The old adage goes, “Behind every great man, there is a woman.” And within every great woman, there is a font of inspiration. It can be tough to be a woman. Throughout history, women have had to fight for their rights, fight through oppression, and break the barriers so dominantly placed upon them.
It’s tough, but our “herstory” should make us make us damn well proud to be a woman. Here are some TED Talks to inspire and empower women today.
1. Cameron Russell: “Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model”
The words “insecure” and “model” might not often be used in the same sentence, especially not to describe a model who has been featured in campaigns for top-level brands like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Armani, and more. But Cameron Russell’s powerful talk makes us realize that not everything you see is, in reality, what you get. Baring herself and fearlessly being honest, Cameron shares the journey of her modeling career and the importance of looking past image.
2. Isabel Allende: “How to live passionately—no matter your age”
People search for the fountain of youth at the bottom of an antiaging cream bottle, when they should really cultivate that fountain within themselves, with passion. Isabel Allende, author of novels like The House of the Spirits and City of Beasts and recipient of Chile’s National Literature Price and the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama, candidly talks about aging gracefully, both physically and spiritually.
3. Leymah Gbowee: “Unlock the intelligence, passion, and greatness of girls”
A young girl once told Ms. Gbowee, “Leymah, my wish is to be educated, and if I can’t be educated when I see some of my sisters being educated, my wish has been fulfilled.” In this talk, the Liberian peace activist and Nobel Prize recipient talks about the dream of the African girl, her wish for girls everywhere, and how she launches a powerful campaign for womenpowerment.
4. Sheryl Sandberg: “Why we have too few women leaders”
“Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world.” Facebook COO and technology activist and author Sheryl Sandberg paints a picture of reality (sometimes harsh) for women in the workforce. With personal anecdotes and life lessons, she gives career women advice on how they can rise to challenges at work and come out on top.
5. Eve Ensler: “Embrace your inner girl”
Playwright, performer, and activist Eve Ensler’s talk is equal parts inspiring, graphic, and heartbreaking; it is wholly emotional. The woman behind The Vagina Monologues talks about the “girl cell” that is present in any gender, and this suppressed cell is what needs to break free for us to realize our full potential.
Women are emotional creatures, and that’s what makes them powerful. We hope these talks inspire you and empower you to embrace your womanhood!