Friday, December 26, 2014

2014's top 10 Famous Speech Friday posts on The Eloquent Woman

In 2014, we skipped well past 160 famous speeches by women in The Eloquent Woman Index, all from our Famous Speech Friday series. The most-read FSF posts published in 2014 about individual speeches reflect the diversity of our speakers and our readers. The list includes a CEO, members of the British Parliament, poets, a novelist, a newspaper editor, a Prime Minister, an actor, and a researcher. These women hail from England, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the United States, and their famous speeches took the form of TED talks, corporate addresses, commencement speeches, spoken-word poems, United Nations addresses, and Parliamentary tributes.That's as solid a bit of evidence as you can find that women are giving famous speeches in many walks of life and formats. Here are your top 10 most-read FSFs for the year:
  1. Chimamanda Adichie's "We should all be feminists" was our first FSF post of the year. This TEDxEuston speech later was sampled by BeyoncĂ©, sending it into public speaking's stratosphere.
  2. Dominique Christina's "The Period Poem" is a message to her teenage daughter after seeing a shaming tweet about menstruation. It's triumphal, funny, and fierce.
  3. Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman" is another spoken-word poem that's often given as a speech, and here, we published it to mark the great poet's death this year.
  4. Jill Abramson's "to anyone who's been dumped" was a commencement speech given right after she'd been fired in high-profile fashion as the top editor of the New York Times and replaced by a man. It connects with the graduates on the score of uncertain futures.
  5. Benazir Bhutto at the UN Conference on Women made the case that Islam forbids the denigration of women, and made clear that it's social norms, not religion, that enforce patriarchal society.
  6. Tanni Grey-Thompson's "shout a bit louder" on disability was a tribute to a deceased fellow member of the British Parliament who also was disabled. She brings forward the issue by describing her own experiences with misunderstanding and discrimination.
  7. Meryl Streep on Emma Thompson and Walt Disney gave fierce praise to her fellow actor at an awards ceremony, and used a real letter from Disney to illustrate the sexism at that company to highlight the importance of Thompson's role in Saving Mr. Banks.
  8. Brene Brown's 2010 TEDx talk on vulnerability is one of the all-time most-watched TED talks and changed this social work researcher's career. You'll love the way she demonstrates vulnerability even as she educates us about it.
  9. Indra Nooyi's "middle finger" speech used the hand and its five fingers as an analogy....and unfortunately, that middle finger got mistaken for something else. The Pepsi CEO, a powerful speaker, delivered this well and without intending that result, but got plenty of outcry over her approach.
  10. Penny Mordaunt's "loyal address" in Parliament was a signal honor, as she was chosen to respond to the Queen's Speech opening Parliament. But as she was only the second woman in the Queen's very long reign to be selected for the honor, she took time to mark that occasion as well.
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