International Women’s Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Taking place each year on 8 March, the international awareness day has been celebrated since the early 1900s and continues to be an important date on the calendar.
To mark the event, here are some inspirational quotes from well known women throughout history.
“You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” Maya Angelou
Angelou was an American feminist writer, poet and civil rights activist. In her poems, Angelou addressed the treatment of woman facing racial discrimination, segregation, and male domination.
She passed away in 2014, but she is still considered one of the most influential feminists in history and is remembered for her significant involvement in the US civil rights movement.
"Every day, you have the power to choose our better history — by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right." Michelle Obama
Obama was the first African-American first lady. She has spoken openly about her pursuit of female equality and advocates for education and equal opportunities for all girls.
Her best-selling memoir, Becoming, addresses her struggles as a woman, mother, African-American and role model for girls.
“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive.”JK Rowling
The Harry Potter author has spoken out about her own struggles as a mother, as well as her experiences of domestic abuse and sexual assault.
She has donated vast amounts of her wealth to supporting the education and safeguarding of women and children in Scotland.
“You may be the first to do many things, but make sure you are not the last, and that’s why breaking those barriers is worth it. As much as anything else, it is also to create that path for those who will come after us.” Kamala Harris
Harris became the first ever female Vice-President of the US, and the first VP of ethnic minority.
She has championed women’s rights and access to education and opportunities.
Harris has spoken of her hope that young women will see her achievements as a demonstration of how women can achieve whatever they put their minds to.
Harris has also addressed concerns over women’s reproductive rights and is a pro-choice campaigner.
“You need to learn to stand up for yourself and what you believe and sometimes, pardon my language, kick some ass." Queen Elizabeth II
The head of state has ruled in the UK for 65 years and has overseen many changes to women’s rights, in Britain and across The Commonwealth.
Under her reign, the rule that stated that male siblings would automatically inherit the throne as opposed to their sisters was abolished. While not being an outspoken advocate of female equality, she has hinted at her support of women’s rights.
In 2013, she signed a new charter for The Commonwealth, which declares the beliefs and values of the 53 member states. The section on gender reads: “We recognise that gender equality and women’s empowerment are essential components of human development and basic human rights.”
“I feel like young girls are told that they have to be a princess and fragile. It's bullsh*t. I identify much more with being a warrior — a fighter. If I was going to be a princess, I'd be a warrior princess. Definitely." Emma Watson
The Harry Potter actress has been vocal about her ambitions for women’s rights and fair treatment. She advocates for female equality and is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and has often spoken out about about her beliefs.
She has stated that it is fundamentally the pursuit of women and men to be treated equally and for women to be given the right to choice in issues which affect them personally.
"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood." Gloria Steinem
Steinem is a US journalist, activist and magazine editor who campaigned for women’s rights in the 1960s and 70s, writing about political campaigns and progressive social issues, including the women’s liberation movement.
She was also a playboy bunny and spoke about the not-so-glamorous side of Hollywood - addressing sexism, underpaid women and the stigma of women’s bodies.
In 2013, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.
In her honour,Rutgers University created The Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture, and Feminist Studies in 2017.
“It is time for women in the world to set the agenda. It’s time for women to redefine the message. We need to make that message a positive one. Let’s make it ambitious, and inclusive, and brimming with hope." Oprah Winfrey
Media mogul Oprah Winfrey is the first female black billionaire and the first black woman to own her own production company.
Winfrey has donated over $400m to educational causes and In 2004, she established the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip south of Johannesburg, South Africa.
Many students at her girls' school in South Africa are AIDS orphans.
In 2013, Winfrey was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Obama, and honorary doctorate degrees from Duke and Harvard. She also features on the Forbes list of Most Powerful Women
“We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced.” Malala Yousafzai
Growing up under the Taliban regime in Pakistan, Yousafzai defied the group’s rules and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education.
She was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012 but survived. In 2014, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
Yousafzai has gone on to campaign for girls’ education and international acknowledgment of women’s rights.