Disclosure: Some articles on this site may contain affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, Project Hot Mess may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
If you know me at all, you’ll know I’m a sucker for a good TED Talk. Actually, that’s an understatement. I could watch TED Talks all day and be constantly amazed at the genius and thought-provoking words that these inspiring presenters share. But there’s one demographic that TED Talks speak to that gets me more fired up than any other and that’s the TED Talks for women. The ones that are aimed at inspiring and empowering the females of the world.
Ever since I knew I was going to be a mother to a beautiful baby girl I started taking a mental note of the TED Talks I’d want her to watch one day. All the life lessons they share and things I want her to know.
Then I realised, these aren’t just TED Talks for women, they are for everyone. My son now watches them with me, and even though he is only still very young and doesn’t understand a lot of it, we have conversations about things that are age appropriate for him, that are inspired by these talks! That’s pretty darn powerful.
So instead of just keeping this mental list of amazing talks to myself, I thought I’d share with everyone so you can also check out these inspiring and empowering talks. And I’d love to hear if you have any talks you love and want to share with me!
You can also download our FREE Mini Life Planner so you can take notes and make the most of the inspiration and ideas as they come up while watching these TED Talks:
1 – Can We All ‘Have It All’? – Anne-Marie Slaughter
How often are we caught up in the question of how we should balance our work and career goals and our family life? How do we choose what is most important to us? And as mothers, what does male and female equality really mean? Does having women in high powered jobs represent real male and female equality?
Fantastic talk about the often unspoken side of the gender equality debate.
2 – Find Your Voice Against Gender Violence – Meera Vijayann
When we have opinions and outrage at issues in our world that need to change, where do we start on that path to making a difference? “True empowerment comes from giving yourself permission to think and act.”
A great talk to challenge you to think how you can get your voice heard. Instead of denying yourself the rights to express yourself, take the opportunities that exist and tell your stories, identify the mediums where you can get your voice heard. It’s easier now than ever before.
3 – Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are – Amy Cuddy
Start thinking about your body actions and how the way you use your body language to convey who you are and how you position yourself in this world. Your body actions have a huge impact in so many areas of your life, far deeper than you would initially think.
We are also influenced by our own body language and the non-verbal expressions of power and dominance vs the expressions when you’re feeling powerless and how we make ourselves smaller. So incredibly interesting.
4 – My Year Of Saying Yes To Everything – Shonda Rhimes
If you’ve read her book ‘A Year of Saying Yes’ you’ll know Shonda’s story (if not, it’s an awesome book, check it out). Shonda talks of losing her ‘hum’ – the addictive thing that gave her joy in her work and how she found that hum again.
She also talks of the power of play and the fact that we can all find 15 minutes, even on our worst day. “Work doesn’t work without play.”
I love that she doesn’t deny that she loves working more than she loves being at home. I relate to the love of work and find that I feel like I shouldn’t love my work as much as I do now that I’m a mother. But it doesn’t mean that my family isn’t important to me, and that they don’t give me my ‘hum’, but that work is still important to me too.
5 – 3 Lessons on Success From An Arab Businesswoman – Leila Hoteit
Leila talks of how Arab women have had to become their own role models in this modern world as the generations before them had different values for women and that the women of today are taking on more in the professional world while also attending to family.
The lessons she speaks of don’t only apply to Arab women, there are a lot of obstacles she speaks of that we can understand in our lives too. And her lessons are ones we can apply too.
6 – Why Thinking You’re Ugly Is Bad For You – Meghan Ramsey
This one will rock you, like to the core. As women, we obsess about our appearance. Even the most confident of us worry at some point about how we look and what others think about how we look. This is one talk I watch regularly and am captivated every single time. And it’s one I will be making my children watch for sure.
It makes me wonder, what am I benchmarking myself against without even realising. It certainly makes me rethink the way I look at myself as well as the way I speak to myself.
“6 out of 10 girls are now choosing to not do something because they don’t think they look good enough.”
7 – The Price of Shame – Monica Lewinsky
We all make mistakes in our lives, (especially when we are younger) but what is the price of your mistakes? How far will your actions reach? It’s sad that we have to live in a world where our mistakes can be dragged to all corners of the world and internet and things can quickly go viral.
Cyberbullying is never okay. Ever. I could go on for hours about this topic, we all know someone who has experienced cyberbullying to some extent – and if you think you don’t, ask your friends. I assure you, you know someone who has felt the sharp sting of cyberbullying.
An incredibly compelling talk, an absolute ‘must watch’ (and I have to admit, it even made me cry).
8 – How To Make Hard Choices – Ruth Chang
For an overthinker like me, this talk seriously speaks to my heart. Not all hard choices are big choices, hard choices aren’t hard because I’m incapable of making them. Hard choices are just hard because there is no ‘best option’.
Do you write the story of your life by making hard choices? Or do you just drift and take the easy option?
9 – All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes – Andy Puddicombe
When is the last time you took just 10 minutes to do nothing? Such a simple question, but one that so many of us would struggle to answer. I have to admit, I suck at meditation, but it’s something I’m working on – increasing my focus/relaxation and being more mindful.
When he speaks about being anxious about feeling anxious… that’s something so many of us can relate to (clearly, it’s not just me). This reinforces how important it is to include mindfulness in our day to day lives.
We can all spare 10 minutes out of our days to increase our mindfulness.