With its flagship event done and dusted, next week will see TEDxCanberra Women 2023 hit town.
As with all TEDx events, the pursuit is “ideas worth spreading”. However, this event acknowledges a demographic with plenty of ideas but perhaps fewer opportunities to spread them.
“Celebrities, people who have radio talk shows or publish books don’t need TEDx to help spread their ideas. But plenty of people who aren’t usually public speakers, who might be shy or who don’t have platforms of their own still have ideas worth spreading. TEDx is here for those people,” lead curator Kristin Boag said.
“TEDxCanberra Women is an extension of that.”
The event is usually a hybrid of live talks and screenings of existing talks – and it’s not a strict requirement for speakers to be female.
“Yes, we want to offer more platforms for women to spread ideas worth spreading, but it’s also about sharing ideas about issues that women find important,” Ms Boag said.
“The talks should absolutely be of interest to everyone, but the focus is either topics that are perhaps of greater interest or relevance to women, or to celebrate women with incredible ideas.”
The line-up may feature “taboo” or topical subjects, or talks from women at TEDxCanberra events that have gone viral around the world. These include Sober in the country in which Shanna Whan discussed casual alcoholism in rural and remote communities, and Unmasking the abuser by Dina McMillan, which shone a light on coercive controlling behaviours and the importance of teaching children what it looks like.
One line-up included a screening of Thea O’Connor’s popular talk titled What killer whales can teach us about menopause.
“Can everyone hear me ok? And also, can everyone see me including up the back there? You can? Oh that’s so good, because I’m 56 and in the business world, which is what I’m going to be talking about today, women of my age can struggle to be seen and heard,” the talk begins.
“There is some good news though and that is that the ‘invisible older women’… She’s not a universal phenomenon. And in fact, there is a community that really values older females; our wisdom, our experience and our leadership. And when they have a choice between an older female or a male to lead, especially during stressful times, they would choose the older female every single time.”
Talks from minorities are also highly valued, such as Khadija Gbla’s talk My mother’s strange definition of empowerment, revealing her experience of female genital mutilation. Her talk at a TEDxCanberra event has racked up more than 1.35 million views on YouTube.
“TED’s about spreading good ideas – that’s really the only requisite. The idea has to be good. For TEDxCanberra Women we curate further by asking what that idea does to inspire women or changes their lives or their perspective on something,” Ms Boag said.
“TED is not a conference for experts – it’s for all people who want to get exposed to a wide range of ideas they may not have had exposure to before. It’s about creating change for the better.
“The women’s event is about the power of women to inspire, to be creators and changemakers, and takes into account that the playing field is not always level.”
TEDxCanberra Women is at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia on Tuesday 5 December from 5:30 pm to 7:45 pm. Tickets cost $18 to $25 and can be purchased here.