credits: Gage Skidmore
Speaking While Female is a new initiative that showcases women speakers across time and around the world, from antiquity to the present. Historically women have not been silent, but their words have scarcely been noted in the record of public speaking. What they said was seldom respected, recorded, or remembered.
It’s time to change that.
We’re celebrating historic and contemporary speeches by women of different ethnicities, nationalities, and beliefs. We’re recovering the voices history forgot and making them accessible to younger generations. We’re protecting the legacy of women who’ve stepped up to advance their vision and advocate for change. We’re opening up a discussion about the role of women’s public speech in history — and we invite you to take part.
We want every girl and woman to see what a powerful female speaker looks like — to read her words and hear what she sounds like. That’s why we’re featuring transcripts, video, and in some cases just recorded sound.
Ida B. Wells on lynching. Rose Schneiderman on the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire. Mary Robinson on human rights. Margaret Thatcher’s “Iron Lady” speech. Oprah at the Golden Globes. They’re all here, and thousands more: a continuum of women speaking through the ages. Expressing a wide range of perspectives. Presenting their point of view. Showing us the world through their eyes.
We’re busting the myth of women’s silence. We’re shining a spotlight on women’s speech.
Because women’s words matter.