal is nothing more than a cycle on a washing machine."

    - Whoopi Goldberg is such an underrated woman, in my personal opinion. Whoopi is not only a great actress and comedy genius, but she shattered the way people (and I) see, have seen, and will see women. It is really hard being a bigger girl and not seeing many potrayed in a desirable way. Whoopi Goldberg is a bigger, African American women with dreadlocks who I look up to as a gold standard, even though many look down on her as unprofessional or a joke. Haters are always going to be around but she made me realize that normal isn't real, even before it was 'cool' to not be normal. Whoopi is herself 100% and that to me is enough to love her. 

  6. 6. Queen Elizabeth II


    “You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, KICK SOME ASS.”

    - Queen Elizabeth II is a role model of mine.

    Now, I know I don't live in England. And no, I never have. Frankly, I've never even been there. But this is all besides the point.

    Queen Elizabeth is the face of the monarchy even though she has a husband...that to me is crazy considering how most things go. She also is so elegant and classy. I know she is a queen and all but there is just something about her aura that gives off this sense of pride but fight. That queen is a true queen. 

  7. 7. Blake Lively


    “The most powerful thing is for women not just to be the beneficiaries of the change, but to be agents of it.”

    - Blake Lively is not only stunning but she has the kindest heart. I look up to the fact that she does whatever she wants when it makes her happy. She is an advocate and uses her platform for good. I also just have so much respect for someone who is a celebrity but chooses to keep her private life private. I always felt that she was talking directly to me and for some reason her spirit makes me feel unstoppable (and have you seen her outfits, especially the heels?! 10/10 for the individuality). 

  8. 8. Viola Davis


    “There’s no prerequisites to worthiness. You’re born worthy, and I think that’s a message a lot of women need to hear”

    - Viola Davis is a rockstar actress. She takes on the most challenging roles and makes them look easy. When I first saw her it was in How to Get Away With Murder and I was taken aback by the presense of her female role. Then, in Black Panther, I was just in awe of Viola Davis and her ability to make me feel. I continued to see her and watched her speeches. She is a rolemodel for not only young black women but everyone who truly listens to her messages. 

  9. 9. Shonda Rhimes

    woman wearing black shirt eating popcorn


    “I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard.

    Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

    - Shonda Rhimes is an African American TV producer. She created Grey's AnatomyScanadal, along with other hit shows. Shonda Rhimes has taken the industry by storm and become a great female rolemodel to look up to when trying to navigate the professional world. She showed me that breaking barriers and doing whatever it is you are meant to do without apology is the right way. She worked so hard and continues to work hard to get where she wants to be. That is a message to anyone. I love this quote becasue she asserts herself and knows her worth. 

  10. 10. Rihanna

    Rihanna on Vogue magazine


    “You may never be good enough for everybody, but you will always be the best for somebody.”

    - Rihanna taught me something a little different than the other ones. I learned how to navigate myself in a world full of men, but I also leanred how to deal with a relationship with a man as well. Rihanna's songs have always spoken to me and resonated with how I felt, even though she is older than me. She talks about empowerment, but also speaks about understanding the roles we play in our own story. This quote is one of my favorite because it embodies the truth; "you don't have to be the center of everyone's world, not everyone is going to love and accept you, but for at least one person - you are perfect. 

  11. 11. Priyanka Chopra 


    “When life gives you lemons, make grape juice, then sit back and let people wonder how you did it.”

    - Priyanka Chopra-Jonas is such a beautiful person. I love how kind and funny she is. She has, of course, broken down barriers in the acting world and become a powerhouse female lead actress. For me, it is her presence and her way with others. I don't think that being a powerful and strong women always means you have to go in guns blazing. Sometimes, it's just about being confident in who you are. Loving yourself. Loving others. Being a glowing light for others to follow. Priyanka is inspiring and, when I see her in a show or when I see her speaking, I know I'm going to feel something powerful through her. 

