Throughout American history, women have fought to earn rights, respect, and pay rates equal to those of men. While we’ve made significant strides in equality, things still aren’t perfect.
Women still struggle to make equal pay for equal work, which hurts financial health and credit in the long run. Representation in congress, while improving, is still not where it needs to be. And perhaps most notably of all, female representation among Fortune 500 CEOs rests at a measly 5%.
It can be tough being a woman — especially in the workplace. Luckily, there are women everywhere who are paving the way for new female leadership roles and shattering the glass ceiling. These boss ladies offer wisdom on success, failure, motivation, leadership, money, and more.
In honor of National Women’s Day, we’ve put together a list of boss lady quotes from founders, CEOs, athletes, actresses, and others who are helping empower women all across the globe.
“We need to get women to the point where they aren’t apologizing. It’s time to take ownership in our success.” – Tory Burch, Designer and Businesswoman
“When I was younger, I was a bit of an achievement addict, viewing success like a ladder. I loved the high of climbing to the next rung to get a new title or raise. Today, I look at it more like a mountain with lots of beautiful peaks and valleys that are all totally worthy of my time.” – Michelle Lee, Editor-in-Chief, Allure Magazine
“It’s easy to kill an idea with a no, but the smartest people in the room learn how to say yes and make it work.” – Lisa Gersh, CEO of Goop
“Be creative, not perfect. I’d rather an entry-level employee suggest a disruptive idea…than try and be organized in a boring spreadsheet.” – Whitney Wolfe, Founder and CEO of Bumble
“I think success needs to be defined on your own terms. If you look to outside sources (friends, media, the internet) for constant validation, you will never feel fulfilled.” – Jaclyn Johnson, Author and CEO of Create and Cultivate
“You can do anything you want, just not everything. Pick what you want, work harder than most to get it, and believe in yourself.” – Daina Trout, Co-founder of Health-Ade Kombucha
“Don’t let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live” – Mae Jemison, Engineer and NASA Astronaut
“Do not be afraid! Do not worry about fear of failure and fear of what others think.” – Bola Sokunbi, Clever Girl Finance
“When you take risks you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail and both are equally important.” – Ellen DeGeneres, Comedian and TV Host
“Failing is a crucial part of success. Every time you fail and get back up, you practice perseverance, which is the key to life. Your strength comes in your ability to recover.” – Michelle Obama, Former FLOTUS
“There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” – Brené Brown, Research Professor
“I think it's great to be flawed. I am hugely flawed, and I like it this way. That's the fun of life. You fall, get up, make mistakes, learn from them, be human and be you.” – Priyanka Chopra, Actress, Singer, and Film Producer
“You won’t know until you try. Create without fear. If you mess up, who cares? You learn and move on.” – Michelle McHargue, Talent Partner of Cowboy Ventures
“Most of the reason we don't do things is because we're afraid to fail. I just made a decision one day that I was not going to do things in my life because of fear.” – Sara Blakely, CEO of SPANX
“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.” – Tina Fey, Actress, Comedian, and Writer
“I am lucky that whatever fear I have inside me, my desire to win is always stronger” – Serena Williams, Professional Tennis Player
“Whether you work for yourself or others, there will be moments when you feel unhappy or stuck. You can't control everything around you, but in those moments, remind yourself that you are powerful, and that even small, strategic moves can create big shifts for the better.” – Trae Bodge, Lifestyle Journalist and TV Commentator
“Even if your dream seems unattainable, you can achieve it if you stay focused, driven, and diligent.” – Rebecca Minkoff, Designer
"I learned to push the envelope when it comes to asking questions or making requests. And if you hear 'that's not possible,' then to ask 'what is possible,' instead of just saying thank you and leaving.” – Emily Weiss, Founder of Glossier
“It’s really hard to start a business if you don’t care about it. At the margin, when it’s 2am, it has to be that passion that pushes you forward.” – Katrina Lake, Founder of Stitch Fix
“Remember that your time is your most valuable asset, so think about if what you're doing is really what you want to spend your time on, think about if it's getting you to a place that you want to go in the long run. If it's not, go do something else.” – Shan-Lyn Ma, Co-founder of Zola
“If you're not where you want to be in life, don't get discouraged. Remember where you are is not your destiny.” – Sharita Humphrey, Financial Educator
“A true diva is graceful, and talented, and strong, and fearless and brave and someone with humility.” – Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Singer and Songwriter
“You need to have unbound enthusiasm for what you’re building. Energy is contagious, so your team and everyone you interact with feels it.” – Tyler Haney, Founder of Outdoor Voices
"People respond well to those that are sure of what they want. What people hate most is indecision. Even if I'm completely unsure, I'll pretend I know exactly what I'm talking about and make a decision." – Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue
“When you exude confidence, others will naturally follow you. Once you have built that self-confidence, make it your priority to lead by example.” – Kendra Scott, Designer
“Just because you are CEO, don't think you have landed. You must continually increase your learning, the way you think, and the way you approach the organization.” – Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
"I learned to always take on things I'd never done before. Growth and comfort do not coexist.” – Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM
“It’s hard to juggle being a businessperson with being a creative person. You have to organize yourself.” – Vera Wang, Fashion Designer
“The most important aspect of keeping your money is being aware of how much of it you are spending.” – Tiffany Aliche, The Budgetnista
“Financial independence is about more than dollars in the bank…it’s about you living your best life now and replacing the ‘have to dos’ with the ‘get to dos.’” – Naseema McElroy, Financially Intentional
“Money follows art. Money wants what it can’t buy: class and talent. And remember, while there’s a talent for making money, it takes real talent to know how to spend it.” – Candace Bushnell, Author and TV producer
“A big part of financial freedom is having your heart and mind free from worry about the what-ifs of life.” – Suze Orman, Author and Financial Advisor
“Life-fulfilling work is never about the money—when you feel true passion for something, you instinctively find ways to nurture it.” – Eileen Fisher, Clothing Designer
“Rarely is happiness about the materialistic items. Those are awesome to have and money is something you need to sustain yourself, but for me I’ve realized money doesn’t make someone happy.” – Ellen Bennett, Chef and Founder of Hedley & Bennett
Which of these empowering quotes resonated the most with you? Maybe you’re motivated to take control of your finances, or maybe you’re inspired to step up and take on a new leadership role. Take some time to reflect on the wisdom of these women—and then carry on being that boss lady we know you are!
Lauren Bringle is an Accredited Financial Counselor® with Self Financial – a financial technology company with a mission to help people build credit and savings.
Our goal at Self is to provide readers with current and unbiased information on credit, financial health, and related topics. This content is based on research and other related articles from trusted sources. All content at Self is written by experienced contributors in the finance industry and reviewed by an accredited person(s).