15 Quotes for Women in Government

Have you ever heard a quote that was exactly what you needed to hear at that moment? Whether you are in a slump or on a high, hearing the right words at the right time can be key to helping you get through the day or a tough situation.

A few well-situated words can be especially helpful for female public servants who are constantly riding the highs and lows of being a woman in government.

Below are a few quotes from some of our favorite female govies who have challenged, motivated, and inspired us with their words.

On the importance of including women

“I have a commitment, like all of government does, to bring women and minorities into our agency.” – Ann Dunkin, CIO of the Environmental Protection Agency

“When the women of the country come in and sit with you, though there may be but very few in the next few years, I pledge to you that you will get ability, you will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.” – Rebecca Felton, first female U.S. Senator (D-GA), in an address to her Congressional colleagues 

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

On facing challenges

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

“A surplus of effort could overcome a deficit of confidence.” – Sonia Sotomayor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” – Hillary Clinton, former U.S. Senator (D-NY) and Former Secretary of State

On leadership

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” – Rosalynn Carter, former First Lady of the United States

“I have an almost complete disregard of precedent, and a faith in the possibility of something better. It irritates me to be told how things have always been done. I defy the tyranny of precedent. I go for anything new that might improve the past.” – Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross

“I was doing an interview on a panel of women. The question was, ‘Is it more important for a woman to be respected or liked?’ My view is you can actually be both — if you add being decent.” – Valerie Jarrett, Former Senior Advisor to President Obama

On success

“Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States

“The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not my gender.” – Sandra Day O’Connor, first woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice

“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent,” Madeline Albright, Former Secretary of State

On living life

“A pre-State of the Union Address dinner, complete with wine, has become a tradition for the justices. One year, Justice Kennedy came with a couple of bottles of Opus One from California. That was the first time I fell asleep during the State of the Union.” – Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

“My career has had chapters, and my husband’s career has had chapters, and we have figured out ways to mesh those in a way that has mostly worked. Sometimes it has worked more smoothly than others. We certainly don’t think we have it all. Taking a moment to be grateful in spite of the challenges can be helpful.” – Dee Dee Meyers, First Female White House Press Secretary

“I have a brain and a uterus, and I use both.” – Patricia Schroeder, Colorado’s First Female Member of Congress

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Mellie Randall

These quotes are inspirational and I’d like to distribute them to my colleagues, but first,

please fix the spelling of “minorities” in the first quote by Ann Dunkin.