This year, to support the International Women’s Day mandate to “commemorate and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women” on March 8th, I compiled a list of 8 powerful and inspirational Ted talks by or about women.
1. Halla Tómasdóttir: It’s Time for Women to Run for Office (19:18)
Watch it because: the ultimate underdog candidate in her country’s presidential elections, Tómasdóttir ran for president of Iceland and should be president of everything.
2. Memory Banda – A Warrior’s Cry Against Child Marriage (12:38)
Watch it because: a 13-year-old girl who refuses to accept the status quo and pushes for change can (and will!) achieve amazing things.
3. Maysoon Zayid – I Got 99 Problems … Palsy Is Just One! (14:13)
Watch it because: “Palestinian, Muslim, female, disabled: if there was an Oppression Olympics”, Zayid says, “I would win the gold medal.” Sharp and hilarious, Zayid claims she does not want to be inspirational—but ends up being it, anyway.
4. Dame Stephanie Shirley – Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?! (13:39)
Watch it because: Quite possibly the most successful tech entrepreneur you never heard of, Dame Shirley has a theory about why ambitious women have flat heads, which she reveals halfway through her talk—right after explaining how her small, women-only company ended up developing software standards for NATO.
5. Megan Phelps-Roper: I Grew Up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here’s Why I Left (15:17)
Watch it because: with grace and humility, Phelps-Roper offers four timely tips to help us talk with, and truly listen to, people whose stance and opinions we might profoundly disagree with.
6. Maya Penn – Meet a Young Entrepreneur, Cartoonist, Designer, Activist… (7:16)
Watch it because: the world needs more female entrepreneurs, especially the kind who, like Penn, start their first company aged 8.
7. Geena Rocero – Why I Must Come Out (9:59)
Watch it because: Rocero is an international fashion model who was born with the wrong gender assignment. She uses her Ted talk to come out publicly and request attention for, and support to, transgender issues across the globe.
8. Christopher Bell – Bring on the Female Superheroes! (15:48)
Watch it because: the media tell us a lot of what we know about other people and the world, and Bell helps us see just how distorted their portrayal is when it comes to showing what it means to be a boy vs. what it means to be a girl.