11 Ted Talks All Women Should Watch

For easy listening that will inspire you and raise your spirits, watch a TED talk. From feminism to leadership to knowing your worth, there’s plenty of talks out there by women that speak of the things that are important to all of us. Here are our top picks of TED Talks that are made by women for women.

Casey Brown: Know Your Worth, Then Ask For It

We know from last year’s data results that the gender pay gap is very much a real thing – and for many women, it may feel like time to speak up. Whether it’s asking for a promotion or getting a raise, it’s time for women to claim their rightful place in the workforce. It’s something Brown, a pricing consultant, struggled with at one point – when she found out she could be making double what she was currently earning, she asked herself, “Am I worth that? Not my work, but me?” Here, Brown guides us in how to articulate and communicate our value in order to get what we’re worth.

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Susan Cain: The Power of Introverts

We’ve all had that dread of having to go socialist when all we’d rather do it sit at home and drink tea in front of Friends re-runs. In a culture where being social and extroverted are prized above all, it can be hard to embrace your introverted self. But Susan Cain thinks otherwise – in a fascinating look at introversion, Cain turns the antisocial stereotype into something far more positive, examining the unique skills introverted people among us bring to the world, and why they should be celebrated. Cancel plans and watch this instead.

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Minda Dentler: What I Learned When I Conquered the World's Toughest Triathlon

Athlete and speaker Minda Dentler is testament that if you try hard enough, nothing is out of your reach. After she contracted polio as a child which paralysed both her legs, she was given leg braces and crutches to help her walk. Although at a young age she couldn’t play sports, she was active in other ways – she volunteered at a local hospital as a teenager, interned at the White House at university and backpacked across Europe. The she discovered hand cycling – and the Iron Man competition in Hawaii. As she shares her personal experiences, Dentler shows how a positive mental attitude can help you achieve anything you put your mind to, conquering the odds, even if you’re up against many of them.

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Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability

At work and in our love lives, vulnerability can feel like a curse. As researcher of human connection, Brené Brown knows how hard it is to be vulnerable around others. But here, she explains why vulnerability is something we should embrace, not fear, as it will give us a richer understanding of ourselves and those around us. She tells us how vulnerability can lead to a more fulfilling life – it’s what makes you feel alive.

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Ashley Judd: How Online Abuse of Women Has Spiralled Out of Control

In 2015, actress Ashley Judd tweeted a casual comment at an Arkansas Razorbacks basketball game that saw her at the centre of a vitriolic cyber mob that was bullying and violent. But rather than backing off, Judd dedicated herself to pushing back against trolls, seeking legal action and putting her voice behind demands for a safer internet. In this TED talk, Judd refuses to sugar coat the abuse women face or its consequences, and how it can be worse when it comes to intersectionality. But it’s time to kick-start change: “The more flagrant and outrageous online misogyny becomes—as if it could get any more flagrant and outrageous—the more starkly obvious it becomes that we have to do something. Maybe there is something to the worse it gets, the more quickly we’re going to seize control of this and do the right thing.”

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Gayle Tzemach Lemmon: Women Entrepreuners, Example Not Exception

Want to start a business but finding yourself with limited resources to do so? Gayle Lemmon wants you to realise your business’s economical potential. Why settle for micro loans? Too often, women are overlooked in helping the economy flourish. From being self-sufficient to being an innovator, let Lemmon’s talk spark your entrepreneurial fire, with tips on creating growth and hacks to access business networks.

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: We Should All Be Feminists

Many will know the award-wining author from her many fabulous novels, but Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave an iconic TED Talk in 2012 which shot her to fame with feminists everywhere (and was later used in the Beyoncé song ‘Flawless’. ‘We Should All Be Feminists’, which was later adapted into a book by the same name, discussed the first moment Adichie heard the word “feminist”, and what that meant to her. It’s not just about biology, she says – the differences between men and women also boils down to privilege and power. Later, Adichie did a second talk titled ‘The Danger of A Single Story’, in which she encourages us to open up our minds and experiences to other cultures.

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Lizzie Velasquez: How Do You Define Yourself?

It’s always hard not to take negative comments to heart, but Lizzie Velasquez is a lesson in taking people’s lemons and making lemonade. Born with a rare disorder that prevents her from gaining weight, she has faced more negativity and bullying than most of us, but she uses a unique coping mechanism: “Tell me those negative things, [and] I’m gonna turn them around and use them as a ladder to climb up to my goals.” In this humorous and heartwarming talk, Velasquez shares the tools to help us reject people’s hateful perspectives and embrace defining ourselves on our own terms.

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Mary Roach: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Orgasms

From the woman who orgasmed when she brushed her teeth to masturbation as a way to raise fertility, Roach delves into obscure scientific research to give us 10 surprising claims about sexual climax – and she even wrote a book about it, titled Bonk. Something to ponder about when you next have a little ‘me time’…

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Musimbi Kanyoro: To Solve The World’s Biggest Problems, Invest In Women And Girls

You probably haven’t heard her name before, by Dr Musimbi Kanyoro is a big deal. As president and CEO of Global Fund for Women, one of the world’s leading publicly-supported foundations for gender equality, Kanyoro works to support women and their ideas so they can grow. She introduces us the the word ‘isirika’, a Maragoli word that epitomises a pragmatic way of life that embraces the mutual responsibility of caring for one another – something that she sees women doing all over the world. Her talk encourages us to embrace isirika, from doctors to philanthropists, and imagine what the world would look like if we made it our default.

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Sheryl Sandberg: Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

With over nine million views, Sheryl Sandberg’s talk is one of the most online TED Talks, and for good reason. The Facebook COO dissects gender inequality at the top levels of business, deep diving into why there’s such a small percentage of women at the top of their professions compared to men. She noted that many women, in anticipating having a family, tend to ‘lean back’ from being leaders at work, and gives three crucial pieces of advice for women aiming for the C-suite. After this TED Talk, Sandberg wrote her infamous book Lean In, which spent nearly a year on the New York Times bestseller list.

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