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Empowering quotes from wise women

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Love her or loathe her, there's no denying that Margaret Thatcher made an impact with her powerful speeches. From lines like "this lady is not for turning" to "Power is like being a lady... if you have to tell people you are, you aren't", Lady Thatcher's words still pack a punch, becoming iconic (and imminently quotable ) over the years. So with The Iron Lady launching in cinemas this week (6 January), we've picked some of the most empowering statements made by women throughout history - rousing words that are sure to help you kick start the New Year...

Picture credits: Rex Features

Think we missed any women off our list? Tweet us @Stylistmagazine with your suggestions

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman."

    - Margaret Thatcher

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament"

    - Alanis Morissette (quoted in Reader's Digest)

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be a challenge to others."

    -Amelia Earhart

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman."

    - Anaïs Nin

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "The question is not whether we are able to change but whether we are changing fast enough."

    - Angela Merkel

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world."

    -Annie Lennox

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all."

    - Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, leader of Burma's democracy movement

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President's spouse. I wish him well!"

    - Barbara Bush, ex- First Lady

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I've been called many names like perfectionist, difficult and obsessive. I think it takes obsession, takes searching for the details for any artist to be good."

    - Barbra Streisand

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work."

    - Bette Davis

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Aging is not 'lost youth' but a new stage of opportunity and strength."

    — Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion."

    — Billie Jean King, female tennis champion who battled for equal pay

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "People think at the end of the day that a man is the only answer [to fulfillment]. Actually a job is better for me."

    —Princess Diana

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with the rain."

    - Dolly Parton

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I could not, at any age, be content to take my place by the fireside and simply look on. Life was meant to be lived. Curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."

    -Eleanor Roosevelt, ex-First Lady

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."

    - Ella Fitzgerald

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    “It seems to me there's this tyranny that's not accidental or incidental, to make women feel compelled to look like somebody they're not. I think the effort is being made to get us to turn our time and attention to this instead of important political issues.”

    ― Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do."

    - Helen Keller, the first deafblind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "You must learn to be still in the midst of activity and to be vibrantly alive in repose."

    -Indira Gandhi

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "It is better to look ahead and prepare than to look back and regret."

    - Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the first woman to win back-to-back gold medals in the Summer Olympics

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. There is no yesterday, no tomorrow, it's all the same .... day."

    - Janis Joplin

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I was told to avoid the business all together because of the rejection. People would say to me, 'Don't you want to have a normal job and a normal family?' I guess that would be good advice for some people, but I wanted to act."

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "You don't get to choose how you're going to die, or when. You can only decide how you're going to live now."

    - Joan Baez

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."

    -Judy Garland

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Perseverance is failing nineteen times and succeeding the twentieth."

    - Julie Andrews

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Always be smarter than the people who hire you"

    Lena Horne, singer

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I'm tough, I'm ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay."

    - Madonna Ciccone

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Woman must not accept; she must challenge.

    She must not be awed by that which has been built up around her;

    she must reverence that woman in her which struggles for expression."

    Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained."

    - Marie Curie

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "The greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not our circumstances."

    - Martha Washington

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I think the key is for women not to set any limits."

    - Martina Navratilova

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "If you have made mistakes...there is always another chance for you...you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down."

    - Mary Pickford, actress, and co-founder of the film studio United Artists

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Courage allows the successful woman to fail-

    and learn powerful lessons-

    from the failure-

    so that in the end,

    she didn't fail at all."

    - Maya Angelou

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity."

    - Michella Obama

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person."

    - Mother Theresa

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job, and not be paid for it."

    - Oprah Winfrey

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it."

    - Roseanne Barr

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "Make a difference about something other than yourselves."

    - Toni Morrison

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "An actress can only play a woman. I'm an actor, I can play anything."

    - Whoopi Goldberg

  • Empowering quotes from wise women

    "No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended."

    - Alice Walker

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