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International Women’s Day: ​20 pieces of life advice from women writers ​that’ll make your day

When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example – Roxane Gay

books Updated: Mar 08, 2018 08:54 IST
International Women’s Day is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.
International Women’s Day is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.(Shutterstock)

What is the point of observing International Women’s Day if we don’t listen to what the women among us have to say? We’ve compiled 20 truths about life (and how to enjoy it) from the writings of the women writers we love.


“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.”

– J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”

– Virginia Woolf

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”

– George Eliot

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

– Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

“When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.”

– Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.”

– Toni Morrison

“A book is a good substitute for a man. Fiction, preferably.”

– Kamala Suraiyya Das (Wages of Love)

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

– Tina Fey (Bossypants)

“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.”

– Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby)

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”

– Maya Angelou

“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”

– Jane Austen (Emma)

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”

– Nora Ephron

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”

– Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)

“If you want to know what’s in motherhood for you, as a woman, then - in truth - it’s nothing you couldn’t get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whisky with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.”

– Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)

“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.”

– Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)

And here’s a bonus:

“Ignore what other people think. Most people aren’t even paying attention to you.”

– Amy Poehler

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