Need a reminder that your voice matters? Check out 21 quotes from women who spoke up.
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History is full of women who bravely fought to make a difference in the world.

As activists, journalists, or fighters, women have stepped up to combat social injustice and defend their freedoms. Others worked their way into “boys clubs,” helping to pave the way for others to follow.

A Woman Suffrage Party parade through New York in 1915.  Image by Paul Thompson/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images.


But while women have always been working toward making the world a better place, their voices were not always heard or acknowledged. And some of these women still do not get the recognition that they deserve in classroom history textbooks, even though their contributions are undeniable. All of them are inspirations.

Here are 21 quotes from just a few notable female leaders about how to make a better world:

1. “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.” — Ida B. Wells-Barnett

Journalist, suffragist and progressive activist Ida Wells Barnett (1862-1931). Photo by R. Gates/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Wells-Barnett was an important African-American journalist and activist who led an anti-lynching crusade in the United States in the 1890s. She also marched in Washington, D.C., in 1913 for universal suffrage.

2. “I hate wars and violence but if they come then I don’t see why we women should just wave our men a proud goodbye and then knit them balaclavas.” — Nancy Wake

Code-named "The White Mouse," Wake was one of the most decorated Allied servicewomen of World War II. She joined the resistance when the war broke out, and is credited with saving the lives of hundreds of Allied soldiers and downed airmen.

3. “Don’t sit and wait for the opportunities to come. Get up and make them.” — Sarah Breedlove

Breedlove, who later became known as Madam C.J. Walker, was one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire, making her fortune by creating a line of specialized hair products for African-American hair.

4. "Do not wait for leaders; do it alone, person to person." — Mother Teresa

Charity worker Mother Teresa seen in her hospital around the time she was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress. Photo by Mark Edwards/Keystone Features/Getty Images.

The founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor, Mother Teresa is one of the most important humanitarians of the 20th century. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 and was canonized as a saint in 2016.

5. “When you find a burden in belief or apparel, cast it off.” — Amelia Bloomer

A 19th-century women’s rights activist, Bloomer helped transform the way American women dressed, advocating for corsets and petticoats to be abandoned and shorter skirts with pants underneath. She also established one of the first newspapers written, edited and published by women: The Lily.

6. “If it is true that men are better than women because they are stronger, why aren’t our sumo wrestlers in the government?” — Kishida Toshiko

A writer and women’s rights activist, Toshiko is also known as Japan’s first female orator. She is famous for her “Daughters in Boxes” speech that criticized a family system that confined women at home.

7. “You should never let your fears prevent you from doing what you know is right.” — Aung San Suu Kyi

Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was detained for 15 years. Photo by Drn/Getty Images.

Activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi was a vocal critic of Myanmar’s dictator U Ne Win, and she initiated a nonviolent movement toward achieving democracy and human rights in her country. More recently, she led the National League for Democracy to a majority win in the country’s first openly contested election in 25 years.

8. “Energy rightly applied can accomplish anything.” — Nellie Bly

Elizabeth Jane Cochran, who wrote under the pen name Nellie Bly, was a brave American journalist known for her investigative and undercover reporting, including her 1887 expose on the treatment of asylum patients at Blackwell’s Island.

9. “To the wrongs that need resistance, To the right that needs assistance, To the future in the distance, Give yourselves.” — Carrie Chapman Catt

She was an activist instrumental in the suffrage movement to get women the right to vote. Chapman Catt also served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association and founded the League of Women Voters.

10. “Truth is powerful and it prevails.” — Sojourner Truth

Abolitionist and feminist Sojourner Truth. Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Born a slave, Sojourner Truth became a popular spokesperson for abolition and women’s rights. She is renowned for her “Ain’t I A Woman?” speech.

11. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” — Marie Curie

We all know that Curie is a famous physicist who conducted important research on radioactivity that led to the discovery of polonium and radium. But did you know that she was twice the winner of a Nobel Prize? She also advanced women's role in the scientific community.

12. “When you get, give. When you learn, teach.” — Maya Angelou

Angelou was an acclaimed American poet, actress, writer, and activist. She is perhaps best known for her memoir “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

13. "We will not have failure — only success and new learning." — Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria ascended to the throne just weeks after her 18th birthday and went on to have the second-longest reign of any queen in British history. Historians often associate her reign with imperialism but also with cultural expansion and advances in industry, science, and technology.

14. “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” — Malala Yousafzai

Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.

Yousafzai, an advocate for girl’s education, made headlines after she survived being shot in 2012 by the Taliban. The incident didn’t stop her from continuing to speak out for education. In 2014, she became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

15. “You must come to terms with the reality that nothing outside ourselves, be it people or things, is actually responsible for our happiness.” — Mary Edwards Walker

Walker was a doctor at a time when female physicians were rare, was arrested several times for dressing in men’s clothing, and became a vocal women’s rights activist after the Civil War.  

During the Civil War, she worked as an assistant surgeon and was captured by the Confederates. She became the first and only woman to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor — though Congress tried to take it back in 1917. She refused to return the medal, proudly wearing it until her death, and President Jimmy Carter reinstated her honor in 1977.

16. “I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” — Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks is fingerprinted by police Lt. D.H. Lackey in Montgomery, Alabama, on Feb. 22, 1956. Image by Gene Herrick/AP Photo.

One of the most famous civil rights activists is Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in 1955. She was a key player in initiating the civil rights movement in the United States.

17. "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."— Eleanor Roosevelt

First lady Roosevelt was also a writer and humanitarian. She is credited with changing the role of the first lady through her active participation in American politics.

18. "Believe in yourself, learn, and never stop wanting to build a better world." — Mary McLeod Bethune

Bethune was one of the most prominent female African-American educators and civil rights activists at the start of the 20th century. She was known as the "First Lady of the Struggle."

19. “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” — Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in 2005. Photo by Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images.

As president of Liberia, Sirleaf is the first elected female head of state in Africa. She also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

20. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” — Helen Keller

Keller, who lost her sight and hearing when she was 19 months old, was an educator, a leading humanitarian, and one of the co-founders of the ACLU.

21. “If you don’t have an idea that materializes and changes a person’s life, then what have you got? You have talk, research, telephone calls, meetings, but you don’t have a change in the community.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Shriver was an advocate in the worldwide struggle for rights and acceptance for people with intellectual disabilities. She founded the Special Olympics in 1968.

Whether they were marching for civil rights, resisting political oppression, or advancing women’s position in the workplace, these women — and many others — fought the good fight.

The 1911 Solvay conference in Brussels. Marie Curie is the only woman in the photograph. Image by Benjamin Couprie/Wikimedia Commons.

They remind us that change is possible. Their words continue to resonate and inspire today.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

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Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Even as millions of Americans celebrated the inauguration of President Joe Biden this week, the nation also mourned the fact that, for the first time in modern history, the United States did not have a peaceful transition of power.

With the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, when pro-Trump insurrectionists attempted to stop the constitutional process of counting electoral votes and where terrorists threatened to kill lawmakers and the vice president for not keeping Trump in power, our long and proud tradition was broken. And although presidential power was ultimately transferred without incident on January 20, the presence of 20,000 National Guard troops around the Capitol reminded us of the threat that still lingers.

First Lady Jill Biden showed up today with cookies in hand for a group of National Guard troops at the Capitol to thank them for keeping her family safe. The homemade chocolate chip cookies were a small token of appreciation, but one that came from the heart of a mother whose son had served as well.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.