International Women's Day 2014
A woman wears spiked stilettos as she practises a pole dancing move during an International Women's Day event at a women's-only pole dancing fitness studio in Sydney March 8, 2014. Reuters

The 2014 theme for International Women's Day is: "Equality for women is progress for all."

The United Nations stresses gender equality is the panacea for many of the world's problems, including poverty, climate change, economic growth and more.

"Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement.

The call for gender equality has been made much before the tradition of observing international Women's Day, currently in its 40th edition and centred around a new theme every year, arose.

Issues highlighting the principle of equality between women and men have been brought to the fore by writers in their works of literature as well as by world leaders, activists and celebrities.

Honouring the theme of International Women's Day 2014, here are ten famous historic and contemporary quotes that clearly call for gender equality:

1. "Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity...If by strength is meant moral power, then woman is immeasurably man's superior...If non-violence is the law of our being, the future is with women." – Gandhi

2. "Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts, as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, to absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex." – Charlotte Brontë in Jane Eyre

3. "We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters." ― Gloria Steinem

4. "Remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors...If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation." ― Abigail Adams

5. "And finally, in our time a beard is the one thing that a woman cannot do better than a man, or if she can her success is assured only in a circus." ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

6. "It is possible for YA heroines to go an entire book without discussing their love lives." ― Celine Kiernan

7. "Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the President's spouse. I wish him well!" – Barbara Bush

8. "Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Do not appeal, do not beg, do not grovel. Take courage, join hands, stand besides us, fight with us." – Christabel Pankhurst

9. "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." – Margaret Thatcher

10. "God gave women intuition and femininity. Used properly, the combination easily jumbles the brain of any man I've ever met." – Farrah Fawcett