TED Women 2015: A Man's Eye-View

By WomenAdvancing Archives
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This year's TED Women Conference was my 20th TED and my first TED Women, where I was one of a handful of male attendees.

I participated both as founder of WomenAdvancing and as author of my forthcoming book The Future of Men: Masculinity in the Twenty-First Century. As always, the TED experience was valuable and worthwhile and TED Women, held in TED's original Monterey Conference Center venue, was a throwback to the more intimate and emotionally rewarding TED experience. Curator Pat Mitchell programmed an excellent agenda and TED marketing guru Ronda Carnegie, managing her final TED event, organized a thoroughly enjoyable two days under the leadership of June Cohen and Kelly Stoetzel. While presentations are not yet available at TED.com, several will be eventually. Here are a handful I recommend.

Rana el Kaliouby, an expert on emotional intelligence, tells us that women smile more often than men and their smiles last longer. Younger women are even more expressive. She predicts that our devices will have an "emotion check" and communicate our emotions to others. As chief science officer and co-founder of Affectiva, a MIT Media Lab spin-off, Rana speaks with knowledge and authority. Her emotion analytics team is responsible for developing emotion-sensing algorithms and mining the world's largest emotion data repository. More than 30 Fortune 100 Global companies are currently measuring consumer engagement through emotion-enabled digital apps. Emotion-tech is being applied to humanize how machines communicate with humans and each other. It is also being used to help those with autism. @kaliouby  www.affectiva.com

Christina Mercando, founder and CEO of Ringly, believes technology can be more discreetly and smartly integrated into our lives. At TED Women she demonstrated Ringly's digital fashion-forward jewelry, featuring a ring that vibrates to alert wearers of relevant e-mails, texts, social updates and calendar events. "We will shop for technology the way we shop for clothes," Christina predicts. "We can't just turn a product pink to make it appeal to women."  @jetpea  www.ringly.com 

Margaret Heffernan's best-selling book, Willful Blindness, examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious. She points out that a culture of helpfulness and collaboration in organizations leads to greater success. "What happens between people counts." People who are good at getting and giving help are more likely to succeed, and that depends on people getting to know each other. "We are so focused on individual work that we need to invest time in getting to know each other. We need the water cooler." Companies, she points out, don't have solutions; people do. Social capital gives companies momentum. "Only when we accept that we need everybody to be engaged do we liberate the energy, imagination and momentum we need to create the best." @m_herrnan www.heffernan.com http://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_the_dangers_of_willful_blindness

The driving force behind the @HeforShe campaign, Elizabeth Nyamayarois the Executive Director of UN Women – a solidarity movement for gender equality. @HeforShe has mobilized more than 100,000 men in every country around the globe, rallying men as advocates and change agents in ending the inequalities faced by women and girls globally. Elizabeth points to a "husband school" created in Zimbabwe to help men become better husbands and fathers. "What we share is more powerful than what divides us." @e_nyamayaro www.heforshe.com

Sociologist Michael Kimmel, author of Angry White Men, believes "white men are the beneficiaries of the greatest affirmative action program in the history of the world. It's called 'the history of the world.'" Gender inequality, he suggests, costs companies money. www.michaelkimmel.com

Philadelphia high school principal Linda Cliatt-Wayman should be U.S. Secretary of Education, if not president of the United States. "So what, now what" she exclaims when confronted with individual and organizational success. "If you're going to lead, then LEAD." Her students hear every day from her "If nobody told you they love you today, remember I do and I always will."   www.principalwayman.com

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, in an interview with TED Women curator Pat Mitchell, commented "We are not better than men; we just don't have our masculinity to prove," and they add "female friendship is a renewable energy source." @janefonda www.janefonda.com  www.lilytomlin.com

Here are a selection of additional highly recommended talks from TED Women 2015.

Memory Banda, who at age 18 has played a key role in Malawi's successful national campaign to outlaw child marriage. @memorybanda75

President Jimmy Carter, who acknowledged that the average man enjoys a privileged position and "doesn't give a damn" about women's equality. "We need to start training men to know the potential of women." www.cartercenter.com

Alix Generous was among my favorite presenters, combining an infectiously sensitive presentation style with intriguing content. Alix has Asperger syndrome and at 19 she won first place in a nationwide competition for her work in quorum sensing and coral reefs. When her presentation is posted, watch it. www.alixgenerous.com www.autismsees.com

Nancy Lublin is the founder of Crisis Text Line, CEO of DoSomething.org and the founder of Dress for Success, anything Nancy has to say is worth paying attention to. @nancylublin  @dosomething

Sakena Yacoobitwice talked her way out of arrest and probable death at the hands of Taliban extremists. Sakena has supported 80 underground home schools for 3,000 girls in Afghanistan. She continues to lead training programs, learning centers, schools and clinics for girls and women in Afghanistan and Pakistan. www.aafghaninstituteoflearning.org


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