In Washington this week, TED held its first conference purely focused around women.  Now perhaps like you, I was very curious what a TED Women event would look like, feel like and more importantly what messages it would it give us to share with the world to make a difference?  I am still digesting all the groundbreaking themes and threads of legacy that will shape what’s to come.  While it is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to dig out some of the most memorable quotes from TED Women. Hopefully these nuggets will inspire others to discover the people and talks and decide for themselves.  Special thanks to Pat Mitchell and The Paley Center for Media and June Cohen, Chris Anderson and the team at TED for their thoughtful curation.

Cartoon by Liza DonnellyNew Yorker.


“In American fertility clinics, 75% of couples are requesting girls not boys.” -Hanna Rosin

“I’m kinda pro-people. I am one.” - Ted Turner

“I’ve been a victor of circumstance.” - Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

“It’s people that make and lose money, not Excel spreadsheets.” - Halla Tomasdottir [video]

“If you have a democracy, people will vote for washing machines.” - Hans Rosling

“Every time an elder dies, it’s like a library burns.  There are libraries ablaze all over the world.” - Elizabeth Lindsey

“We can change the world one laugh at a time.” - Liza Donnelly


“Our generation is painted as apathetic.  I’d say we’re overwhelmed.” -Courtney E. Martin

“Women systematically underestimate their own abilities. No one gets to the corner office sitting on the sideline.” - Sheryl Sandberg [video]

“I’m here to confuse you. Confusion is my right and left hook.” - Mona Eltahawy

“My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.” - Tony Porter [video]

“Television has a conscience.  It is how we disseminate our value system.” - Lauren Zalaznick

“Take ‘The Other’ to lunch. Get to know one person from a group you have negatively stereotyped.” - Elizabeth Lesser

“I now know the value of education.  I want other girls to go to the V-Day school.” - Jacklyne’s father Lemeria Ole Leperes


“Before, my neighbours didn’t want to hear me.  Today, the world is waiting to hear my voice.” - Sunita Basnet

“Men have been in charge for a very long time. I think there’s room for other ideas.” - Nancy Pelosi

“I view myself as the mother of the country.” - a quote shared by both Madame Callista Mutharika and Sia Nyama Koroma

“Discover the great ideas that lie inside you by discovering the power of sleep.” - Arianna Huffington


“Women want to give because they want to feel connected.” - Lisa Witter

“The green leaves of the Moringa contain all the essential amino acids; a complete protein unlike any other plant.” - Fiona Eberts

“Social media is going to help us get rid of the absurd stereotypes of gender.” - Johanna Blakely

“Success is not about dominating one space, but about reaching out across boundaries.” - Sally Osberg

“The key to economic security - to food security in Africa is empowering the women.” - Judith Rodin


“We’re going to have to accept the fact that healthcare innovation can’t always come at a higher price.” - Deborah Rhodes

“My dream is remaking and reforming a more sustainable, more livable, delicious future.” - Kate Orff

“The most successful tech gets out of the way and helps us create our lives.” - Amber Case

“Robots touch something deeply human within us.  For me, robots are all about people.” - Cynthia Breazeal

“No money for hospital?  Eat beans, you won’t get sick.” - Annet Namayanja

“My computer’s like a baby bag.” - Heather Knight


“Death begins in the eyes.  You can see the moment when one gives up hope.” - Dereck Joubert

“We don’t know everything.  Nature is so unpredictable.” - Beverly Joubert

“We like artwork where, when you close your eyes, you still see it.  You see it in four minutes, in four hours.” - Heather and Tony Podesta

“If we determine a man beats his wife, we lock him in the storage room jail.” - Dr. Hawa Abdi and Dr. Deqo Mohamed

“People think of love as a binary thing; you’re either in love, or not.  But love is a process.” - Rufus Griscom

“Age is a form of lithium.” - Alisa Volkman

“We’re concerned about global environment, but have no concept of our ‘internal environmentalism’.” - Penelope Jagassar Chaffer

“We assume that we’re masters of our environment, rather than being a part of it.” - Tyrone Hayes


“Crime is a product of a distorted mind.” - Kiran Bedi [video]

“Our underlying assumption of limitlessness makes it possible for us to take the risks we do.” - Naomi Klein

“I do not believe meditation and prayer will save the world.  I think we need action.” - whispered by the Dalai Lama to Jody Williams

“What we really yearn for as human beings is to be visible to each other.” - Jacqueline Novogratz

“We should not underestimate culture as a tool to bring people together.” - Sheikha Al Mayassa

“Art is our weapon.  Culture is a form of resistance.” - Shirin Neshat

“Our suffering is equal; yet I’m treated with sympathy and she is treated with hostility.” - Phyllis Rodriguez on Aicha El-Wafi


“Don’t ever think compassion is weak.   Compassion is about strength.” - Joan Halifax

“I realized I needed to address people, not just dress them.” - Donna Karan

“When you’re a part of a sisterhood that wants you to soar, it is impossible to fail.” - Sejal Hathi

“I believe there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” - Madeleine Albright

“It’s a tough goal. Male hegemony mutates through every corridor of power.” - Stephen Lewis

“I never needed eyes to see.  I just needed vision and belief.” - Caroline Casey

“If you are divided from your body, then you are divided from the body of the world.” - Eve Ensler

“Give women equal rights and a nation is more stable, more secure.” - Hillary Clinton  [video]  ”Women’s equality is not just a moral issue, it’s not just a humanitarian issue, it is not just a fairness issue.  It is a security issue, it is a prosperity issue, it is a peace issue.”