We’ve highlighted some powerful speeches given by great women to celebrate their impact and the ways they continue to change the world.
1. “We Should All Be Feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Arguably one of the best TedTalks ever given, this eloquently argued speech by award-winning Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in 2013 argues for feminism and inclusion. Adichie draws from personal experiences as a woman, her perspective from living in different countries, and her exploration of what it means to be a woman in today’s world.
This speech has become a cultural symbol, was sampled by Beyonce in her song Flawless, published as a book, and is translated into 32 languages.
“I have chosen to no longer be apologetic for my femaleness and my femininity. And I want to be respected in all of my femaleness because I deserve to be.”
2. “How Dare you” by Greta Thunberg
Swedish teenage climate activist is unrelenting in her fight for the climate and defiance toward world leaders. In 2019 at the United Nations Climate Action Summit, Thunberg channeled her anger and gave an impassioned speech where she confronted world leaders to step up and do more to prevent climate change.
“This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean, yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you?”
3. “The Right to Learning Should be Given to Any Child” by Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is a Pakistani activist and the winner of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. She continues her work as a dedicated activist and fights for women’s rights despite being shot in the head in 2012 at just 15 years old because of her activism. Malala is a perfect example of what it means to defy the odds as she continues to campaign for women’s rights and the right to education for girls in Pakistan.
“I simply ask that the right to learning should be given to every child. I ask for nothing else”
4. “The Hill We Climb” by Amanda Gorman
Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman was instantly catapulted into fame as she shook the nation when she delivered this poem in 2021 at the inauguration of Joe Biden. As the first person ever to be named National Youth Poet Laureate, Gorman’s work focuses on feminism, racism, and oppression. She left everyone equally stunned and inspired with her inaugural poem and used her words to offer hope and restoration.
“So we lift our gazes not to what stands between us, but what stands before us. We close the divide because we know to put our future first, we must first put our differences aside. We lay down our arms so we can reach out our arms to one another, we seek harm to none and harmony for all.”
5. The Misogyny Speech – Julia Gillard
The Misogyny Speech is considered one of the most unforgettable TV Moments in Australia and has been applauded worldwide. Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia, gave her speech when she was Prime Minister. Her visceral speech was directly addressed to the leader of the opposition part as she confronted him on his misogyny and sexism – some of which had been targeted directly at her in the past.
“I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man Not now, not ever. The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his resignation.”