The 10 Best Feminist Quotes of 2015

Just like that, 2015 is coming to a close. Despite some serious ups and downs, 2015 became the year that same-sex marriage was legalizedglobal support for women’s education surged and feminist consciousness soared. So let us bask in the feminist glory of the year with a few of our favorite quotes from 2015.

1. “When you said in your speech, ‘If not now, when? If not me, who?’, I decided there’s no way and there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I’m a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality.” — Malala Yousafzai,  in conversation with Emma Watson in November.

Malala Yousafzai

2. “As one of just 20 women currently in the Senate, it’s important to me to encourage more women to run for office…But equally important is encouraging more men to sometimes just shut the hell up. It’s not that women don’t value your thoughts, it’s just that we don’t value all of them. The world doesn’t need your opinion on everything. For example, what women do with their bodies. Hush.” —Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), in a satirical skit on the Late Show With Stephen Colbert in November.

Sen. Claire McCaskill

3. “As a first lady, a mother, and a human being, I cannot walk away from these girls, and I plan to keep raising my voice on their behalf for the rest of my life. I plan to keep urging world leaders to invest in their potential and create societies that truly value them as human beings. I plan to keep reaching out to local leaders, families and girls themselves to raise awareness about the power of sending girls to school. And I plan to keep talking about this issue here at home, because I believe that all of us—men and women, in every country on this planet—have a moral obligation to give all of these girls a future worthy of their promise and their dreams. “—First Lady Michelle Obama, in an essay written in November for The Atlantic about the Let Girls Learn initiative.


4. “Let me tell you something: The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” —Viola Davis, during her Emmy Award acceptance speech in September.

Viola Davis

5. “People ask me sometimes, when—when do you think it will it be enough? When will there be enough women on the court? And my answer is when there are nine.” —Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking at Georgetown University in February.


6. “I have a personality defect where I sort of refuse to see myself as an underdog. I often am reminded of it when people ask why I am confident. It’s because my parents…they raised me with the entitlement of a tall, blonde, white man.” —Mindy Kaling, at a Q & A during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in January.


7. “There can be no great triumph over racism without addressing capitalism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, the environment that we live in and the food that we consume. We have to recognize all of these connections.” —Angela Davis, speaking at “Angela Davis: A Lifetime of Revolution,” hosted by USC’s Black Student Assembly and the USC Speakers Committee in February.


8. “When I was in preschool, I played catch with the other kids, and was told I threw ‘like a girl.’ I have been a feminist ever since.” —Girl Meets World star Rowan Blanchard, speaking at U.N. Women’s annual conference in June.

Rowan Blanchard

9. “End the ‘angry black girl’ narrative. It’s just another attempt to undermine certain perspectives. I have strong opinions. I am not angry.” —actor Amandla Stenberg, in a July tweet .


10. “People are always asking me, ‘Who will you pass the torch to?’ The question makes me angry. There is no one torch—there are many torches—and I’m using my torch to light other torches. There shouldn’t have been a ‘first’ Gloria Steinem, and there won’t be a last one.”—Gloria Steinem, in an October interview with The New Yorker. 


Photos of Mindy Kaling, Amandla Stenberg and Viola Davis via Shutterstock. Photo of Angela Davis courtesy of Universität Wien. Photo of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg via Wake Forest University School of Law. Photo of Rowan Blanchard courtesy of Dominick D. Photo of Gloria Steinem courtesy of Jewish Women’s Archive. Photo of Malala Yousafzai courtesy of Utenriksdepartementet UD. Photo of First Lady Michelle Obama courtesy of U.S. Embassy Tokyo. Photo of Sen. Claire McCaskill courtesy of Senator Claire McCaskill. All images licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. 

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Vienna Urias is an editorial intern at Ms.


  1. Maybe the voice of organized women may be able to get the human race caught up to where it should be from the International Year for the Culture of Peace. The year 2000 was to be the year that UNESCO began to help the world create the tools that would make choosing peace over the resort to war. I the intervening years this goal has been virtually ignored by the major powers. Weapons and force are the options of choice by NATO and its mujahadeen enemies.

  2. I want a poster for each of these comments

    • Linda Petersen says:

      Me too. And can one of these women please come to the Pacific islands and do a tour of our beautiful region which with copies of all of the posters….you are all amazing! And we need this kind of advocacy from your places and experience to help our cause in the Pacific. Please get in touch if you think you can make this happen. Merry Xmas and look forward to talking more with you in the new year.

