5 TED Talks to inspire working women

5 TED Talks to inspire working women

We all need a little inspiration from time to time.  From leadership to time management and work-life balance (or are we calling it work-life mix these days?), here are 5 of my favourite TED Talks to motivate and inspire working women.

1.Why we have too few women leaders | Sheryl Sandberg

I’m sure there are no surprises that this one made my list! The talk that inspired Sandberg’s book (that inspired the name for this site). Sandberg shares three ideas that she believes will help women to stay in the workforce and result in more women leaders: sit at the table, make your partner a real partner and don’t leave before you leave.

2. My Year of Saying Yes to Everything | Shonda Ryhmes

Shonda Rhimes’ talk about ‘the hum’ is captivating.  The ‘hum’ is the feeling that keeps her striving for greatness.  Rhimes talks about her personal journey losing ‘the hum’ and how saying yes to playing with her children helped not only get her ‘hum’ back, but really understand what the ‘hum’ should be.  This is a must-watch and one of my all-time favourite talks.

3. We Should All Be Feminists | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Unlike many feminist manifestos, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk is an unconfrontational look at gender equality. Adichie shares stories of her upbringing in Nigeria to demonstrate the stark gender inequality that still exists today. She then proposes that we plan for a happier, fairer world and argues that we can achieve this by starting with changing the way we raise our children. Adichie’s talk was made all the more famous when she was sampled in Beyoncé’s song Flawless.

4. How to gain control of your free time | Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam says that time management is not about saving bits of time here and there, but about finding more time for what matters to us in the time we have.  There are 168 hours in a week. That’s plenty of time do do the things we love. ‘We don’t build the lives we want by saving time. We build the lives we want and then time saves itself.’

If you love this talk, you might also like to check out my post on Vanderkam’s book I Know How She Does It.

5. Can we all “have it all”? | Anne-Marie Slaughter


Anne-Marie Slaughter talks about how her decision not to take a high-powered job made her reassess her feminist narrative. She argues that having an equal number of women to men in positions of power is only half the answer to male/female equality. In addition to this, society needs to value family life and caregiving and see these things as of equal importance to work and breadwinning.  In order to do this we need to re-socialise men to see that caregiving is ‘cool’ for men.

TED Talks are some of my favourite talks to listen to and this list is by no means complete (in fact, I’ve already got 3 of my next 5 ready to share with you!). Share your favourite TED Talks with me in the comments below.


18 thoughts on “5 TED Talks to inspire working women

  1. I love Shonda Rhimes but I haven’t watched her ted talk all the way through yet. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the lizzie valaquez ted talk, but it was AMAZING……I mean she had me in tears!

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