That is what learning is. You suddenly understand something you’ve understood all your life, but in a new way.


TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design converged, and today covers almost all topics — from science to business to global issues — in more than 100 languages. Meanwhile, independently run TEDx events help share ideas in communities around the world.

We have scoured the body of wonderful TED Talks presented around the world, and have chosen to share this group of talks. Presented by wise women on a broad range of topics, these talks are insightful, brilliant and intriguing – and they will challenge you to re-examine your thinking. If you have not previously discovered the world of TED – you are in for a treat.

Dr Musimbi Kanyoro: To solve the world’s biggest problems, invest in women and girls

As CEO of the Global Fund for Women, Dr Musimbi Kanyoro works to support women and their ideas so they can expand and grow. She introduces us to the Maragoli concept of “isirika” – a pragmatic way of life that embraces the mutual responsibility to care for one another – something she sees women practicing all over the world. And she calls for those who have more to give more to people working to improve their communities.
(14 mins)

Read Dr Kanyoro’s story here

Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight

Jill Bolte Taylor has become a spokesperson for stroke recovery and for the possibility of coming back from brain injury stronger than before after her own personal experience of stroke.
(18 mins)

Read Jill’s story here

Margaret Heffernen – Dare to Disagree

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but as Margaret Heffernan shows us, good disagreement is central to progress. She illustrates (sometimes counterintuitively) how the best partners aren’t echo chambers – and how great research teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.
(13 mins)

Margaret Heffernen – The dangers of wilful blindness

Gayla Benefield was just doing her job – until she uncovered an awful secret about her hometown that meant its mortality rate was 80 times higher than anywhere else in the US. But when she tried to tell people about it, she learned an even more shocking truth: People didn’t want to know. In a talk that’s part history lesson, part call-to-action, Margaret Heffernan demonstrates the danger of wilful blindness, and praises ordinary people like Benefield who are willing to speak up.
(13 mins)

Ingrid Fetell Lee: How we can all find joy

Cherry blossoms and rainbows, bubbles and googly eyes: Why do some things seem to create such universal joy? In this captivating talk, Ingrid Fetell Lee reveals the surprisingly tangible roots of joy and shows how we all can find – and create – more of it in the world around us.
(13 mins)

Pam Warhurst: Incredible Edible

What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humour, Pam Warhurst tells the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community. Pam Warhurst cofounded Incredible Edible, an initiative in Todmorden, England dedicated to growing food locally by planting on unused land throughout the community.
(13 mins)

Read Pam’s story here

Karen Bass: Unseen footage, untamed nature

Karen Bass is a director and producer with a passion for travel and natural history. In 20 years at the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Karen made wildlife films in almost every environment across the Earth, from the rainforests of the Congo (where she produced the first-ever film of our closest relative, the bonobo), to the deserts of Libya, Syria and Jordan, from the icy peaks of the Andes to the swamps of the Amazon, from erupting volcanoes in the Caribbean to the nocturnal world of raccoons in downtown Manhattan. Karen shares some of the astonishing nature footage she’s shot for the BBC and National Geographic.
(10 mins)

Sherry Turkle: Connected but alone?

Sherry Turkle is a professor, author, consultant, researcher and licensed clinical psychologist who has spent the last 30 years researching the psychology of people’s relationships with technology. As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication – and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have in this TED Talk from 2012.
(20 mins)