TED Talks | Empowering Women

em·pow·er

verb \im-ˈpa(-ə)r\

: to give power to (someone)

: to promote the self-actualization or influence of

Our social media driven society makes it easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of celebrity gossip and absurdities. We forget that outside our boundaries lies a world where women and girls are still fighting for THEIR rights. Rights that we sometimes take for granted. Not because we intend to, it’s just that many us (in this generation at least) haven’t struggled for freedom of speech, the right to an education,  or even something as apparently minimal (to us) as the right to drive. But having these rights and freedoms comes with responsibilities, you are a citizen of a greater community — the world. And as a citizen of the world it is also your duty to provide a voice to those that don’t have one.

So today I share with you 13  of my favorite TED Talks on female empowerment. I hope you allow the voices of these phenomenal women to educate, uplift, and inspire you.

1. Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the intelligence, passion, greatness of girls

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee has two powerful stories to tell — of her own life’s transformation, and of the untapped potential of girls around the world. Can we transform the world by unlocking the greatness of girls?  (via Ted.com)

2. We should all be feminists: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

at TEDxEuston

“We teach girls shame. “Close your legs. Cover yourself.” We make them feel as though being born female they’re already guilty of something. And so, girls grow up to be women who cannot say they have desire. They grow up to be women who silence themselves. They grow up to be women who cannot say what they truly think. And they grow up — and this is the worst thing we do to girls — they grow up to be women who have turned pretense into an art form.”  (excerpt from talk)

3. Manal al-Sharif: A Saudi woman who dared to drive

There’s no actual law against women driving in Saudi Arabia. But it’s forbidden. Two years ago, Manal al-Sharif decided to encourage women to drive by doing so — and filming herself for YouTube. Hear her story of what happened next. (via Ted.com)

4. Courageous beauty: Brittany Gibbons

at TEDxBGSU

5. Make Your Own Runway, Define Your Own Beauty | Patrice (Afrobella) Grell Yursik

at TEDxPortofSpain

6. Geena Rocero: Why I must come out

When fashion model Geena Rocero first saw a photo of herself in a bikini, “I thought … you have arrived!” As she reveals, that’s because she was born with the gender assignment “boy.” In this moving talk, Rocero tells the story of becoming who she always knew she was. (via Ted.com

7.  In my chair | a makeup artists perspective on beauty: Eva DeVirgilis

at TEDxRVAWomen

8. Maysoon Zayid: I got 99 problems… palsy is just one

“I have cerebral palsy. I shake all the time,” Maysoon Zayid announces at the beginning of this exhilarating, hilarious talk. (Really, it’s hilarious.) “I’m like Shakira meets Muhammad Ali.” With grace and wit, the Arab-American comedian takes us on a whistle-stop tour of her adventures as an actress, stand-up comic, philanthropist and advocate for the disabled. (via Ted.com)

9. Kakenya Ntaiya: A girl who demanded school

Kakenya Ntaiya made a deal with her father: She would undergo the traditional Maasai rite of passage of female circumcision if he would let her go to high school. Ntaiya tells the fearless story of continuing on to college, and of working with her village elders to build a school for girls in her community. It’s the educational journey of one that altered the destiny of 125 young women. (Filmed at TEDxMidAtlantic.) (via Ted.com

10. Leslie T. Chang: The voices of China’s workers

In the ongoing debate about globalization, what’s been missing is the voices of workers — the millions of people who migrate to factories in China and other emerging countries to make goods sold all over the world. Reporter Leslie T. Chang sought out women who work in one of China’s booming megacities, and tells their stories. (via Ted.com

11. Isabel Allende: Tales of passion

Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, the definition of feminism — and, of course, passion — in this talk. (via Ted.com

12. Sunitha Krishnan: The fight against sex slavery

Sunitha Krishnan has dedicated her life to rescuing women and children from sex slavery, a multimilion-dollar global market. In this courageous talk, she tells three powerful stories, as well as her own, and calls for a more humane approach to helping these young victims rebuild their lives. (via Ted.com

13. Eve Ensler: Embrace your inner girl

In this passionate talk, Eve Ensler declares that there is a girl cell in us all — a cell that we have all been taught to suppress. She tells heartfelt stories of girls around the world who have overcome shocking adversity and violence to reveal the astonishing strength of being a girl.  (via Ted.com

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