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If you can’t be a good example, then you’ll just have to be a terrible warning.

— Catherine Aird

The very first editorial I wrote was about how we needed more women in Parliament. And as a matter of fact, I could run that editorial almost word for word today. It’s changed, but not enough.

— Doris Anderson, on becoming editor of Chatelaine in 1957

When Kinsey came out and reported only one woman in four enjoyed sex, I thought, ‘That’s awful.’ Then there were all these books to help women understand sex. It would have been better to educate the men.

— Doris Anderson

What is power? I can walk in to see the prime minister when I want ... but I can’t get a cab in the rain.

— Bluma Appel

Gender equality is still far over the horizon, and the resistance is absolutely stunning.

— Louise Arbour, has served as: UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, justice of the Supreme Court of Canada

If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.

— Mary Kay Ash

Interesting how, if you are silent, democracy is working. If you speak up, democracy is not for you.

— Beth Atcheson


... nothing else is going to matter if we kill the earth and we kill the food and we destroy the gene pool and there aren’t any people around to enjoy the earth.

— Rosalie Bertell

These people watch CBC and read The Globe and Mail way too much!

— Annette Borger

Anyone who says this movement is dying betrays their own ignorance.

— Rosemary Brown

Sisterhood is powerful.

— Rosemary Brown

That just isn’t good enough, I won’t accept that!

— Rosemary Brown

To be black and female in a society that is both racist and sexist is to be in the unique position of having nowhere to go but up!

— Rosemary Brown

Unless all of us are free, none of us will be free.

— Rosemary Brown

Until all of us have made it, none of us have made it.

— Rosemary Brown

We must open the doors and we must see to it they remain open, so that others can pass through.

— Rosemary Brown

Women should enter politics to bring about change. It’s a tough arena, and an unpleasant one. The sacrifices called for can only be justified on the grounds that we are indeed making the world, or our community, a better place than it is.

— Rosemary Brown

What is not recorded is not remembered.

— Benazir Bhutto


It is not all bad, this getting old, ripening. After the fruit has got its growth it should juice up and mellow. God forbid I should live long enough to ferment and rot and fall to the ground in a squash.

— Emily Carr

As I go across the country and privately visit women’s shelters and counselling centres, I am appalled that the most vulnerable people in our society are still women.

— Adrienne Clarkson


I believe that the time has come for women to take more active roles in all domains of human society, in an age in which education and the capacities of the mind, not physical strength, define leadership. This could help create a more equitable and compassionate society.

— Dalai Lama

Through the horror of rape, rape in war zones is used as an instrument of war.

— Roméo A. Dallaire, Senator

Feminism exists so that no woman ever has to face her abuser in isolation, alone.

— Andrea Dworkin


What feminists do in the legal system is to expose its previously unseen maleness and attempt to deconstruct it, in order to make room for the viewpoints, the concerns and the experience of women.

— Mary Eberts

We sought to establish the personal individuality of women.

— Henrietta Muir Edwards


If a male member of Parliament says anything foolish it is forgotten the next day, but if a woman does it, it is repeated endlessly, right across the country.

— Ellen Fairclough, Canada’s first woman cabinet minister


Leap and the net will appear.

— Skakti Gawain

If high heels were so wonderful, men would still be wearing them.

— Sue Grafton

To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?

— Katherine Graham


You can’t drink oil to live. You can’t eat money to live. If you’ve got no water, you’ve got no life.

— Celina Harpe, elder in Fort MacKay, Alberta

We will be the greatest and strongest group of young women ever formed. I mean of women, by women and for women.

— Adelaide Hoodless, President, YWCA of Canada, 1893

Keep on dreaming and work toward your dream. Only you can make it come true.

— Hazel Hudson


If you’ve come to help me,
You are wasting your time – and mine.
If you come because your liberation is linked to mine,
Then let’s join hands and start working together.

— Ayesha Imam, founding director of BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights in Nigeria

We women’s organizations from a broad spectrum of political views demand an end to the bombing and other tools of death, and call for the immediate start of deliberations to talk peace and not make war. The dance of death and destruction must come to an end. We demand that war no longer be an option, nor violence a strategy, nor killing an alternative. The society we want is one in which every individual can lead a life of security – personal, economic, and social.

It is clear that the highest price is paid by women and others from the periphery – geographic, economic, ethnic, social, and cultural – who now, as always, are excluded from the public eye and dominant discourse.

The time for women is now. We demand that words and actions be conducted in another language.

