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Women share intimate perspectives on abortion, childhood marriage, human trafficking and more

Ted Talks

4 moving TED Talks you should watch right now

July 23, 2015

The issues facing women around the world are complex and varied so it’s enlightening to hear fresh perspectives on how to combat them. The four TED Talks below do just that, offering intimate insight into human trafficking, abortion, childhood marriage, and gender inequality in Islam.

Alaa Murabit: What Islam really says about women
Alaa Murabit, founder of The Voice of Libyan Women, explores Islam and its impact on laws and cultural and societal structures involving gender. During her speech, Murabit asks: “Why if we are equal in the eyes of God are we not equal in the eyes of men?” It’s a question she pondered as a young 15-year-old Muslim girl, the middle child of 11, who moved from Libya to Canada in the early 1980s. As she explores her answer, Murabit highlights ways her childhood emphasized the importance of women’s leadership and participation and shares why a similar structure can challenge the “distorted religious messaging” plaguing so many religions when it comes their attitudes toward women.

Aspen Baker: A better way to talk about abortion
Aspen Baker, founder of Exhale, an organization that provides emotional support to women who’ve had abortions, talks about a new category she wants to carve out amidst the pro-life, pro-choice abortion debate. She calls it “pro-voice,” a place where meaningful, purposeful conversation can happen. “As much as abortion is hotly debated, it’s still rare for us, whether as fellow women or even just as fellow people to talk with one another about the abortions that we have,” says Baker. She goes on to share how she built the framework for her organization and the remarkable impact listening and sharing stories has had on the women who’ve found support through it.

Noy Thrupkaew: Human trafficking is all around you. This is how it works
Journalist Noy Thrupkaew explores the human trafficking industry from a personal lens. During her talk, Thrupkaew tells the audience about her experience as a 3-year-old child watching her caregiver, a distant relative, emotionally and physically abused right before her eyes. “Things got so bad for her that eventually she ran away. As an adult I learned later that she had been just 19 when she was brought over from Thailand to the states to care for me on a tourist visa,”  Thrupkaew reveals onstage. Thrupkaew’s childhood memories illustrate how human trafficking extends further than the traditional pimp-prostitute model to various service industries, hitting much closer to home than many want to acknowledge.

Memory Banda: A warrior’s cry against childhood marriage
Memory Banda opens her TED Talk with a powerful poem titled I’ll Marry When I Want. “I’ll marry when I want, but not before I am well educated, and not before I am all grown up,” says the young woman from the small country of Malawi. The poem Banda recites parallels the struggles of her sister, sent to a camp where girls who’ve reached puberty are taught how to please men sexually. Banda shares how her sister’s struggle encouraged her to organize members of her community to push for a law protecting young girls from forced marriage.