Keeping with its stated theme of "Reshaping the Future," TEDWomen highlighted women and girls worldwide as "powerful innovators and architects of change."
It featured over 50 speakers, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams, playwright Eve Ensler, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, media mogul Ted Turner, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, our very own Arianna Huffington -- and a surprise appearance by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
We were at the conference and blogged live throughout the two-day event, offering minute-by-minute coverage of the speakers, sessions and activities. Read our updates below.
For background, also read HuffPost Tech editor Bianca Bosker's interview with TEDWomen co-host Pat Mitchell, the president and CEO of the Paley Center for Media.
12/08/2010 8:21 PM EST
Eve Ensler Concludes TEDWOmen
She talks about how she thought of herself as a head, not a body, which led her to writing the Vagina Monologues. When listening to other women's stories there was always a moment when they left their bodies. At 40, she hated her stomach and life became about getting rid of it. The more she spoke about it the more objectified the various parts of her body felt. She visited the Congo, the women had holes in their bodies, fistula, holes in their souls. Found out she had cancer. Suddenly she had a body. That was cut, pricked, punctured, and organs that was scanned and had tubes shoved down it. Cancer exploded the wall of her disconnection. The crisis in her body was the crisis in the world and it was happening now."If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world." - Philip Shepherd
Now she loves the dirt on her legs, and runs in circles in the rain.
12/08/2010 8:10 PM EST
Caroline Casey: The Importance Of Disability-Awareness
Starts by asking audience, do you remember what you wanted to be at 17? When she was 17 she wanted to be a biker chick, race cars, be a cowgirl and be Mowgli from The Jungle Book, because they were all about being free.
On her 17th birthday, her parents gave her one driving lesson. And, on her 17th birthday she accompanied her little sister to go see an eye specialist she thought because that's what "big sisters do." So she got her eyes "tested for fun." The eye specialist noticed it was her birthday. When he asked her what she was doing for her birthday, she told him, "I am going to learn how to drive." There was an awful silence and he turned to her mother and said, "she doesn't know." On her 17th birthday, she found out she was legally blind.
At 3 1/2 years old, Casey's parents made a bizarre decision not to send her to a special needs schools, not to use labels, and not to place limitations on her in any way. They decided to tell Casey that she could see. Her father taught her how to sail and taught her to believe and feel the wind in her face. For next 11 years she didn't want anyone to know she couldn't see. It's extraordinary how far belief can take you, she says. Her eyes decided "enough" and dropped. She found herself in front of an HR manager at 28 years old and simply said, "I am sorry, I can't see and I need help." She was urged that "it's time" to start being herself. So she decided she would be Mowgli and be an elephant handler -- and they tracked 1,000 kilometers across India and raised enough money through that for 6,000 cataract services.
Cars, elephants and bikes aren't about freedom, Casey says. Being yourself is being free -- she just needed vision and belief in herself.
She urges us to stop with labels."Disability is like the elephant in the room." -Caroline Casey
12/08/2010 7:34 PM EST
Stephen Lewis: The Last Man To Present At TEDWomen
Curiously presenting without any visuals (not good for my type of learning style) -- I found this on TEDWomen's site: Lewis advocates for the victims of Africa's HIV/AIDS pandemic. He believes that gender lies at the heart of the problem—and the solution.
Ah, so that's what he's talking about..
12/08/2010 7:24 PM EST
Sally Osberg: True Stories of Women Changing The World
Sally is President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation -- she said at age of 10 she gave up reading fairytales and picked up biographies of women like Jane Addams, Florence Nightingale and Eleanor Roosevelt. Didn't think of them as social entrepreneurs, but they were. They weren't terribly beautiful, but they were smart, competent and courageous.
Today she works with Jeff Skoll, a man who believes in the power of stories, what we care about and what we care to do with what we care about. Now, Osberg doesn't have to look to history for these stories of amazing women. Women like Cecilia Flores Oebanda who has made human trafficking everyone's problem and so she's made it everyone's solution. Today, ports in the Philippines that were once safe areas for trafficking are now havens of hope for victims.
Ann Cotton -- found herself in Zimbabwe and now provides educational opportunities for girls in Subsahran Africa.
An educated girl: earns up to 25 percent more is likely and is three times less likely to become HIV positive.
For women social entrepreneurs it's not about how big you are or your budget, it's how big a difference you can make. It's not about being dominant in any space or place but how you cross boundaries and build connections. It's not about how powerful you are, but how you empower others, Osberg says."Heroism is a matter of integrity... becoming more and more at each step, ourselves." -Joseph Campbell
12/08/2010 7:07 PM EST
Johanna Blakley: Social Media And The End Of Gender
People don't aggregate around demographics, they aggregate over taste. Women outnumber men in use of social networking categories and spend more time in social media space. If social media is dominating old media, and women are dominating new media, does that mean women will take over global media? She doesn't think this will happen, but women will be responsible for driving a stake through the heart of genres like the "Chick Flick," which assumes media success based on gender and instead will create and demand media based on info aggregated from taste communities online.
12/08/2010 6:43 PM EST
Sejal Hathi: Girls Helping Girls
Please read about this phenomenal woman.
12/08/2010 6:38 PM EST
Donna Karan Talks Death on TEDWomen Stage
Donna's father died when she was 3. Anne Klein died when Donna was 25 and then became the face of Anne Klein. After running Anne Klein, she wanted to design clothes for herself and friends and then her daughter (DKNY). She originally thought it would be tiny company, but it grew into her empire. Birth and death has always been a part of Donna's life. She used to go to the beach and would talk to a rock that looked like it had eyes and she'd ask the rock, "Where are you finding your peace in this amazing world we live in?" One day the rock disappeared. Donna viewed this as a loss. When her mother passed away, Donna needed to run a show. When her husband Stephan got sick - he was the love of her life. Donna was always searching - would juice and do yoga. When Stephan died his doctor told Donna, "whatever you do you must take care of the nurses." So she had a vision - where do we fine the calm in the chaos? Urban Zen. She says she needed to address people, not just dress them. Thus the Urban Zen Foundation was born in Stephan's studio and another birth that came out of a death.
12/08/2010 6:14 PM EST
Roshi Joan Halifax on Compassion
Compassion enhances immune system, allows us to be more resilient. If it's so good, why don't we train our health care providers in compassion so that they can really transform suffering? Why don't we vote for people in our governments based on compassion so that we can have a more caring world?
12/08/2010 5:12 PM EST
Aicha El-Wafi and Phyllis Rodriguez: A Moment of Forgiveness
Aicha El-Wafi, the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was convicted of conspiring to kill citizens of the US as part of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Phyllis Rodriguez's son Greg perished in the attack on the World Trade Center.
The two women have since become friends. They see the humanity, the motherhood and the pain in each other.
Aicha El-Wafi lived a difficult life, which she described through tear-filled eyes on the TEDWomen stage. She was married at 14, lost a child at 15 and just couldn't bear it when she heard about Zacarias. She now urges women not to marry young.
12/08/2010 4:43 PM EST
Shirin Neshat: An Iranian Woman Artist Living In Exile
Every Iranian artist is political, she says. You're facing censorship, torture and at times, execution. If you're living in exile like her, you face a deep longing for your home. Iranians are fighting two battles: one to defend their image and another against the Iranian regime -- "our atrocious government," she says, "that has done every crime to stay in power." Culture is a form of resistance. Read more about Shirin Neshat. Soft spoken and fierce.