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10 Empowering Quotes from Women in Politics

From diplomats to champions of democracy, these impressive women share timeless advice.

1 / 10

A Better Democracy

“For me, a better democracy is a democracy where women do not only have the right to vote and to elect but to be elected.”—Michelle Bachelet, head of UN Women, former president and defense minister of Chile, in The New York Times

2 / 10

The Forces of Freedom

“Neither the chains of dictatorship nor the fetters of oppression can keep down the forces of freedom for long.”—Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, during an Exchange of Toasts with President Barack Obama

3 / 10

Achieving Something

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.”—Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female prime minister, in an interview with Press Association

4 / 10

To Make Peace

“To make peace, one must be an uncompromising leader. To make peace, one must also embody compromise.”—Benazir Bhutto, first woman elected to lead a Muslim state as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in “Reflections on Working Towards Peace” from Architects of Peace: Visions of Hope in Words and Images

5 / 10

Power Does Not Corrupt

“It is not power that corrupts but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”—Aung San Suu Kyi, Burmese pro-democracy leader, in her book Freedom from Fear.

6 / 10

What We Do Defines Who We Are

“Whatever title or office we may be privileged to hold, it is what we do that defines who we are … Each of us must decide what kind of person we want to be—what kind of legacy that we want to pass on.”—Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan at The Women’s Conference

7 / 10

Education Is Transformational

“Education is transformational. It literally changes lives. That is why people work so hard to become educated, and that is why education has always been the key to the American Dream, the force that erases arbitrary divisions of race and class and culture and unlocks every person’s God-given potential.”—Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, at the Boston College Commencement.

8 / 10

How Not to Be Happy

“Happiness is not a goal, it is a by-product. Paradoxically, the one sure way not to be happy is deliberately to map out a way of life in which one would please oneself completely and exclusively.”—Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady, in her book You Learn by Living. Don’t be embarrassed by asking these common political questions. 

9 / 10

Stay True to Yourself

“One of the lessons that I grew up with was to always stay true to yourself and never let what somebody else says distract you from your goals. And so when I hear about negative and false attacks, I really don’t invest any energy in them, because I know who I am.”—Michelle Obama, first lady, in an interview with Marie Claire

For more of Michelle Obama’s wisdom, check out her latest book: The Light We Carry.

10 / 10

The Size of Your Dreams

“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”—Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, at Harvard Commencement

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest