This is an uncertain time. And yet, amid the physical, cultural and economic challenges affronting us at every level – from personal to global – now is the time to engage. At TEDWomen 2020, we will call upon our collective fearlessness to create a global step forward together.
In this moment, diversity of ideas is more important than ever. As such, in collaboration with an incredible group of TEDx organizers, we'll celebrate and amplify the most interesting, dynamic, multi-dimensional ideas — from Lagos, Nigeria, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Montreal, Canada, Colombo, Sri Lanka, and Sydney, Australia. These talks, along with an array of interactive and participatory sessions, will be shared via TED's custom digital events space to create an unforgettable day.
Check out the TED speakers we will feature during our conference:
Megan McArthur is a mom, explorer and NASA astronaut. She has orbited the Earth 197 times and logged more than five million miles in space, so far.
In the spring of 2021, Megan McArthur will pilot the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft on its second mission to the International Space Station. Previously, she served as flight engineer and robotic arm operator during the final upgrade and repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope, which continues to unlock mysteries of the universe.
McArthur is inspired by the opportunities she has to represent humanity at the frontier of discovery and exploration in space. She earned her bachelor of science in aerospace engineering at UCLA and a PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prior to her recent flight assignment, she served as deputy chief of the Astronaut Office.
As a scuba diver, backpacker and pilot, McArthur's passion for exploration has no limits. Married to fellow astronaut Bob Behnken, they balance the complexities of human space exploration with the joys of raising their son, Theo.
In addition to her incredible WNBA basketball career, Renee Montgomery is a vocal advocate for equality and social justice reform.
Renee Montgomery, a native West Virginian, completed her 11th season in the WNBA in 2019. She was drafted fourth overall by the Minnesota Lynx in 2009. She won National Championships with the UCONN Huskies in 2009 and professionally with the Minnesota Lynx in 2015 and 2017. She also won three state basketball championships during her high school career. She was named WNBA "All-Star" in 2012 as well as WNBA "6th Woman of the Year" in 2013. In the 2018 WNBA season, she broke a WNBA League record for most 3- pointers (seven) made in a half. During the 2019 WNBA season, she reached the 500 mark for 3-pointers made, making her 12th on the all-time list.
Montgomery founded the nonprofit organization Renee Montgomery Foundation (RMF), with the mission to serve the youth and families of Atlanta through principles learned in sports such as leadership, self-discipline, teamwork, sportsmanship and confidence. Recently, she filled a full-time hosting position on TMZ Sports and makes multiple weekly appearances on TMZ Live as a contributor offering her take on sports and social justice causes.
Gloria Steinem is an award-winning journalist, writer, political activist and feminist organizer.
Gloria Steinem was a founder of New York and Ms. magazines. In 1993, her concern with child abuse led her to coproduce an Emmy Award-winning TV documentary for HBO, Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories. In 2016, she and Amy Richards coproduced a series of eight documentaries on violence against women around the world for VICELAND.
Steinem has cofounded several organizations, including the National Women's Political Caucus, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the Free to Be Foundation, the Women's Media Center and Equality Now. In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama, and received the Freedom Award from the National Civil Rights Museum in 2019. She is the subject of Julie Taymor's upcoming biopic, The Glorias.
Steinem is the author of many books, including The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off, Revolution from Within, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions and As If Women Matter. For her writing, she received the Front Page and Clarion awards, the National Magazine Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations.
María Teresa Kumar is the President and CEO of Voto Latino, a nonprofit organization committed to shaking up the American political process.
Activist and social entrepreneur María Teresa Kumar is dedicated to helping educate and empower a new generation of Latinx voters, and passionate about creating a more robust and inclusive democracy within the United States. She is the founding president of Voto Latino, the country's leading Latinx voter registration and advocacy organization, which reaches an audience of 20 million people on social media, has registered one million voters since its inception (including 550,000 this cycle), and will mobilize 3.7 million voters this year.
Named by Fast Company as among the 100 Creative Minds, Kumar was featured as among the 10 most influential women in DC in Elle Magazine, while Hispanic Executive named her among the 10 most influential Latinos. She is a graduate of Harvard's Kennedy School and UC Davis.
Kumar serves on the boards of EMILY's List and the World Economic Forum's Global Shapers. She is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader and a Council on Foreign Relations Life Member. She also served as a legislative staffer for the Democratic Caucus Chairman.
Maria Teresa Kumar
Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey is a Ghanaian poet, writer, literary critic, media practitioner, activist and versatile creative of Ga-Daŋme and Ewe ancestry.
Living in Ghana, where oral literary traditions are intertwined with culture and history, Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey performs within West Africa's most sophisticated spaces. The author of The Matriarch's Verse, her work is noted for its rare prosaic nature and sharp, vivid imagery.
Ashong-Abbey's performances are varied and animated as she reads her pieces in performance, rather than deliver them from memory. She injects life into poetry with classical, Afro-pop, reggae and rock music, contemporary dance and alternative art. Her poetry concert, "The Matriarch's Verse," remains Ghana's largest poetry event hosted by an individual artist, featuring more than 12 supporting acts and attracting an audience of more than 1,000 people.
Ashong-Abbey is a production executive at Accra-based Citi FM/Citi TV and the host of Diplomatic License on Citi TV, which features diplomats who work in Ghana and focuses on the nonofficial aspects of their lives and the culture of their home nations. She is also an editorial advisor for The InfluencHER Project, an editorial program and global community seeking to empower and amplify female voices. At Africa6 News, she leads a team of young Africans towards reclaiming the African narrative from Western media.
Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey
Madison McFerrin is an independent singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, with a distinctive sound that Questlove called "soul-appella."
Madison McFerrin quietly introduced her soulful take on a cappella to the world when she self-released Finding Foundations: Vol. I in late 2016. Soon after it dropped, tastemaking DJ Gilles Peterson snatched up her standout track, "No Time to Lose," for his Brownswood Bubblers compilation. In 2018, she self-released Finding Foundations: Vol. II.
McFerrin's South by Southwest (SXSW) 2018 debut led legendary KCRW DJ Anne Litt to remark, "there's some sort of joy and beauty in the way that she performs." Pitchfork Magazine declared, "Madison McFerrin is making a cappella cool again." She subsequently performed at Pitchfork's Rising Artist showcase at Northside Fest, OctFest, Paris Avant Garde showcase and the inaugural Midwinter Event at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Beyond the stage, McFerrin's one-of-a-kind vocals can be heard in episodes of Comedy Central's Broad City and HBO's Random Acts of Flyness. Her latest project, You + I, is produced with her brother Taylor McFerrin. The lead single "TRY" premiered in her debut COLORS session, which has already racked up more than one million views and landed on Spotify's "New Music Friday" playlist. On Bandcamp she has released timely new music such as "Stay TF Inside," which was featured on VICE News, and most recently debuted her first foray into beatmaking with the "We'll Be Okay Beatpack."
Julia Gillard + Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Talk title: Why female leadership rocks – and how everyone can do it.
27th Prime Minister of Australia and Economist, International Development Expert. An advocate for women's leadership, the Honorable Julia Gillard was 27th Prime Minister of Australia. Hon Julia Gillard is the inaugural chair of the Global Institute for Women's Leadership at Kings College London, which addresses women's under-representation in leadership through research, practice and advocacy.
She is coauthor of Women and Leadership: Real Lives, Real Lessons with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She is the patron of CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education, and serves as the chair of the global funding body for education in developing countries, the Global Partnership for Education. Gillard is also the chair of Beyond Blue, Australia's leading mental health awareness body.