My TEDWomen Experience
I recently attended the TEDWomen conference 2015 and will strongly encourage any woman trying to empower herself emotionally, economically and culturally to sign up for the next edition.
I had researched TEDWomen and made up my mind to invest my time, presence and finances in meeting other women from countries around the world, share experiences and ideas as well as participate in the global sisterhood to gain inspiration and a boost to my creative thinking.
While researching, I saw that TEDWomen was an annual event that brought mostly women and some men from all walks of life together. They all assembled with a common interest – to discuss innovative and catalyzing ideas that they hoped would bring about action towards a better world.
This year’s event was to be held at Monterey California this year’s TEDWomen on the 27th to the 29th of May and over 30 speakers were to give fresh insights in about 6 sessions on various topics cutting across various sectors. I also saw that about 68 other countries would stream the program real time, holding over 230 TEDx events worldwide while their local speakers also tackled the aptly tagged theme for this year:- Momentum.
While I was totally excited at participating in this event, I wasn’t prepared for the unexpected impact my participation would leave on my psyche. I heard talks from poets, actors, activists, artists, writers, entrepreneurs, bio engineers, sports legends, scientists and past presidents – most of them sisters, wives/partners, mothers and grandmothers (some even great -grandmothers) and watched women speak on topics way out of their comfort zones. I saw fear mixed with compassion, laced with an invitation to empathy.
These women spoke on abuse (sexual, physical, emotional and societal), strength and resilience, ambition and bravery.
They spoke of gender inequality and action plans on how to suffocate this troublesome problem.
They cited the enormous potential women had when included and the great strides that have been made by this inclusion.
I witnessed stories of women AND MEN who had pledged to significantly better the lives of women and were ready to sacrifice their careers, reputation, integrity and even their selves for the improvement of the circumstances of women in their generation and generations to come.
I stood among giants who dared to question and change the status quo.
I applauded their courage and promised myself to walk away from this conference free from arresting thoughts and convictions molded by my upbringing and society.
I would do what the great Bob Marley implored us to do and “Emancipate myself from mental slavery”.
Slavery from judgment- judging others based on their race, religion, sexuality, class and circumstance.
I had an “ AHA”! moment where I recognized that in judging others, I was really voicing out my ignorance and projecting my insecurities on those I judged.
A resounding affirmation of my earlier convictions about the inclusion of men in women equality thoroughly hit home when I heard Michael Kimmel say, “We cannot fully empower women and girls unless we engage boys and men. We know this.”
I’ve come away from TEDWomen ready to embrace the world afresh and as a new unapologetic me.
I will sweep away all toxic situations from my life and I promise to “LIVE AND LET LIVE” while participating in the renaissance of gender equality.
– And so should you…