The Top 10 TED Talks Every Woman Should See

Via Glamour

By Caitlin Moscatello 
News writer. Addicted to: lattes, Homeland, cashmere, Motown. Firm believer that smart is always sexy–or else my mom’s been lying to me for a decade.

Today, TED announced that Charmian Gooch, an anti-corruption activist who cofounded the watchdog organization Global Witness, is this year’s winner of the $1 million TED Prize. (Gooch will explain on March 18 how, specifically, she will use the money to make her “wish” for the world a reality.) You can watch her incredible TED talk—and read through her detailed annotations—on ted.com. But that’s just one of many TED talks given by women that have inspired us. To celebrate Gooch’s win, and TED’s 30th anniversary (yes, TED turns 30 this year!), we asked Anna Verghese, deputy director of the TED Prize, to curate the top 10 moments for women in TED that we all need to see.

TED-Prize-Charmian-Gooch-Anna-Verghese

2014 TED Prize Winner Charmian Gooch (left), and TED Prize Deputy Director Anna Verghese (right)

“There are now more than 1,700 TED talks—”ideas worth spreading”—available online, many of them by badass women,” Verghese told Glamour. “I’m honored to make recommendations of just 10 of the many talks, from scientists to artists, writers to leaders, that have made me feel smarter and more prepared to take on the world in just 18 minutes or less.” Watch a few to get through the afternoon slump at work, or take ‘em all in later. We guarantee you’ll be inspired!

Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders
“This is the talk that preceded [Lean In],” says Verghese. “[It's] a great, unconventional, persuasive take on the way that women take themselves out of the running for leadership positions.”

 

Chimamanda Adichie: The Danger of a Single Story
“The young Nigerian author gives a beautiful, elegant, and at times hilarious talk about the danger of believing a single, narrow story about anything or anyone,” says Verghese. “My favorite anecdote: When she arrived at college in the U.S., her roommate asked to hear some of her ‘tribal music.’ Chimamanda pulled out a Mariah Carey CD.”

 

Amy Cuddy: Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
“An essential talk for all young women! Cuddy is a psychologist and Harvard Business School professor who explains how our posture and body language shape not only how others see us but how we see ourselves,” says Verghese.

 

Leymah Gbowee: Unlock the Intelligence, Passion, Greatness of Girls
“The Nobel Prize winner from Liberia shares powerful stories about the unlocked potential of girls worldwide, who are still far from [being] treated as equal citizens,” says Verghese.

 

Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability
“This blockbuster talk came out of one of our TEDx events in Houston,” says Verghese. “Brené’s take on vulnerability—and why it’s essential to our relationships and to our success—has won her millions of fans worldwide.”

 

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your Elusive Creative Genius
“The author of Eat, Pray, Love offers unconventional advice on how to nurture your own creativity,” says Verghese. “Her advice: Take some pressure off yourself, but never stop creating.”

 

Courtney Martin: Reinventing Feminism
“A beautifully heartfelt talk, she describes the three paradoxes that define her generation’s question to define the term [feminism] for themselves,” says Verghese.

 

Angela Patton: A Father-Daughter Dance…in Prison
“The is the amazing and moving story of a group of preteen girls who organized a father-daughter dance in the prison where their fathers were incarcerated,” says Verghese. “I wept.”

 

Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight
“Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is a neuroscientist who observed her own stroke as it was happening. This is one of the most popular TED talks of all time,” says Verghese.

 

Cynthia Breazeal: The Rise of Personal Robots
This MIT professor “talks about her love of robots—which began when she saw Star Wars as a girl (R2D2!)—and new kind of intelligent, personal robots she designs,” says Verghese.

 

Did any of your favorite TED talks by women not make this list? Do you love one of the talks Verghese selected? Share your top picks in the comments below!

Photos: James Duncan Davidson (Gooch); Mike Femia (Verghese); videos courtesy of TED

 

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