TED Talks by Strong Women

Today I am celebrating International Women’s Day by watching some of my favourite presentations from TED’s overview of 16 powerful female talks. 

Who’s talking?

  • Christiana Figueres (Costa Rican Diplomat) on leading the climate conference
  • Sheryl Sandberg on why we have too few women leaders
  • Shonda Rhimes (American TV producer and writer) on saying yes
  • Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Economist and former Finance Minister) on how Africa can keep rising
  • Madeleine Albright (Former US Secretary of State) of being a female diplomat
  • Leila Hoteit (Businesswomen in Abu Dhabi) on lessons on success
  • Nadia Lopez (Founder of Mott Hall Bridges Academy in the US) on why ‘opening a school closes a prison’
  • Dame Stephanie Shirley (Tech entrepreneur) – why ambitious women have flat heads!
  • Martine Rothblatt (Founder of drug company) on love, identity and possibility
  • Sakena Yacoobi (Afghanistan’s ‘mother of education’) on setting up new schools in the face of the Taliban
  • Alicia Garza, Patrisse Culors and Opel Tometi (founders of Black Lives Matter)
  • Mary Robinson (Irish Politician) on climate change
  • Linda Cliatt-Wayman (Headteacher in US school) on how to fix a broken school
  • Gabby Giffords (US Congresswoman) and Mark Kelly (her husband and astronaut) on being courageous
  • Julie Lythcott-Haims (Former Dean of Freshmen at Stanford) on helicopter parenting and the impact of high expectations
  • Halla Tomasdottir (ran for President of Iceland)

The quote that got me thinking the most today came from Sakena Yacoobi from Afghanistan, who speaks about how she navigated the Taliban to get them on-side and working with her in schools, which were originally set up to help women and children only.

She says ‘education transforms people – but to reach gender equality – we must not forget about the men.’

This resonates very much with the work we do at Parent & Professional Coaching – 9 years ago we set out to coach women through the parental transition at work, recognising the challenges were faced by women taking maternity leave.  With our ongoing work to encourage men to take Shared Parental Leave, we now coach both mums and dads, as well as male and female managers – essential in the drive for inclusive cultural change.


Helen Letchfield is the Co-Founder of P&P Coaching.

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