3 TED Talks (You Might Not Have Seen) By Women for Women

Good Work Foundation’s Development Coordinator, Verena Wagner, is a business owner, nonprofit activist and mother of two girls. We asked her to share three lesser known TED talks by women speakers that speak to this month’s theme: “Women are the Future.”

Here they are:

The following TED talks are three, out of many, that stuck out for me and really challenged my perspective. They all have slightly different themes but are so powerful in their messages and I loved linking them back to our core values at Good Work Foundation.

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story

Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. She says: “Show a people as only one thing, and that is what they become.” This kind of approach, Chimamanda says, robs people of their dignity and places emphasis on our differences. Our digital learning campuses are changing this. These oases for learning are bursting with revelation and empowerment. We are changing communities by doing exactly this, moving away from a single story, a single perspective and looking at the abundance that has been there forever. Most importantly, we are empowering students to write their own stories and to take control of their futures.

Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the intelligence, passion and greatness of girls

This talk may move you to tears (as it did me). Things that we take for granted are the wildest dreams of some other people. This talk puts problems into perspective and highlights how far women and girls are from having equal rights, or rights of any kind. It’s a beautiful reminder of the fight others have fought and still fight daily for womens rights. Leymah speaks about the massive potential in girls and women that, given the opportunity, can change their futures and that of their daughters, sisters, nieces, friends and so on. At GWF, our education model serves as a tool to effect the dreams and hopes Leymah aspires to. Our campuses are unlocking the intelligence, passion and greatness of girls and woman (on average more than 70% of our adult students are women who have never been given opportunities) and this is made possible by the intelligence, passion and greatness of our women leaders, primarily from the areas in which the campuses are situated.

Roxane Gay: Confessions of a bad feminist

I loved the way Roxane delivered this talk and it represented for me so many beautiful core qualities of a woman. Gentle yet firm, calm yet clear, wise yet open to learning, confident yet embracing of flaws. It reminded me of a quote by Marianne Williamson: “And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Roxane’s talk highlights how, at some level, woman are all feminists and breaks down (for me anyway) the stereotypical placard-holding protester. We are all fighting for similar things, to lesser and greater degrees. She says, “In one hand, I hold the power to accomplish anything. And in my other, I hold the humbling reality that I am just one woman.” It is such a good reminder that together, great and powerful things can happen. Women, despite background and belief, can work together to find a model of learning that can empower, uplift, nurture and transform people and communities.

I hope these TED talks encourage and inspire women and girls to reconnect with themselves so that we can all nurture, educate, lead, create and fight for a way for our children and grandchildren to have a future. To have opportunity in a world that is fair, safe and full of potential and abundance.

Want to add a TED talk to our list? Post a link in the comments section below.