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Feminism, loss and creativity; we bring you 10 of the most inspiring speeches by women


This week, actress Emma Watson made waves when she addressed the UN with the launching of new project He For She.

In the speech, she advocated that it wasn't just women who should be fighting for equality, but men too, as gender stereotyping as it hurts them just as much as it hurts women. While there was some backlash in the form of website 4Chan threatening the release of naked photos of the actress, the feeling overall was one of awe and appreciation.

In light of the fact that we, and so many others, were moved by Emma's incredible speech, we've looked to other women who have also taken to the stage, podium or lectern to offer their advice on some of the most important parts of our lives. You'll want to keep this one bookmarked.

Ellen Page on sexuality

When Ellen Page gave a speech at the Human Rights Campaign Time to Thrive campaign, which works for LGBT equal rights, she also decided that this was the time to announce to the world that she was gay. A brave feat considering that so few are openly gay in Hollywood.

“I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility. I also do it selfishly, because I’m tired of hiding. And I’m tired of lying by omission. I suffered for years because I was scared to be out. My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered, and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of that pain.”

Emma Watson on gender equality

The word inspirational really doesn't do this speech justice. Not only does Emma appeal across the board to both men and women, she acknowledges the social injustices and calls upon everyone to help. You won't just want to watch it once, trust us on this.

Mindy Kaling on growing up

We've made no secret of the fact that we want Mindy Kaling to be our best friend. When she took to the stage this year to give the Harvard Law School Class Day ceremony speech, she was not only hilarious she was also encouraging.

"Who should be giving advice and the answer is people like you. You are better educated and you are going to go out into the world and people are going to listen to what you say, whether you are good or evil, and that probably scares you because some of you look really young."

Angelina Jolie on helping others

In a very personal tribute to her late mother, Angelina Jolie gave this incredibly moving speech upon receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2013 Governors Awards. She talked about how her mother would drive her to every audition, would tell her she was good and was encouraging of her daughter's endeavours to live her life as an artist.

She also said how her mother had said to her that "nothing would mean anything if I didn't live a love of use to others" and how she didn't quite understand that until she had grown a bit older, and realised her responsibility to others.

It was only until she began to travel more and met survivors or war, famine and rape, she realised how sheltered she'd been and how fortunate she is, which is why she hopes her work is giving people who struggle, a voice.

Watch the full speech below

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on feminism

It's no surprise that Beyonce sampled award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's TED talk 'We Should All Be Feminists'.

"Because I am a female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Marriage can be... a source of joy and love and mutual support. But why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same?"


Lupita Nyong'o on self-acceptance

In a moving speech from this year's Best Actress Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o, we hear her talk at Essence magazine's Black Women In Hollywood awards, on the subject of skin colour. Lupita discusses her desires for her to be lighter skinned and how difficult she found it to come to terms with her dark skin.

"My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome."

Sarah Key on creativity

Spoken word poet Sarah Kay garnered two (that's right, TWO) standing ovations after giving this talk at TED in 2011. She began by performing an incredible poem and then talked about creativity and how spoken word, and poetry, actually, a very useful tool. We dare you to not want to go out and write after listening to this.

Amy Cuddy on body language

This video has already been viewed over 20 MILLION times. And it's no wonder. Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy's TED talk on body language is utterly fascinating. From how standing better in a posture of confidence can affect testosterone levels in the body to how you can show the world who you really are with just two minutes.

Julia Gillard on misogyny

Then Prime Minister Julia Gillard's war cry against the then leader of the opposition party, Tony Abbott, went viral after she gave this off-the-cuff speech about his misogyny. While she speaks on behalf of all women in Australia, the way in which she delivers her speech is a masterclass battling against those who continue to oppress women.

Sheryl Sandberg on getting ahead

We'd probably be so bold as to suggest that this falls under the category of an iconic modern-day speech. As one of the most powerful business women in the world (she's currently Facebook's COO), who better than to give advice on how women can get ahead in the work place.



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