  3. Cherry Bright says:

    There can be no equality when we have men in charge of politics, religion, the board room, big corps,women’s issues etc. Women bring your daughters up with “Girls can do anything”. I had this sticker on my fridge and also one stuck on my daughters study desk. Every day I told her she was beautiful and clever and could do anything. I read her stories and told her they were written by women, showed her huge buildings and told her they were designed and constructed by women, showed her art and music by women. She has grown up to be a strong, confident, beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, humanitarian helping people in third world countries with water and sanitation. Educate your sons that women and men are equal and both are to be respected. If you have a man as a role model who treats women as second rate citizens, your sons and daughters will learn this attitude. (Get rid of him as you’re better off without this bad role model). Vote for women when they run for politics).

    • Except men aren’t in charge of any of those. Women very routinely have their concerns answered and addressed through congress. Even though domestic violence happens equally to both men and women, only women have an entire wing of the justice department devoted specifically to them. Row vs Wade, Rape Shield Laws, and other women’s issues – even ones that don’t exist – are routinely answered by the government.

      Every study ever conducted has revealed that there are fewer women in the “board room” due to women’s personal career choices.

      But you’re absolutely right that we need to tell girls that they can do anything. We need to empower them, and that’s the primary reason why we need to ditch 3rd Wave Feminism.

  4. Vienna, thank you for putting this together. I loved it. -Susie P.

  5. Anne Marie Kelly says:

    I am 54 years of age. I have been a feminist all my life. I am a scientist, wife, mother, employer, friend. I have always stood for justice and equality, in my words and actions. I am compassionate, intelligent both intellectually and emotionally, creative, and cultured. Of late I have recognised that women have been seeking equality in a world defined by men. I now want the world to be redefined to fully recognise the female contribution to humanity, and then there will be true equality. I think I have become a radical feminist and I am not ashamed of that because when I look at the mess we find ourselves in I believe it is because the world has been defined by men. It is time for change for the sake of humanity, all other life on earth, and our beautiful planet.

    • WORD: Let’s began changing through action. I am a old schooler who time has arrived to continue the journey we began so long ago and never finished. Out of Sacramento, Ca in 1977 a group of 10,000 women “Took back the night ” in the streets of San Francisco, Ca and 30,000 women came together in Houston, Texas for National Conference of Women, well I attended both as Executive Director of Sacramento Women’s Center. Now let’s finish the job we started.

  6. Colleen Conrad says:

    I’m 60 and have been a feminist all my life. I subscribed to Ms when I was in college. I am concerned about women losing healthcare. I don’t understand why we have gone back to pink toys and bikes for girls. I also hate the idea that women have to wear make-up, heels, and skimpy clothes to feel attractive.

  7. And I’m 70 and I’ve been a feminist all my life. My mother, who saw no earthly reason not to carry 100 lb. rolls of roofing paper up a ladder when she was pregnant with my brother, made sure I was. There was nothing that men could do that women couldn’t as far as she was concerned. OK, maybe father children but that didn’t seem like it took much of anything to her way of thinking – not brains or strength or creativity or any of the really important human qualities that she made sure I knew about. Feminist? You bet! Just didn’t have a name for it way back then.

  8. Great article and following comments. It is important for mothers of boys to raise sons who will also foster equality.

  9. Gloria Steinem silences women and gives men permission to silence women.

    Steinem silenced millions of women when she participated in a discussion with bell hooks, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf for the September/October 1993 issue of Ms. Magazine. Those four feminists discussed why women choose not to call themselves feminists instead of asking women who make that choice to speak for themselves. Would Steinem, hooks, Vaid, or Wolf have agreed that a group of nonfeminist women could speak for them to explain why they choose to call themselves feminist?

    Steinem also gives men permission to silence women. On a New York stage in 1992, Steinem said, “We don’t give a shit what she thinks” about Camille Paglia. Steinem’s statement was broadcast on 60 Minutes. On national television, Steinem gave permission to every man listening to silence any woman by saying, “I don’t give a shit what she thinks”.

    Steinem continues to silence women any time she announces that the alternative to feminism is masochism. I called myself a feminist for about 20 years. By the time of the above Ms. article, three local feminist leaders had verbally and emotionally abused me. I talked to other women and discovered the local feminist leaders had abused them as well. I decided I would be a masochist to continue associating with verbally and emotionally abusive women. I stopped calling myself a feminist.

    Gloria Steinem creates inequality between women and for women.

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