December 8, 2010

Woman Making the World Better

This week, TED put together a collection of their talks revolving around women's roles in the world.  I love the idea of TED - some of the smartest, most compassionate people spreading their message in 20 minute videos.  My mind is on somewhat of a rampage these days as it tries to figure out its purpose in the hopes that the final result will be meaningful to something bigger than myself. Below are some of my favorite talks, given by passionate women who are making the world a better place.

Sheryl WuDunn, co-author of Half the Sky (with husband Nicholas Kristof), takes about how half the world's women are missing due to discrimination in many cultures. She cites examples of how several women have overcome the prejudice of their society to see success and happiness. She also points out the importance of giving to something bigger than yourself - the responsibility to think in a global context.

Emily Pilloton is a graphic designer who founded Project H Design, a nonprofit design firm that helps people who might not normally have access to design services. Since becoming more involved in the design world, through blogging, I have often wondered how to mesh the beauty of a design technique with a humanitarian cause. Emily has done just this in the North Carolina. In impoverished, fading Bertie County, Emily and her partner Matt incorporated design elements into languishing schools, which has produced happier, more successful students. They have also worked with the county to design a message and look that will engage the community more and hopefully boost productivity and development in the area. She's doing good work and seeing the benefits as the result of her labors. An intriguing case study for the creative, compassionate soul.

Kavita Ramdas of The Global Fund for Women talks about providing aid to women, while also keeping in mind the traditions of their culture. This is crucial to any aid or humanitarian intervention. Paul Farmer knows this. James Orbinski (author of An Imperfect Offering - such a good read about humanitarian intervention) understands. And yet, so many aid organizations offer without any consideration of the cultural context. Ramdas does a good job of touching on this and sharing some poignant stories.

And then there's Jane Goodall. The woman was a secretary in England who was always passionate about chimpanzees. So, on the advice of a friend, she telephoned the Kenyon paleontologist Louis Leakey to set up an appointment to discuss his research.  Leakey was planning to study chimpanzees and great apes so he hired Jane as a secretary and later sent her to Tanzania. The rest is history. Jane is just charming in this video - intelligent, humble, and informative. A must-watch.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! AND your blog :)

    thanks for introducing me to TED I was wondering what it was all about.



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