  12. 12. Malala Yousafzai 


    “There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”

    - Malala Yousafzai is a name that most of us know the moment we hear it. Malala is an activist in the most pure sense of the word. She uses her voice to stand up for what she believes in, which is all any of us can do. I learned about Malala in school and ever since then I have been trying to gain more knowledge on her point of view.

    Malala became even more of an icon when she was tragically shot on a bus in 2012. Clearly it was a horrible incident that happened; however, she recovered. Once she recovered she didn't stop. This is my point of where she became more of an icon; even though her life was literally almost taken away for what she was saying, she never stopped, she never paused, she never got quieter - she got louder. 

  13. 13. Ellen Degeneres

    LGBTQ multicolored top


    “Do we have to know who’s gay and who’s straight? Can’t we just love everybody and judge them by the car they drive.”

    - Ellen has had a little bit of controversy around her lately. However, she is still a strong female voice in multiple communities. Ellen strives to make the LGBTQ+ community a normalized idea. A lot of the time people still see it as an us versus them situation, even if they 'are okay with it' or 'accept it' or 'support their rights'. Being LGBTQ+ isn't some foreign entity from everyone else. I think that Ellen is a strong voice for many people struggling with sexuality related issues. Ellen is known for being an icon for self-love as well as being a women in comedy. Overall, I believe that Ellen is a good person with good intentions; we shouldn't forget everything she has spent her entire lifetime trying to achieve. 

  14. 14. Meghan Markle


    “Women don’t need to ‘find a voice.’ They have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it, and people need to be encouraged to listen.”

    - Meghan Markle has been a female icon that has taken everyone kind of by surprise. She has had so much positivity around her but still gets backlash. What I love about her is, even with the negativity, she still puts her whole heart into what she believes in. She still reached out to everyone she can to spread her caring thoughts and actions. She works with her husband as a team. Truly to me, that is such a cool thing to watch happen. As a female being able to share your voice but also be heard, not just by the public, but by your own spouse is empowering.  

  15. 15. Marilyn Monroe

    brunette woman shot from behind facing a window, wearing headphones listening to music and holding them with her hands


    “I’m selfish, impatient, and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and, at times, hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hall don’t deserve me at my best.”

    - Marilyn Monroe is simply a goddess in my opinion. She is such a dynamic woman. Marilyn was an actress, a model, and a singer. She also was a very popular sex symbol from the 1950s to the early 1960s. Marilyn Monroe changed the way that people saw sexuality and she embraced herself no matter what was being said about her. She also played countless roles that made her stand out. This quote felt so real to me, so raw. Women are not perfect, no one is, and being able to accept that but also finding others that accept you for all of you is crucial. 

three women posing Photo by Omar Lopez from Unsplash These quotes​ and these women have truly impacted my life and how I see the world. Not only that, but how I see myself and my role as a women. 

There are so many important lessons to be learned, to be shared, and to be spread about women empowerment. I feel like even though women have come such a long way in the fight for equailty, the fight to be listened to, the fight for a seat at the table, that it still isn't far enough. 

After writing this and letting this all out I also was thinking about a few tips for us girls:

- Love yourself no matter what 

- Do not let anyone walk all over you

- Never be afraid to stand up for what you believe in and deserve

- Hold others up, keep the positivity and love flowing

and lastly,

- Being a strong woman doesn't mean you are alone, if you have a partner - no matter what that relationship looks like, make sure they empower you as well. That they lift you up and do not try to supress who you are & your voice. 

I am fortunate enough to have someone who respects women fully and does not try to be overpowering as a man. For me it is essential that those who are around you and those who you become close with in a more serious fashion have the same values and understand your needs as a women. People that can listen and learn from the words we say and how we feel. I personally am grateful to have that; women do not get that luxury in many cases and the road to that kind of suport is often long, cracked, & complicated. 

Thank you Andrew for being the man you are & for letting me be the women I am <3

Women with boyfriend Original photo by Maddie Englman

Keep being yourself and never let someone else dim your light. Follow in the footsteps of strong women, no matter who they are or how you came to idolize their message. 

I hope this has found you in a place of openness and that some (or all) of these women can resonate with you. 

Unitl next time,

HCXO, Maddie Rose