jessica tholmer
Updated July 27, 2015

We love TED talks over here at HelloGiggles. The global series, which operates under the slogan “Ideas worth spreading,” gets speakers an innovators from every country on earth to record their wisdom so that we can absorb it here at home (“TED” stands for “technology, education, and design.”) And in the hundreds of talks, there’s a whole lot to listen to that will kickstart your feminist spirit and leave you thinking about the state of gender equality. Maybe you’re a longtime TED talk listener and maybe you’re just dipping your toes in the water, but here is a collection of must-listen feminist inspiration talks for your ears.

Sheryl Sandberg, “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders

Of course Sandberg makes the list. Sandberg’s TED talk came before her incredible book Lean In, and basically acts as an introduction to all of the mindblowing points and life-changing pieces of advice that Sandberg has to offer. Sandberg’s TED talk is definitely worth listening to, primarily because it will make you aware of the fact that so many women remove themselves out of the running for strong leadership roles. Don’t do it, ladies. You can lead.

Angela Patton, “A Father-Daughter Dance…

Have all of your tissues ready. Patton explains in great detail a tale of a group of young ladies who organized a father-daughter dance, just as you see in all of the cutesy TV shows and movies. The twist is all of the young gals’ fathers were currently in prison—this is a true story. I cried listening to Patton speak about the problem of mass incarceration and the way a family member’s imprisonment affects everyone around them.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “We Should All Be Feminists

If Adichie’s name doesn’t ring a bell, perhaps you should put on some Beyoncé. Yes, Adichie’s TED talk is the one Bey made famous in her incredibly poignant (and catchy) hit ***Flawless. But Adichie, a novelist and whip-smart speaker, is worth listening to in her entirety here. It’s a powerful, motivational speech.

Roxane Gay, “Confessions of a Bad Feminist

If you are not already familiar with writer Roxane Gay, you should probably take a break from watching these talks and go read anything she has ever written. Gay’s TED talk focuses on feminist expectations, stereotypes, and activism, and the intersection of idealism with the complexities of everyday life. Funny and touching, Gay will make you rethink how you go about the feminist fight.

Ruth Chang, “How to Make Tough Choices

If you want some insight on how to handle the tough stuff in life, you should probably listen to Ruth Chang. Chang walks us through her own life experiences while she outlines how to go about making decisions. Jobs, relationships, moving cities, and more: Chang will help you through it all.

Sarah Kay, “If I Have a Daughter

Kay’s TED talk was the first TED talk I ever watched. By the end, I was crying, fist pumping, and feeling invigorated. Kay is a spoken word poet who focuses on assuring her daughter will know how to express herself, without fear of judgment or repercussions. The whole thing is beautiful. I

Boushnak is an incredibly talented photographer, one who has a passion for literacy across the globe. Here, Boushnak recounts her personal experience with the challenges of pursuing a higher education and her work helping other women pursue learning even in countries where it’s discouraged for women.

Gevinson is the founder of Rookie and all-around awesome human being. Though only 19 years old, Gevinson is well-spoken, strong, and very, very wise. She also gives a nuanced view of feminism from a younger woman’s eyes, an important perspective to consider.


[Image via YouTube]