International Women's Day 2016: Feminist quotes from icons to inspire you

From Katherine Hepburn and Bette Davis, to Emma Watson and Aung San Suu Kyi - read words of strength on the subject of gender equality

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The Independent Online

Associating feminism with "man-hating" is like pairing a belief in Islam with religious extremism. The misunderstanding of the two ideas is widespread, yet the radical notions are only perpetrated by the tiniest of minorities.

But it takes a brave person to bow to their ignorance on the matter.

Last year Orange Is The New Black actor Matt McGorry said: “I'm embarrassed to admit that I only recently discovered the ACTUAL definition of ‘feminism’,” he wrote on Facebook. "The fact that the term is sometimes clouded with anything other than pure support and positivity in our society is very tragic. I believe in gender equality. Being a feminist is for both women AND men. I AM A FEMINIST."

Indeed, in June last year the late Alan Rickman brilliantly summed up the definition of the word: “I always think feminist just means common sense.”


Their comments followed a two-year-long drive led by Emma Watson to educate the world about feminism as a means to achieving gender equality.

The #HeForShe campaign specifically aimed to encourage men to take a stand for the women in their lives, be they their partners, mothers, friends or female colleagues who, according to recent UN predictions, may need to wait another 70 years for the gender pay gap to close.

In the two years since her speech, more and more high-profile men and women have come out to speak of the gender pay gap which exists in the film industry. Most famously, Jennifer Lawrence wrote an essay for Lena Dunham's Lenny letter last year addressing the Sony hack that revealed she made less than her male co-stars, who she called the "lucky people with d*cks".

So, appropriately, this year the theme for International Women’s Day is #PledgeforParity and the organisation is encouraging both men and women to pledge to achieve gender equality at a faster rate which is something that definitely needs to happen if the statistics are anything to go by. Last year, the World Economic Forum predicted that the disparity in earnings between men and women might not even out until 2133.

Click through the gallery of iconic feminist quotes above to be inspired and pledge for parity.