Pauline Weger, founder of Quotabelle. (Andre Chung/for The Washington Post)

The start-up Quotabelle is an online resource for inspiring quotes from women. There’s also a book, “Beautifully Said: Quotes by Remarkable Women and Girls, Designed to Make You Think,” and notecards. Founder Pauline Weger, 57, lives in Fairfax, Va. One of her favorite quotes is, “The more we see, the more we are capable of seeing,” by astronomer Maria Mitchell.

This entire interview will consist of quotes from women.


Quotabelle began when you were working with Capital Area Food Bank.

I had been working for Deloitte for 10 years. Capital Area Food Bank was rebranding for their move. It was a phenomenal opportunity, time to take all that good corporate knowledge and apply it in a business that does good for society. I started to write a book. It’s hard! I would get stuck. I started to look around for epigrams by women. I was stunned by how hard it was to find quotes by anyone other than Mother Teresa or Maya Angelou. Typically about 10 percent of what was shared on lists were quotes by women. I thought, This is odd. I dug into it further, hired a researcher. We didn’t think there was a gender bias, so where we landed was, there’s a quote supply problem.


So Quotabelle was going to solve the supply problem. I posted to a female-oriented business group. “Looking for great quotes by women. Can you help?” Quotes just poured in. The very first was by Mae Jemison. “Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.” I’d never heard of Mae Jemison! She was the first African American female astronaut. It was a story that mattered. That’s where we landed: using one of the most popular forms of content that’s out there today to be an entree to storytelling. Millions of quotations are shared every day.

At the end of emails, definitely.

Or on social media. Teachers use quotations in classrooms. Writing prompts, discussion topics, essays, tests. So we said, “Is there a way to use a quotation in an engaging way and pair it with the story online?” We got a platform and a patent for it.

Do you have Dorothy Parker?

We have some of her quotes. We have Mae West. She actually was quite a brilliant screenwriter and had a hard time getting her pieces out there.

Was that a woman thing, that she was scandalous?

From what I understand she became more scandalous.

To sell the screenplays?

To get to where she wanted to be.

Is there a quote you like that you wish a woman had said?

We’re not against guys’ quotes, but our mission is parity. In Quotabelle there is a way to collect your own quotes, and I do put in guys’ quotes.

Does this book put pressure on women to be inspiring?

Not to be inspiring. To capture and share their thinking.

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