Friday, March 6, 2015

9 famous speeches by Indian, Pakistani and Indian-American women

From the world marketplace to dictatorship, from rape to women's education, famous speeches in The Eloquent Woman Index from women of Pakistan and India tackle tough topics with skill, humor and passion. Here are eight famous speeches from the Index representing women from, or with families from, this region:
  1. Kavita Krishnan spoke out in 2013 about women's safety and India's rape culture, but the setting and her message were unusual. It came after a brutal and much-publicized gang rape, and a protest march that led to the doorstep of Delhi's chief minister.
  2. Pepsi chair and CEO Indra Nooyi gave a "middle finger" speech, the 2005 commencement address at Columbia Business School. The analogy, taken in context and describing the U.S. position in the world marketplace, wasn't controversial--but the aftermath of this speech was.
  3. Actress Mindy Kaling addressed Harvard Law School's class day in 2014 with self-deprecating humor and a serious call for family, fairness and future goals, based on the aspirations of her immigrant parents. Her Indian heritage was woven throughout this hilarious and heartfelt speech.
  4. Malala Yousafzai's first statement after her shooting by the Taliban is among the briefest speeches in The Eloquent Woman Index, but an indication of her determination to continue public speaking--something Yousafzai has been doing since the age of 11.
  5. Psycho-economist Sheena Iyengar talked at TEDGlobal in 2010 about her research on the art of choosing--and surprised the audience, which didn't know she was blind until they saw her being helped on stage.
  6. Indira Gandhi's address on "what educated women can do" in 1974 happened at the anniversary of a women's college. She used the occasion to reflect on her own incomplete education and how far women in India had come.
  7. Benazir Bhutto's address to the 1995 UN Conference on Women may sound like a defense of Islam and how it considers women's rights. But she was making a critical distinction between the tenets of religion and societal norms, and clearly noted that discrimination is a step toward dictatorship, putting the issue on a political basis.
  8. Malala Yousafzai's 2014 United Nations address on education featured her wearing a shawl that belonged to Benazir Bhutto. Given on her 16th birthday, it's a tour de force. Compare it to her short statement after the shooting to see how far she came in regaining her speaking skills.
  9. Vandana Shiva's speech at the 2014 Food Otherwise conference is an example of great delivery from this charismatic and popular speaker. But her scientific facts are widely disputed. See why this controversial speaker succeeds as she does.
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