International Women’s Day : 5 Powerful Speeches by Powerful Women

March 5, 2015

In honor of International Women’s Day, here are 5 women who deliver strong speeches – watch and be inspired

 Right before winning an Academy Award for her first ever performance in the film “12 Years a Slave”, Nyong’o was awarded the Best Breakthrough Performance at the seventh annual Black Women in Hollywood Luncheon. There, she delivered an inspirational acceptance speech about black beauty.

Lupita starts off by reading a letter she received from a young girl, using those crucial first minutes to capture audience attention using an attention booster. She then goes on to talk about the subject of her speech – beauty – without forgetting to insert comic reliefs, smile, make eye contact and change her intonation to accentuate the most important parts of her message.


Lupitas video on youtube




“My complexion had always been an obstacle to overcome and all of a sudden, Oprah was telling me it wasn’t. It was perplexing and I wanted to reject it because I had begun to enjoy the seduction of inadequacy. But a flower couldn’t help but bloom inside of me”.




a research professor at the University of Houston, has spent the past decade studying vulnerability, courage and worthiness. In one of the most viewed TED Talks ever, she speaks of the power of vulnerability. She opens by mentioning someone telling her: “The thing I like about your talk is you’re a storyteller”, and indeed, she then goes on to present her research just like a story.

Brown divides her speech into sections by titles, and pauses when each title is presented, giving the audience time to process it. She also uses a lot of humor in her speech, and her delivery style includes an extensive use of hand gestures and eye contact.

“The only people who don’t experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection … we all know that feeling: “I’m not blank enough. I’m not thin enough, rich enough, beautiful enough, smart enough, promoted enough.” The thing that underpinned this was excruciating vulnerability, this idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.”

Brene's video




Maya Angelou


A renowned poet, novelist and actress, Angelou was known not only for her writing skills, but for her powerful orations. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost in 1961. A master of the written word, she had her own unique style of delivering her messages when speaking, using her tone and diction to emphasize each word while keeping a steady rhythm fitting of her literary works.

Maya's video




“The Rock cries out to us today, / You may stand upon me, / But do not hide your face.”


Hilary Clinton


Former U.S. Secretary Hilary Clinton was the headline prime-time speaker in the 2008 Democratic National Convention, back when she was a New York State Senator. In a speech supporting Barack Obama, who was then the Democratic candidate for presidency, Clinton succeeded in doing what most speakers struggle with: delivering one clear message – the Democratic Party is a team, fighting together for the future of America.

Clinton begins by saying how honored and proud she is to be there – and her body language follows. By standing upright, looking around the room and talking with a smile, she transmits confidence and pride. As she turns to each segment of the room, she captures the full attention of the audience, who cheer and applaud her all throughout the speech.

“That is our duty, to build that bright future, and to teach our children that in America there is no chasm too deep, no barrier too great – and no ceiling too high – for all who work hard, never back down, always keep going.“

Hilayr's video




Malala Yousafzai


Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for human rights, became the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate in 2014, when she was just 17 years old. An advocate of female education in her native Swat Valley, she was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman simply for getting on the school bus. Since the incident, which sparked widespread interest and support, Yousafzi’s advocacy for children’s right for education has grown into an international movement.

In her Nobel acceptance speech, she uses the storytelling technique when sharing her own experience, representing the voices of many. She is determined and straightforward in her body language and tone of voice as she conveys a message of courage, defiance and hope for girls all around the world.

“This award is not just for me. It is for those forgotten children who want education. It is for those frightened children who want peace. It is for those voiceless children who want change. I am here to stand up for their rights, to raise their voice.”


Malala's video




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