Friday, January 2, 2015

The Famous Speech Friday All-Stars to start 2015

From activists and an aviator to a poet and a prime minister, these are the famous speeches by women that are most-read on the blog. All part of The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Speeches by Women, these posts all began as Famous Speech Friday posts, and contain, where available, text, audio or video, as well as what you can learn to aid your own public speaking. Here are the speeches you turn to again and again:
  1. Hillary Clinton's speech at the 1995 United Nations Conference on Women, held in Beijing, was a big deal even then--I was working in the Clinton Administration and served on the White House Council on Women when this speech was in the works. Today, it's a touchstone for its important line about women's rights and human rights. This is far and away the most popular speech in the Index.
  2. Amelia Earhart's "A Woman's Place in Science" was a radio address that sought to describe how women could participate in a time of great scientific discovery, as consumers and as careerists.
  3. Helen Keller's "Strike Against War" was a popular anti-World War I speech she gave as a pacifist and activist. This post also includes rare footage of Keller speaking.
  4. Evita Peron's 1951 "Renunciamiento" was a radio address in which she declined calls for her to assume the vice presidency of Argentina. We've got footage of the speech and an associated rally.
  5. Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?" is oft-quoted and recited today. But it's not at all clear that the words that survive were those of Truth, a charismatic speaker, thanks to later efforts to alter the text.
  6. Margaret Thatcher's "Iron Lady" speech gave her that nickname for an ironclad stance against the Soviet Union. This speech came before her rise to Prime Minister, a forceful statement.
  7. Margaret Sanger's "The Children's Era" made the case for birth control by describing the impacts on women. This 1925 speech also answered her critics' subtly sexist arguments against her movement.
  8. Maya Angelou's eulogy for Coretta Scott King has the poet's lyricism and the knowing qualities that only a close friend can bring to your funeral. From one titan to another, this is a powerful, lovely speech.
  9. Emmeline Pankhurst's "Freedom or Death" was given in America while the fearless British suffragette was avoiding jail and raising money for the cause. She deftly used Ireland's independence movement, led by men, as a comparison for how the women activists were treated and turned away.
  10. Aung San Suu Kyi's "Freedom from Fear" speech is an unusually insightful look at the psychology behind why despots use fear. She argues for freedom from fear because of its power to sway and control people. This speech preceded her long house arrest, and was the major voice for her positions while she was so long silenced.
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