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17 quotes from leaders about the power of gender equality

This International Women’s Day, it’s important to remember the potential of a truly equal society.

International Women's Day: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Updated March 2019.

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women’s achievements while also accepting that everyone has a role to play in creating gender-balanced world.

This is what some of the world’s notable leaders are saying about changing the agenda on gender.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author

“Of course I am not worried about intimidating men. The type of man who will be intimidated by me is exactly the type of man I have no interest in.”

Emma Watson

“Gender equality not only liberates women but also men from prescribed gender stereotypes.”

Elle Macpherson, supermodel and WelleCo co-founder

“I’m pro everyday equality, everyday celebration and everyday respect. I feel fortunate that we are not back in the days when men were seen as more powerful.”

International Women's Day
Elle Macpherson. Image: WelleCo.

Margaret Atwood

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

International Women's Day
Margaret Atwood

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Women must learn to play the game as men do.”

International Women's Day
Eleanor Roosevelt

Barack Obama, former US President

“That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.”

International Women's Day
Barack Obama.

Bill Gates, Microsoft co-founder

“People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented. Didn’t they?”

International Women's Day
Bill Gates

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the US

Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.”

International Women's Day
Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Dame Helen Mirren, award-winning actress

“I think every woman in our culture is a feminist. They may refuse to articulate it, but if you were to take any woman back 40 years and say, ‘Is this a world you want to live in?’ They would say, ‘No.’”

International Women's Day
Dame Helen Mirren

Melinda Gates, Co-Founder, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

“On International Women’s Day, let’s remember: When women and girls are equal, everyone is greater.”

International Women's Day
Melinda Gates

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

“If you give an education to a girl, that’s how you’re changing her life and that’s how you’re also changing the world.”

International Women's Day
Malala Yousafzai

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

“Fellow males, get onboard. The closer that America comes to fully employing the talents of all its citizens, the greater its output of goods and services will be.”

International Women's Day
Warren Buffett

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

International Women's Day
Sheryl Sandberg

Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the US

“Let’s be very clear: Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”

International Women's Day
Michelle Obama

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“We shouldn’t be afraid of the word ‘feminist’, men and women should use it to describe themselves.”

International Women's Day
Justin Trudeau

Indra Nooyi, Chair, PepsiCo

“At the end of the day, don’t forget that you are a person, don’t forget you are a mother, don’t forget you are a wife, don’t forget you are a daughter.”

International Women's Day
Indra Nooyi

Drew Gilpin Faust, former President, Harvard University

“I’m not the woman president of Harvard. I’m the president.”

For more International Women’s Day inspiration, we bring you the stories of 20 brave women advocating for a fair, equal world for all.

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