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25 powerful commencement speeches by women

Here is a  list of striking quotes from famous ladies who delivered real, empowering, and provocative messages that are just as relevant today.

Here is a  list of striking quotes from famous ladies who delivered real, empowering, and provocative messages that are just as relevant today.
Read on for truth bombs from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Amy Poehler, and 22 more on everything from taking risks to redefining success.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Wellesley, 1992

“As women today, you face tough choices. You know the rules are basically as follows:
• If you don’t get married, you’re abnormal.
• If you get married but don’t have children, you’re a selfish yuppie. If you get married and have children, but work outside the home, you’re a bad mother. • If you get married and have children, but stay home, you’ve wasted your education.
• And if you don’t get married, but have children and work outside the home as a fictional newscaster, then you’re in trouble with Dan Quayle.
“So you see, if you listen to all the people who make these rules, you might just conclude that the safest course of action is just to take your diploma and crawl under your bed. But let me propose an alternative. Hold on to your dreams. Take up the challenge of forging an identity that transcends yourself. Transcend yourself and you will find yourself … There is no dress rehearsal for life, and you will have to ad lib your way through each scene. The only way to prepare is to do what you have done: Get the best possible education; continue to learn from literature, scripture, and history, to understand the human experience as best you can so that you have guideposts charting the terrain toward whatever decisions are right for you.”

Nora Ephron, Wellesley, 1996

“You are graduating from Wellesley in the Year of the Wonderbra. The Wonderbra is not a step forward for women. Nothing that hurts that much is a step forward for women. What I’m saying is, don’t delude yourself that the powerful cultural values that wrecked the lives of so many of my classmates have vanished from the earth. Don’t let the New York Times article about the brilliant success of Wellesley graduates in the business world fool you — there’s still a glass ceiling. Don’t let the number of women in the work force trick you — there are still lots of magazines devoted almost exclusively to making perfect casseroles and turning various things into tents. Don’t underestimate how much antagonism there is toward women and how many people wish we could turn the clock back. One of the things people always say to you if you get upset is, don’t take it personally, but listen hard to what’s going on and, please, I beg you, take it personally. Understand: Every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you.”

Shonda Rhimes, Dartmouth, 2014

“Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring and dreams are not real.”

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Article written by Julie Ma, published on New York Magazine’s The Cut

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