Tuesday, May 11, 2010

10 resources for finding women's speeches--and using them in yours

I've written about women having a tough time getting on the program as speakers--but how often are they quoted in speeches?

It's a common practice to quote from other's speeches, but when I read speech anthologies, I'm not surprised to find few--often the same few--women represented.  So here's a suggestion, and one we can all carry out:  Why not make an effort to quote from women's speeches in your next speech or presentation?

To help, here's a collection of resources focused on women's speeches and quotations.  I welcome your additions--please leave them in the comments or on The Eloquent Woman on Facebook:

  1. Gifts of Speech:  This is a great (and updated) database of women's speeches, from Sweet Briar College, and it offers speeches from women worldwide.  It began in 1989 "when Liz Kent, a college librarian, was asked to help a student find a speech by Gloria Steinem. Ms. Kent assumed it would be easy to locate a speech by Ms. Steinem, and was surprised when she could not find one in any of the resources available within her small college library."
  2. Infoplease's Notable Speeches and Addresses by Women has a smaller but varied list of speeches from politics, science, literature and more.
  3. The Archive of Women's Political Communication at Iowa State University has a searchable speech database that's organized by subjects from abortion to welfare. You can contribute speeches to the archive at this link.
  4. The Vincent Voice Library at Michigan State University has 40,000 hours of spoken word recordings -- not just speeches -- and you can search by topic or name of the speaker.
  5. The National Women's History Project has a "Great Speeches" page currently under construction--so write and encourage them to get it going!
  6. What If I Am a Woman? is a two-volume recording of African-American women's speeches, narrated by Ruby Dee and downloadable here on iTunes.
  7. Great Speeches by Today's Women is a series of videos. Prices may put this out of reach unless you're an educator or business.
  8. Speaking as Women: Women and Floor Speeches in the Senate is an academic paper analyzing speeches by women on the Senate floor, often about women's issues.  Published in January 2010, it's available for $30 for the downloaded version.
  9. We Shall Be Heard:  Two volumes, the first--We Shall Be Heard: Women Speakers in America--a collection of 28 women's speeches, and the second, We Shall Be Heard: An Index to Speeches by American Women 1978-1985, an index to guide your searching.
  10. Women in mathematics will find this list of "Books, Articles and Speeches of Interest to Women in Mathematics" from the Canadian Mathematical Society a useful resource. Women scientists also may want to check out the 50 must-read bloggers for women in science and engineering compiled by the National Research Council's Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine.