It’s important that we acknowledge that the growing movement of men in the United States — in a multicultural sense — and all around the world — in an international sense — the growing movement of men who are standing up and speaking out about men’s violence against women and going into parts of male culture that have historically been either apathetic about or openly hostile to women’s efforts to engage them.
That movement of men is indebted to the leadership of women on a personal level, on a professional level, on a political level, on an intellectual level, on every level. Women built these movements, and these are movements that are affecting — in a positive way — everybody, not just women and girls, but also men and boys.
And oftentimes, men like myself get a lot of credit and public acclaim for doing the work that women have been doing for a long time.
A TEDx Intern lunch break playlist: Happy Galentine’s Day! 5 talks to help you celebrate the ladies in your life
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, the day we all love to love (or) hate, where we get to smother our loved ones with praise, adoration, and heart-shaped chocolates. But today, today is Galentine’s Day, the daycreated by the fictitious councilwoman Leslie Knope from the television show Parks and Recreation for women to honor the women in their life — and while, officially, this has nothing to do with TEDx — it is a favorite holiday of our editorial intern, who put together this playlist in its honor.
“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrate ladies.” —Leslie Knope
Here at TEDx we’re no strangers to the myriad of inventions, discoveries, and innovations women are contributing to the modern world, the challenges they face, and the ways they are facing them. Through the TEDxWomen program and thousands of standard TEDx events around the world, we know there are still Marie Curies, still Valentina Tereshkovs, and still Georgia O’Keeffes — the talks are proof.
So, in honor of Galentine’s Day, and hard-working, butt-kicking ladies everywhere, 5 TEDx Talks that Leslie Knope would be proud of:
Shabana Basij-Rasikh: Dare to educate Afghan girls In this talk at TEDxWomen 2012, Shabana Basij-Rasikh discusses how she and her sister risked their lives by going to a secret school after the Taliban outlawed school for girls in Afghanistan. Hers is a talk that will make you feel privileged to even have a chance to watch classmates throw spitballs in geometry class. A must-watch for anyone — male or female — who’s ever not wanted to get up and go to school.
Soap saves: Renée Botta at TEDxDUChange Renée Botta works in improving sanitation measures in slums in Nairobi. When she learned of a woman in a neighboring slum making homemade soap, she thought the process would be a good way for community members to get involved in improving local sanitation — until she met Helen — a single mother who decided to not only make this special soap herself, but also to sell it, as a way to become financially independent and take her health, her family’s, and her community’s into her own hands.
A teen still just figuring it out: Tavi Gevinson at TEDxTeen In this talk, 15-year-old Tavi Gevinson, the editor of Rookie magazine, discusses modern media’s portrayal of women, and her struggle to find portrayals of women that actually resemble real women she knows. When she looked at media representations of teen girls, she ran into the same dead ends, she says, so she decided to take matters into her own hands, and create a space where the content was not just aimed at teenage girls, but made by teenage girls as well.
I’m an astronaut … and a woman: Nicole Stott at TEDxSugarLand In this inspiring talk from TEDxSugarLand, astronaut Nicole Stott tells her story of becoming an aeronautical engineer and going into space, drawing inspiration from the women who came before her. “I was usually the only girl in my [classes],” she says in her talk, “but I never really noticed it. I never noticed it unless somebody else pointed it out to me. And I think that’s because I was studying something I loved to do, and all the people around me were studying something they love to do as well.”
Why you fear math: Laura Overdeck at TEDxWestVillageWomen In this talk, mathematician Laura Overdeck explains how adults reinforce the stereotype that boys are naturally better at math and science than girls. “If you give men and women a quiz with math,” she says, “and for some of them, at the beginning they’re asked to check off their gender … the women who have on their test [the question] asking them to check off their gender, do worse than the women who didn’t have that question. Just being reminded that you’re female makes you do worse on a math test.” She has ideas to change this — just watch.
Bonus: TEDWomen talks from Ms. Knope’s heroes, Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton:
While I was in high school, something happened. I met a young gentleman from our village who had been to the University of Oregon…
I told him, “Well, I want to go to where you [went]”… And he told me, “What do you mean you want to go? Don’t you have a husband waiting for you?” And I told him, “Don’t worry about that part. Just tell me how to get there.”
…I applied to school and I was accepted to [Randolph College] in Lynchburg, Virginia. [But] I couldn’t come without the support of the village because I needed to raise money … and again, when the men heard and the people heard that a woman had gotten an opportunity to go to school, they said, “What a lost opportunity. This should have been given to a boy.”
“We live in the privileged region of Orange County, California, one of the safest counties in the US,” says the organizer of TEDxOrangeCoastWomen in California, Mojdeh Eskandari. “Although we share many women’s issues with others in the world, we do not experience them to the same degree. The first response if you Google “Women in OC” is The Real Housewives of Orange County.
“But while our lifestyle is somewhat different” she says, “we have more in common with all women in the world than we have differences.”
On December 1st, they will join TEDxWomen’s conversation on the state of affairs for women worldwide — not just in California or the United States — but for all of those who, they say are brave enough to “challenge and redefine traditional rules and roles.”
“There may never have been a better time to host TEDxWomen than following the historic 2012 election when a record number of women were swept into public office in the United States,” the TEDxOrangeCoastWomen team writes in a blog post detailing their event. “Twenty women will serve in the 100-member Senate and at least 81 of the 435 members of the House of Representatives will be women. Of the newly elected, three women are the first female senators from their states, two have military experience, one is the first Hindu in Congress and one is the first Asian-American woman in the senate.”
But why do the team at TEDxOrangeCoastWomen feel this is important to their event?
“Aside from the practical matter of having half of the country better represented in its own governance,” they say, “it indicates that more women than ever are seeking an active role in society, and society agrees there’s value in that.”