It is the helpless cry of [the] lost women who are victims of centuries of wrong; it is the unspoken plea of thousands of women now standing on the brink of similar ruin; it is the silent appeal of the army of women in all lands who in shops and factories are demanding fair living and working conditions; it is the need to turn the energies of more favoured women to public service; it is the demand for a complete revision of women's legal, social, educational, and industrial status all along the line, which permits us no delay, no hesitation. The belief that we are defending the highest good of the mothers of our race and the ultimate welfare of society makes every sacrifice seem trivial, every duty a pleasure. The pressing need spurs us on, the certainty of victory gives us daily inspiration.
Carrie Chapman Catt (1859–1947), U.S. suffragist, journalist, and educator. As quoted in Feminism: The Essential Historical Writings, part 5, by Miriam Schnier (1972).
From a 1911 speech delivered in Stockholm, Sweden. Catt served two terms as President of the National Woman Suffrage Association (1900-1904 and 1915-1920) and founded the International Woman Suffrage Alliance.