There’s no doubt that 2016 is a great year to be a woman, but there’s still a very long way to go. Yesterday, 5,000 women in America met for the first ever United State of Women summit to discuss the biggest issues holding women back from achieving gender equality.
With anthems like “No Scrubs” and “Run the World (Girls)” blasting over the speakers, attendees described the summit as celebration of how far women have come. The focus, however, wasn’t just on talk—it was on action. The White House announced $50 million worth of commitments to improve the lives of women and girls around the world, as well as a litany of initiatives that target key gender gaps in society.
These quotes from the country's most powerful women, from Tina Fey and Michelle Obama to female genital mutilation survivor Jaha Dukureh, are fiery and brave, and they’ll leave you feeling inspired.
On the Orlando shooting and LGBTQ rights
"We have to push back on the voices that pray on fear and sow division. We have to stand up against hate, we have to stand up for love, a love that embodies America at its best." Loretta Lynch, the first female African-American Attorney General
On sexual assault and domestic abuse
“I believe in a future where women can say no without repercussions.” FGM survivor Jaha Dukureh
“There is never a cultural justification for the dehumanization of another human.” Vice President Joe Biden
"I was powerless against the man that attacked me but I am not powerless in ending rape culture." Megan Yap, a leader of the It’s On Us campaign to end sexual assault
“We can no longer allow economic disempowerment to keep women and families trapped.” Kerry Washington
“Women are not meant to be flowers pleasing others until we wilt and die.” Jaha Dukureh
On closing the wage gap
"We need equal pay for equal work. We need paid family and sick leave. We need affordable child care. We’ve got to raise the minimum wage." President Barack Obama
“We’re not done. We’re definitely not done." Tina Fey
“Not only can we do what a man can do…We can do most things better.” Amy Poehler
"The United State of Women is like the U.S.A. It is fierce, diverse, constantly changing and addicted to caffeine." Amy Poehler
“I will help men and boys understand our gain is not their loss.” Meryl Streep
"Cultural change isn't going to happen overnight. It's going to take people in communities deciding they had enough." Mariska Hargitay
“I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like.” President Obama
“Be deliberate, and afraid of nothing.” President Obama, quoting Audre Lorde
“Be fearless. Believe in the impossible. And dream like a kid.” Mikaila Ulmer, the 11-year-old CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade
“You make me proud to spell my name W-O-M-A-N.” Oprah, quoting Maya Angelou
“We are the women our parents warned us about, and we are proud.” Gloria Steinem