Feminine wisdom: A look at what women said in a year like no other

By Tenzin Norzom|13th Dec 2020
2020 showed that words are powerful and what women say, matters. These 25 quotes by strong women will help you be more hopeful of the future.
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This year has not been an easy one by any means. The fact that words like new normal, quarantine, social distancing, has become part of our everyday vocabulary says enough of 2020. In the quest to beat a pandemic, inequalities became visible, unfortunate social events have come to the fore, and people around the world showed hope and support as allies of black people.


There have also been triumphs for women – Kamala Harris led the way for many firsts. At home in India, many women are at the forefront, from ensuring social justice to being frontline workers and leading innovations. Around the world, female leaders are being lauded for keeping COVID-19 under control far more effectively than male leaders.


More than anything, the year went to show that words are powerful and strong words from strong women, matter all the more.


HerStory presents 25 quotes to wrap up the year in the most hopeful way.

On living

“We’ve got one shot at this life, and to not be productive with what we’ve been given, to me, is a travesty.” -Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO, Ariel Investments


“I think that there is a lot of inner strength in all of you and in each and every one of us in order to just carry on and wherever we are, push, push, push.” - Christine Lagarde, President, European Central Bank


“Don’t ever feel entitled to win, just work harder.” – Beyoncé, singer


“I have never silenced my conscience to fit in. And I have always known that there is a price to be paid for it.” – Sushmita Sen, actor


“If you’re going to speak truth to power, make sure it’s the truth.” Margaret Atwood, poet and novelist.


“I can’t begin to express how remarkable it feels to finally love who I am enough to pursue my authentic self.” – Elliot Page, actor

On gender equality

women directors

Actor Issa Rae reading the all-male nomination in the much-anticipated category of best director at the Academy Award went viral on social media.

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last.” - Kamala Harris, Vice President-elect of USA.

“Women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community bring different perspectives to the table—perspectives that are very much needed to reimagine a better world for everyone.” - Melinda Gates, philanthropist


“If you know how to measure a woman, you may not be a woman, first and foremost.” - Katy Perry, singer.


“Affordable, reliable childcare shouldn’t be a luxury for some. It should be available to all—during COVID-19 and always.” - Melinda Gates, philanthropist.


“I want to live in a place where a woman’s ability to succeed should be a basic human right, and not based on geography or chance” - Priyanka Chopra, actor.


“Often women don’t sign up for tougher roles because their child is in Class 10, or don’t opt for sales because it involves traveling. We start giving up in layers and are finally left with very little.” Rajashree R, Chief Marketing Officer of TCS.

On the Black Lives Matter movement

Black lives matter

George Floyd's six-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd with NBA Stephen Jackson, a long-time friend of Geroge.

“Things feel chaotic and, at the same time there’s still a sense of possibility and hope.” Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.


“We need to acknowledge that the racism and brutality in this country has been going on for a long time - and it's never been okay. As allies who want equality and peace, it's our responsibility to make noise, to demand justice, to educate ourselves on these issues, and more than anything, to spread love. How much more time are we willing to let pass without change?” – Jennifer Anniston, actor.


“If you’re concerned with the murder of black people by police, to be deterred or shifted because someone is taking a pair of jeans from a Target, then you’ve got to look at how much you cared about the murder of the black people by the police to begin with.” Oprah Winfrey.

On change

“If countries invest in people, you create populations that other people want to invest in,” Priyanka Chopra, actor.


“If there was a time for change, it's this decade, and if there is a time for action, I would say it's now.” Leanne Kemp, blockchain expert and entrepreneur.


The pandemic, mental health, and more

“I cannot see a world filled with kindness without science and technology being involved,” Gitanjali Rao, scientist, innovator and TIME’s first ever Kid of the Year.


"This pandemic is teaching us how interconnected we really are, and long after this is over, I hope we can remember that we are so much stronger when we are working together." – Michelle Obama, the former first lady of the US


“I want every person experiencing mental illness to know that you are not alone - because there are no obvious physical symptoms. You feel like you are the only one going through this, and it comes with a lot of guilt.” Deepika Padukone, actor.


“You are that next generation. Take the torch and leave your mark. Put your stake in the ground and build the future you want and you believe in and fight like hell to do it." - Megan Rapinoe, soccer player.


“The greatest gift we can gift each other is sharing our stories—in all their messy, broken glory. When we stand in the truth of who we are, we invite others to do the same.” Michelle Obama, the former first lady of USA.

“Women are the real heroes of this crisis, even if they are not recognized as such. But curiously, there seems to be a lack of awareness that women are actually shouldering the response to this crisis. Even if they are saving lives, they remain unsung heroes,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women.


Edited by Anju Narayanan

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