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 history books. What they said was seldom valued, recorded, or remembered.
Take a look at this infographic to see how the history of public speech and oratory has ignored and forgotten about women’s speech.
It’s time to change that. Because it wasn’t just “great men” who gave great speeches in history.
We’re celebrating historic speeches by women of different ethnicities, nationalities, and beliefs. We’re recovering the speeches the textbooks and anthologies forgot and making them accessible to everyone. We’re showing the evolution of women’s thought and expression — women in dialogue with one another and the history of ideas.
We’re rewriting the story of oratory, and we invite you to take part.
We want every woman and girl to see what a powerful female speaker looks like, 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: a continuum of women through the ages, speaking in their own voice. Presenting their point of view. Sharing their expertise. Showing us the world through their eyes.
We’re challenging the assumption that men make the best speakers. We’re shining a spotlight on overlooked women. We’re busting the myth of women’s silence.
Because women’s words matter.