Who will you stand up for this International Women’s Day #IWD2023? From Pacific Islanders to working parents, trans women to Asian women, here’s nine ideas from 2023’s TEDxLondonWomen speakers.
Women exist at the intersection of so many identities. The idea that the challenges that women face are singular, is ludicrous.
Today, I’m excited to share that our TEDxLondonWomen2023 Talks are now live.
TEDxLondonWomen 2023 brought together 10 incredible speakers and performers, rising up, breaking out and pushing boundaries. Whatever their focus and talent – business, technology, art, science, politics – these pioneers showed up to drive real, meaningful change. Now it’s your turn!
The talks cover ideas such as:
- 🔥How to tackle workplace discrimination
- 🔥The power of collective care in the workplace
- 🔥 Why trans and non-binary joy isn’t radical
- 🔥Using women’s finances as a tool to fight climate change
- 🔥Rethinking stories about small island nations
- 🔥Bringing sexy back for Asian British women
- 🔥Why Iranian women are cutting their hair for freedom
- 🔥Grenfell communities sharing how storytelling is a healing process
But even though this is a day for celebration, these talks are urgent.
Gender based violence is rife. Women are nowhere near gender equality, let alone equity. My hope is that at least one of these talks will educate, inspire and offer you pause for thought on an intersection of topics you may not have associated with each other before.
As we celebrate today, let’s be sure to demand nuance.
Women cannot be referred to as a monolith.
This is why at TEDxLondon and in all areas of my work I believe it’s important to explicitly stand up for the rights of all women, and that includes trans women and gender queer people.
We need to acknowledge that the experience of being a woman is not a singular thing. In particular, the intersection of our various identities of being a woman really impacts how we experience the world.
It impacts how much privilege we have.
That shouldn’t mean that anyone is more or less of a woman because of the experiences they’ve had.
Here’s an explicit way I do this:
Whenever I’m asked to be a part of a women’s panel, or speak at a women’s event, or do a course as part of a women’s private members club, my first question is to find out how inclusive they are to trans women and gender queer folk.
Just by asking that question, it prompts people to think about things they may not have before. It forces people to have conversations internally that they may not have had.
I explicitly will not be part of spaces that are not inclusive.
Yes, that’s me being an ally.
But it’s also about acknowledging that embracing equity requires different kinds of action.
Although I have privilege in some spaces, I may not have privilege in others.
And if you stand up for women in spaces that you have more privilege, then others can stand up for you where they have more privilege.
So, who will you stand up for this #IWD2023?
Here are some 2023 TEDxLondonWomen Talks which might give you some ideas on ways you can have an impact…
Why trans and non-binary joy isn’t radical | Ben Pechey
“Being trans is awful” according to the media, governments, certain authors and ‘charity’ groups, but it’s not trans people sharing this kind of hateful commentary. As Ben Pechey, a LGBTQIA+ advocate and writer says, all this commentary is cis-people’s problem. What if, instead, being trans can be joyful – where trans joy isn’t revolutionary, but an everyday occurance? In this powerful and personal talk, Ben describes how and why trans joy can be mundane, individual and everyday – accessible to trans and non binary people right now rather than sometime in the future.
The power of healing through storytelling | Feruza Afewerki
Nine months after losing four members of her family in the Grenfell Tragedy in 2017, Feruza took part in a silent walk organised monthly by Grenfell United. Surrounded by the Grenfell community, she describes this moment as the first time seeing “community in action”. She realised how this community was powerful – able to look after and trust in each other after so much was lost. The experience sparked the beginnings of Gold & Ashes – a visual series – where Feruza photographed, filmed and documented the stories of those who lived and loved in Grenfell. More than a series of images, the process was healing, where she was able to see the loss and beauty of her community, to demand justice and to reclaim the narrative around Grenfell.
Growing up in Iran, British-Iranian journalist and filmmaker Sahar Zand dreamed of being a man. Her childhood logic told her that was the only way to escape the restrictions that women in Iran face. She’s on a mission to uncover why hope is dangerous to authoritarian regimes, like the Islamic Republic of Iran. The answer? “Hope is angry; it’s defiant; it’s dangerous. Hope is right now, firmly standing its ground on the streets of Iran, chanting “women, life, freedom”.
Why climate vulnerable nations are leaders not just victims | Josephine Latu-Sanft
Small island states are typically depicted in global media as desperately sinking or moments away from total annihilation due to climate change. But this is not the whole story – for decades some of the most climate vulnerable countries have been the loudest voices leading the climate movement and bringing about real change. As a native Tongan/Pacific Islander and communications specialist, Josephine Latu-Sanft, shares the historic role of small island states not merely as climate victims but as climate warriors.
How to challenge workplace discrimination and win | Donna Patterson
When Donna Patterson took on one of the largest supermarkets in the UK, representing herself at an employment tribunal, she had no idea if she would win, let alone that the news of her story would go viral. She was driven by a sense of injustice, having been discriminated against after returning from maternity leave. Without a budget to pay for a lawyer, she learnt how to navigate an employment tribunal and the ins and outs of the UK equality law. She won her discrimination case in 2022 and is now determined to help other workers hold their employers to account – especially women and marginalised groups.
How women can save (for) the planet | Anneka Deva
Money makes the world go round. And yet, when it comes to the climate crisis – one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century – many of us aren’t using one of the biggest forms of power we have; our money, explains Money Movers Director, Anneka Deva. Anneka shares how switching towards a greener pension is up to 21 times more powerful for climate impact than stopping flying, going vegetarian, or changing energy supplier, combined. But women – 51% of humankind – aren’t using the power they have. So how do we support women to use the power they have to put their money to work for their own futures, and the future of the planet?
How collective care can change society | Janey Starling & Seyi Falodun-Liburd
What would the world look like if we prioritised building the emotional and physical structures we all need to live more loving and liberated lives? Inspired by the teachings of Black and disabled feminists, Janey and Seyi share Level Up’s practice of collective care as a strategy for change. For them, collective care is valuing our bodies, labour and humanity. They describe collective care as not a ‘nice to have’ but fundamental to dismantling capitalist and patriarchal systems within the workplace – and society more widely.
Bringing sexy back for the Asian community | Brown Girls Do It Too
For most Asian girls, openly chatting about sex is firmly off limits. Enter Poppy Jay and Rubina Pabani, co-hosts of award-winning podcast, and now a stage show, Brown Girls Do It Too. They’re on a mission to redefine sexuality, sex and relationships for themselves and the wider Asian community.
H.O.M.E – the freedom of exploration | Olivia Rose Shouler & Sarah Lisney
H.O.M.E is a spoken word and movement piece in which Sarah and Olivia explore how making positive change begins – with self. When fully alone we have the opportunity to reflect and heal through self discovery. Beautiful spoken word and movement to encourage you to meet yourself at home. Olivia and Sarah are performers who are aiming to make positive change happen through self-reflection, movement, and the power of the word.
You can view all of the 2023 TEDxLondonWomen Talks here.