In a post last month, we learned about Girl Effect, an organization dedicated to empowering girls around the world in an effort to end poverty. In an insightful reply, RoseSawyer highlighted the "The No Problem Problem" in America. People in the United States, she explained, often fail recognize the need for female empowerment on the domestic front. We forget that the same techniques used to inspire confidence in women abroad can greatly improve the lives of women at home. Agreeing with Rose’s statement, I made a note to look out for any news relating to female empowerment in the United States.
A few weeks later, during some late-night procrastination on Facebook, I noticed that a friend posted a link with a message encouraging her network to listen to an inspiring speech for an event called TEDxWomen. As soon as I clicked on the link, I realized that I had found just what I was looking for. It was a piece of empowering, feminist heaven--and all right there on my computer screen.
TED (Technology, Entertainment, and Design) is an organization dedicated to spreading ideas. Started in 1984, the organization hosts conferences, talks, and “TEDx” projects that provide communities with the ability to host their own, local, independent TED-like events. Central to each event is the accessibility of ideas. To achieve this purpose, each speaker essentially delivers the speech of a lifetime in eighteen minutes or less, and then the organization does its best to make these talks and ideas accessible to others.
TEDxWomen represents one of the independently organized efforts. On December 1st, women from around the world came together to discuss a variety of issues relevant to women and the female experience. Several videos of the event are accessible on the TEDxWomen website at http://tedxwomen.org/videos/. I encourage you to watch them.
The speeches that I watched inspired me to do more than simply discuss the challenges women face—as we did so productively over the course of the Feminist Legal Theory course. They inspired me to do everything from encouraging my little sister to use her vocal talents to sing about the struggles of girls and women like the Girl Up/Project Girl Collective, to thinking more about using the interdependence created by technology to aid other women.
Although criticized for its failure to readily recognize the event as feminist, the events and website provide a space for people to empower women both at home and abroad. By acknowledging the power of women to insight positive change, hopefully more women will volunteer to help each other, to promote inclusiveness, to lead, or to just be nice.