Ahoti: For Women in Israel | Anuar: Jewish and Arab Women Leadership | Artemis: Economic Society for Women | Aswat: Palestinian Gay Women | Bat Shalom | Coalition of Women for Peace | Economic Empowerment for Women | Feminancy: College for Women’s Empowerment | Feminist Activist Group, Jerusalem | Feminist Activist Group, Tel Aviv | International Women’s Commission, Israeli Branch | Isha L’Isha: Haifa Feminist Center | Itach: Women Lawyers for Social Justice | Kol Ha-Isha: Jerusalem Women’s Center | Mahut Center: Information, Training, and Employment for Women | Shin Movement: Equal Representation for Women | Supportive Community: Women’s Business Development Center | TANDI: Movement of Democratic Women for Israel | Tmura: The Israeli Anti-discrimination Legal Center | University against Harassment, Tel Aviv | Women and their Bodies | Women’s Parliament | Women’s Spirit: Financial Independence for Women Victims of Violence

— Israeli women’s organizations,


They will kill me but they will not kill my voice, because it will be the voice of all Afghan women. You can cut the flower, but you cannot stop the coming of spring.

— Malalai Joya, outspoken Afghan member of parliament who has survived several assassination attempts


Champions keep playing until they get it right.

— Billie Jean King

Language to me is a tool – a very clumsy tool. And words are garden tools with which to till the soil of one’s life.

— Joy Kogawa


Scholarship without public involvement is arcane; public involvement without scholarship leads nowhere.

— Phyllis Lambert

Say to the darkness, “We beg to differ!”

— Mary Jo Leddy

What really matters is what you do with what you have.

— Shirley Lord

We, the native women, feel no one should have the right to discriminate. I think even God would agree with me.

— Sandra Lovelace Nicholas


It’s sad when some politicians are impressive simply because they behave like adults.

— Jude MacDonald

It is a myth and superstition to speak of any considerable body of women as not being workers.

— Marjorie MacMurchy

Someone said that life is a party. You join in after it’s started and leave before it’s finished.

— Elsa Maxwell

Scratch any woman deeply enough and you find a feminist.

— Christina McCall

Disturbers are never popular – nobody ever really loved an alarm clock in action – no matter how grateful they may have been afterwards for its kind services!

— Nellie McClung

I am a firm believer in women – in their ability to do things and in their influence and power. Women set the standards for the world, and it is for us, women of Canada, to set the standards high.

— Nellie McClung

I saw what could be done with words, for I had a vision of a new world as I talked.

— Nellie McClung

Never retreat, never explain, never apologize – get the thing done and let them howl.

— Nellie McClung

The purpose of woman’s life is ... to make the best possible contribution to the generation in which she is living.

— Louise McKinney

I ... learned that even if you are terrified it is best not to show it, then you get credit for being fearless.

— Susan Moir Allison

I think women can save civilization.

— Emily Murphy, Judge


Evolution cannot be brought about by the use of dynamite.

— Irene Parlby, MLA

The woman, in a battle of fists or guns, may not be as great a power as a man; but a woman behind a vote is every bit as useful as a man.

— Irene Parlby

I’ve met more women who fail because of self-pity ... and worrying about their pride. My definition of courage is that you hang on five minutes longer than the other guy. Don’t blink.

— Jean Pigott


I have to cast my lot with those who, age after age, perversely with no extraordinary power reconstitute the world.

— Adrienne Rich

If you have to compromise, be sure to compromise up.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.

— Eleanor Roosevelt

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.

— Arundhati Roy

Change happens when people actively participate; lip service is what happens when people don’t.

— Nancy Ruth , Senator

Establishment women just get mad. Activists change the laws.

— Nancy Ruth, Senator

One of my experiences around feminist risk and change is that it’s difficult, if not impossible, to put new wine into old wineskins.

— Nancy Ruth, Senator


Time and trouble will tame an advanced young woman, but an advanced old woman is uncontrollable by any earthly force.

— Dorothy L. Sayers

The phrase “working mother” is redundant.

— Jane Sellman

There are few subjects that match the social significance of women’s education in the contemporary world.

— Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureat

The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.

— Susan Sontag

I have yet to hear a man ask for advice on how to combine marriage and a career.

— Gloria Steinem


I have come more and more to realize that it is being unwanted that is the worst disease that any human being can ever experience.

— Mother Teresa

You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.

— Margaret Thatcher


If we could sell our experiences for what they cost us, we’d be millionaires.

— Abigail Van Buren

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.

— Pamela Vaull Starr


I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is. I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.

— Rebecca West

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

— Edith Wharton

Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.

— Charlotte Whitton

When you educate a girl, you begin to change the face of a nation.

— Oprah Winfrey

I think - therefore I’m single.

— Lizz Winstead


  • Seasonal Feature

  • April 1994: the night raid at Kingston’s Prison for Women

    by Sierra Bacquie

    There was supposed to be a new approach to the Correctional Service of Canada’s relationship to female offenders, who were promised responsible choices, respect, dignity, supportive environments, and shared responsibility. But on the night of April 26, eight women experienced humiliation, degradation, raw fear and trauma at the hands of an all-male emergency team. How did this happen? What has changed since?  read more