by Kristi Faulkner
At Womenkind, we love a good TED talk. Need some motivation in the next 12 minutes? There’s a TED Talk for that. Curious about something esoteric? Want to improve your speaking skills? Wonder what it feels like to have a stroke? There’s a TED talk for everything! Here’s our short list of our favorite TED talks presented by women on topics women will find fascinating.
1) Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Danger of a Single Story
Do you know when you’re getting the full story? Acclaimed storyteller and novelist Chimamanda Adichie believes our lives are composed of many overlapping stories, and warns us that one story is never enough to get an accurate picture. Indeed, if we rely on just one, we compromise our understanding. “When we realize that there is never a single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise.”
2) Mellody Hobson – Color Blind or Color Brave
“If I walked you into a room of a major corporation, and every single person around the boardroom were black, you would think that were weird. But if I walked you into a Fortune 500 company, and everyone around the table is a white man, when will it be that we think that's weird too?”
Finance executive Mellody Hobson believes that speaking openly about race, and making a real effort to achieve diversity in hiring will improve business and society, too.
3) Meera Vijayann – Find Your Voice Against Gender Violence
As a girl growing up in India, citizen journalist Meera Vijayann experienced a number of episodes of unspeakable sexual violence. But speak she does. Vijayann believes that voicing our shame, is the best way to overcome it — and calls on others to open up, too: “I know a lot of us in this room have our secrets, but let us speak up.” While this talk is not easy to listen to, it is profoundly motivating.
4) Anne Marie Slaughter – Can We All “Have It All?”
Anne-Marie Slaughter bravely told the world "Why women still can't have it all" in a widely publicized 2012 article. In this talk, she explains how the solution to equality must come from work culture, public policy and a massive shift in social mores. Because it’s not just about women. “I suggest that real equality, full equality, does not just mean valuing women on male terms. It means creating a much wider range of equally respected choices for women and men."
5) Sheryl Sandberg – Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
This is the talk that started it all for Sheryl Sandberg. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s critical you do. The Facebook COO reveals why it’s so hard for women to reach the top of the professional world and offers her C-suite advice on how you can.
6) Carol Dweck – The Power of Believing You Can Improve
A researcher of “growth mindset,” Carol Dweck believes that we can grow our brain's capacity to learn and improve its ability to solve problems. “We taught them that every time they push out of their comfort zone to learn something new and difficult, the neurons in their brain can form new, stronger connections, and over time they can get smarter.”
In this talk, Dweck describes her theory of ‘YET’ – essentially a way of framing problems that encourage you to have more confidence in your ability to solve them.
7) Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
This is one of the top TED talks of all time, and for good reason. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy teaches that “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — has measurable positive effects on your body that translate in your ability to succeed. Try it!
8) Leymah Gbowee – Unlock the Intelligence, Passion, Greatness of Girls
Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee makes a very convincing argument that unlocking the greatness of girls will transform the world. She also recounts the story of her personal transformation. Astonishing.
9) Brené Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
“There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they're worthy of love and belonging. That's it.”
If you haven’t seen Brené Brown’s various talks, this is the first one you should see. Brown studies the uniquely human ability to empathize, belong, love. She’s both funny and insightful and is very open about revealing her most personal journey to understand who she really is. You’ll feel like you’re in a deep conversation with a friend. You’ll want to share it with yours.
10) Courtney Martin – Reinventing Feminism
When did “feminism” become the F-word? Courtney Martin examines why the term is so loaded and works through the challenge of finding a descriptor for a new generation of women who embrace the ideals if not the nomenclature. She also cites the importance of mothers as a girl’s most important influence, so that’s pretty cool, too.
Image source: Ted.com