Playlist TED Conferences

11 fascinating talks from TEDWomen

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick May
Sheryl Sandberg gave a classic talk at TEDWomen 2010, which became the basis for her book, Lean In.

Sheryl Sandberg gave a classic talk at TEDWomen 2010, which became the basis for her book, Lean In.

A dream analysis app creator. A fearless swimmer. The CEO of Campbell’s Soup. A spacesuit designer. These are the kinds of speakers who will take the stage when TEDWomen 2013 kicks off at San Francisco’s SFJAZZ Center tomorrow. With three sessions centered around the theme “Invented Here,” the event will be a global look at what drives local innovation, with 220 TEDxWomen events in 58 countries tuning in for a webcast.

To get you in the spirit, watch this selection of great talks given at TEDWomen and TEDxWomen events in past years.

Angela Patton: A father-daughter dance ... in prisonAngela Patton: A father-daughter dance ... in prisonAngela Patton: A father-daughter dance … in prison
“Are you crazy? Who is going to allow a bunch of little girls, dressed up, inside a jail?” This was the initial response Angela Patton got when she shared her idea to host a father-daughter dance inside a prison. Luckily, she found a sheriff just crazy enough to allow it. She tells the story in this talk from TEDxWomen 2012. (Read about Patton’s second father-daughter dance.)
Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leadersSheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leadersSheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
In this personal, funny talk from TEDWomen 2010, Sheryl Sandberg recalls being perplexed at a business meeting when no one knew where the women’s bathroom was. Her point: There are far too few women in the c-suite. Here, she speaks to women who want to be there, offering advice that would eventually form the backbone of her book Lean In.
Sue Austin: Deep sea diving ... in a wheelchairSue Austin: Deep sea diving ... in a wheelchairSue Austin: Deep-sea diving … in a wheelchair
Sue Austin’s life changed for the better when she got a power wheelchair 17 years ago. So it was confusing for her that others looked at her as if she had lost something terrible. In this talk from TEDxWomen 2012, Austin shares how she uses her chair to create whimsical art — and has even created an underwater wheelchair that allows her to dance through coral reefs. (See a gallery of images of Austin’s art.)
Noel Bairey Merz: The single biggest health threat women faceNoel Bairey Merz: The single biggest health threat women faceNoel Bairey Merz: The single biggest health threat women face
The number of heart disease deaths for men has gone down in recent decades, while the number of heart disease deaths for women has gone up. That’s because so much cardiovascular research is focused on men. In this no-holds-barred talk from TEDxWomen 2011, C. Noel Bairey Merz — the director of the Women’s Heart Center at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute — shares why this needs to change, stat.
Courtney Martin: This isn't her mother's feminismCourtney Martin: This isn't her mother's feminismCourtney E. Martin: This isn’t her mother’s feminism
Courtney E. Martin learned a lot about feminism from her mother, of course. But in this talk from TEDWomen 2010, she shares how she also learned quite a bit from her father. Here, she works through the many paradoxes her generation must reconcile in their attempt to define feminism for themselves.
Janine di Giovanni: What I saw in the warJanine di Giovanni: What I saw in the warJanine di Giovanni: What I saw in the war
War correspondent Janine di Giovanni has seen it again and again — war breaks out, catching people completely off guard. In this talk from TEDxWomen 2012, she draws our attention to the ways war can also bring out incredible compassion and heroism, and why telling these stories is so important that she leaves her son behind to do it.
Jane Fonda: Life's third actJane Fonda: Life's third actJane Fonda: Life’s third act
The longevity revolution? Yes, says Jane Fonda. Her generation is living, on average, 30 years longer than their parents did. So how to make those extra decades vital, productive, full-of-life ones? At TEDxWomen 2011, Fonda shares what she’s learned so far.
Heather Knight: Silicon-based comedyHeather Knight: Silicon-based comedyHeather Knight: Silicon-based comedy
Heather Knight works at the intersection of robotics, entertainment and art. At TEDWomen 2010, she introduces us to Data, a mini robot who has a database full of jokes. Watch as he feels his way through a set, on the fly.
iO Tillett Wright: Fifty shades of gayiO Tillett Wright: Fifty shades of gayiO Tillett Wright: Fifty shades of gay
Most people don’t consider themselves simply gay or straight. When photographer iO Tillett Wright asked people to assign a number to their sexuality, she found that most people occupied the gray area between the two poles. In this talk from TEDxWomen 2012, she shares a few of her images of 2,000 people on the LGBTQ spectrum to underline the point that having just two boxes is very limited.
Tony Porter: A call to menTony Porter: A call to menTony Porter: A call to men
Not every TEDWomen talk is given by a woman. In this bold talk from TEDWomen 2010, activist Tony Porter shares the notions of manhood that he grew up with and how these ideas — that men must be superior and unwaveringly strong — were actually deeply hurtful. In this talk, Porter urges the members of his gender to push themselves out of the “man box.”
Madeleine Albright: On being a woman and a diplomatMadeleine Albright: On being a woman and a diplomatMadeleine Albright: On being a woman and a diplomat
This Q&A from TEDWomen 2010 begins with, of all things, a funny anecdote about pins and Saddam Hussein. From there, the first female Secretary of State shares why she thinks so-called “women’s issues” are far from “soft issues” and deserve to be deeply examined when it comes to foreign policy.

Stay tuned to the TED Blog for coverage of TEDWomen 2013. Or follow along via Twitter @TEDWomen.

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