Friday, April 5, 2013

Updated: 16 famous UK & European speeches by women in The Eloquent Woman Index

I'm giving the closing keynote at this year's spring conference of the UK Speechwriters' Guild and European Speechwriter Network in London in May (and readers of The Eloquent Woman get 10 percent off the registration price with the code "EloquentWoman"). So it seems a good time to gather up the UK and European speeches in The Eloquent Woman Index. This group has speeches given in the region by American speakers as well as speeches by UK and European natives. It's a diverse and forward-thinking collection:
  1. Lady Gaga's speech at Rome Europride is a formal effort at speaking from a flamboyant performer. Look past her wig and costume and listen to this inspiring and heartfelt human rights manifesto that follows the first rule of speakers in foreign lands with a nod to "when in Rome..."
  2. France's Christine Lagarde at the Global Women's Forum demonstrates the economic importance of women in a speech from one of today's most eloquent women. Lagarde, among many other qualities, speaks as fluently in English as in her native French.
  3. Elizabeth Murdoch's lecture to the UK television industry took to task its lack of invitations to women speakers, and acknowledged the honor of being asked to give the lecture as "a pain in the ass." A forthright speech that knows its audience well.
  4. Britain's Princess Diana spoke out in favor of a ban on landmines in a speech that represented her effort to find and express her own voice. Sadly, this one was delivered three weeks before her death; the mission wasn't fulfilled until it was too late for her to see it.
  5. Elizabeth I's speech to the troops at Tilbury is the oldest speech in the Index, so far--and with three different recorded versions, we can't be sure it's what she said. Still, it's among the most stirring of speeches, one that inspires speakers and speechwriters alike.
  6. Queen Elizabeth II's tribute to Princess Diana represented a first for this frequent speaker of a queen: It was her first speech on live television, with an audience in the hundreds of millions. In giving up the control of a recorded speech, this Elizabeth gained a much-needed connection with the audience. Our post also includes audio of her very first speech, given at age 14 in 1940 on the BBC.
  7. British author Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" lectures took place at Cambridge University in 1928 in an "acoustically dreadful" setting. But the essays based on them have inspired women writers ever since.
  8. Primatologist Jane Goodall knows what separates us from the apes, and today this British scientist spends most of her time speaking in public. Her 2002 TED talk draws on her studies of Shakespeare and her Welsh ancestry to tell stories that captivate.
  9. British suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst described her violent fight for votes as "Freedom or Death," and she wasn't kidding. This talk--given in the U.S. as she evaded another jail term--is noted for the line "you cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs; you cannot have civil war without damage to something."
  10. British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher got her nickname from the "Iron Lady" speech at the height of the Cold War, and made jokes about it in subsequent speeches. The foreign policy speech that sparked the nickname was a strong and serious example from an adept public speaker.
  11. Journalist Marie Colvin's moving eulogy for fallen war correspondents took place in London. Though an American, she worked for British news organizations in war zones, losing an eye in the process. Two years after this eulogy, she herself was killed in a targeted attack in Syria on the day she was scheduled to leave the war zone.
  12. Swedish golfer Sophie Gustafson stutters, and rarely speaks in public. So when golf writers gave her a special award, she videotaped her acceptance speech. It's a rare chance to see a stutterer conquer a speaking task and still convey her innate humor and humanity.
  13. Tilda Swinton spoke about David Bowie at the opening of an exhibit about him at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, and made it more personal and detailed than most ribbon-cutting speeches. This is a tribute that encompassed the crowd and the exhibit lovingly...and with an eye to the freak in all of us.
  14. Caroline Criado-Perez spoke out about cyber bullying, based on her own experiences after she successfully campaigned to get women's images on UK currency. Her frank speech laid out many of the violent and sexual threats made against her, as well as changes in policy she wants to see for dealing with these actions as hate crimes.
  15. British Olympic cyclist Nicole Cook gave a retirement speech in which she took on the cycling doping scandal as well as the sport's lack of support for women riders.
  16. Christine Lagarde's speech on "dynamic resilience" at the World Economic Forum covered everything from social media to climate change in a sweeping view of what's ahead for the world economy. We've got her prepared text and a look at what she changed in delivery.
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