This year has been a testing one for Women—without a doubt—but gratefully, countless leading women have still delivered sincere, galvanizing useful words and consolation to which we can all stick. Here, we reflect on this year’s most powerful quotes.
“I know we have still not shattered that highest and hardest glass ceiling, but someday, someone will—and hopefully sooner than we might think right now. And to all of the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” —Hillary Clinton, remaining optimistic during her concession speech.
“[Barack and I] explain that when someone is cruel, or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high.” —Michelle Obama, delivering an emotional appeal on opening night of the DNC
“If you are broken, you do not have to stay broken.” —Selena Gomez, in her first public appearance after admitting herself into rehab, at the AMAs
“What’s really important is standing up and making our voices so loud that they have no choice to ignore us.” —Shailene Woodley, in a speech at the Environmental Media Association Awards
“We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We get to decide for ourselves what is beautiful when it comes to our bodies. That decision is ours and ours alone.” —Jennifer Aniston, in an essay for Huffington Post
“Women have been so oppressed for so long, they believe what men have to say about them…As women, we have to start appreciating our own worth and each other’s worth.” —Madonna, accepting her honor as Woman of the Year at the Billboard Women in Music Awards
“There’s nothing weak about struggling with mental illness. You’re just having a harder time living in your brain than other people.” —Kristen Bell, opening up about the stigma surrounding mental illness
“We have the opportunity to contribute to a society where any girl can look at a billboard or magazine cover and see her own reflection…You have the power to change perception, to inspire and empower, and to show people how to embrace their complications, and see the flaws, and the true beauty and strength that’s inside all of us.” —Beyoncé, accepting the Fashion Icon Award at the CFDA
“I truly believe that the privilege of a lifetime is being who you are and I just recently embraced that at 51.” —Viola Davis, at the Critic’s Choice Awards
“The university experience must tell women that their brain power is valued, and not just that, but that they belong among the leadership of the university itself. ” —Emma Watson, in a speech at the UN General Assembly
“The worst thing that we can do as women is not stand up for each other, and this is something we can practice every day, no matter where we are and what we do.” —Amal Clooney, during her keynote address at the 17th Annual Texas Conference For Women
“…I believe that the most inexpensive and perhaps the best medicine in the world is words. Kind words…positive words…words that help people who feel ashamed of an invisible illness to overcome their shame and feel free.” —Lady Gaga, in an open letter about her PTSD
“A lot of people think ‘If this undocumented immigrant gets a job they’re taking it from me.’ Or ‘If this transgender person is able to have equal rights and access then they’re taking something from me.’ It’s a scarcity narrative. If we can move from scarcity to abundance in our rhetoric, that will allow us to begin to believe that there’s enough to go around. We can live in this world together because there is enough to go around.” —Laverne Cox, at Marie Claire’s Young Women’s Honors
“People come on my page and body shame me because I’m too big, because I’m too small, because I’m not good enough for their standards. But at the end of the day, I’m good enough for me.” —Ashley Graham, clapping back on Instagram