The contribution of TED Talks to culture and society is really quite brilliant. Just last night when I was out for dinner with friends, for instance, nearly a third of our conversation revolved around TED. They’ve become like axes for cultural relevancy and revelation, hence the catch phrase, “ideas worth spreading,” and they’re almost as addictive as House of Cards. A real testiment to founder Richard Saul Wurman, an architect and graphic designer who, in 1984, observed a convergence of the fields of technology, entertainment, and design (that’s what TED stands for, if you were wondering!) While it’s hard to know where to begin when recommending a good TED Talk (the plethora of life-changing talks out there is enough to start a revolution!), a good place to start is with talks by women. Here are five TED Talks by women, that continue to help shape the woman I am today, each of which contribute new insights and solutions to culture and society at large, and that I believe every woman should watch.
1. Sheryl Sandberg: Why we have too few women leaders
Facebook COO and mother of two outlines three reasons she believes women are disadvantaged in leadership, and what we can do, quite practically, to change that. This TED talk predates her bestselling book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, co-authored by Nell Scovell.
2. Ruth Chang: How to make hard choices
Philosopher Chang explains how in the space of hard choices, like choosing one career path over another, we get to decide and define who we really are.
3. Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why do ambitious women have flat heads?
The most successful female tech entrepreneur ever, Dame Stephanie Shirley talks about founding an all-women software company in the UK in the 1960’s, changing her name to Steve, and parenting a disabled child.
4. Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability
I have three words: The Whole Hearted. This has become a catchphrase at my home, and for good reason. Hands down, in this talk, Brown provides one of the most significant insights into our civilization as we know it. Do yourself a favor, watch it.
5. Paula Johnson: His and hers … healthcare
Health from a female perspective? Fancy that! Explaining that every cell in the human body has a sex, which means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level, Dr Johnson poses the question: are we leaving women’s health up to chance?