We are on our way back from TEDWomen2018, still under the spell of 3 days packed with stories and big ideas shared by inspiring women and men, surrounded by Palm Spring mountains and desert. This was our second time attending TEDWomen, and this year we were with Cathy, one of our friends of ellpha.  

Like last year, we wanted to share highlights with you. We hope you will have a little time to watch some of the talks we enjoyed the most. Those are not published yet for the most part but they will be in the next few weeks, just stay tuned on www.ted.com, and keep an eye on the below amazing speakers.

Ellpha TED highlights

This year, TEDWomen18 big theme was ‘Showing Up’. Here are the 3 biggest and boldest topics and related talks which inspired us the most.

1-Women play a big role in addressing world’s big issues, from global warming, to dementia and drug addiction

-Katherine Wilkinson, writer and environmentalist and part of project Drawdown, made the case that gender equality can (and will!) help solve global warming. Find her talk here.

-Kotchakorn Voraakhom, architect, worries about our sinking cities and designs beautiful urban landscapes to address climate change, taming flood and water level increasing in Bangkok. Find her talk here.

-Yvonne Van Amerongen, biologist, founded Hogewey Dementia Village, and is transforming the aging experience for people with dementia, giving them a good life.Talk is not yet published as of 16/2/2019, just stay tuned on www.ted.com as it will be in the next few weeks.

-Shohini Ghose, Physicist, in a simple ‘light bulb’ moment, discussed the power of uncertainty and the potential of Quantum computing. Find her talk here.

-Jan Rader, humanitarian warrior and Fire Chief in Virginia, is combatting Opioid addiction in the city of Huntington. Find her talk here.

2- It is time to redefine gender and move away from a simplistic binary definition of gender

-Emily Quinn, intersex activist, argues that we cannot put people in a box based on their genitalias and that there is much variety in biological sex than basic male and female. Find her talk here.

-Karissa Sanbonmatsu- structural biologist who studies DNA– is on a deeply personal quest to understand what is the make-up of gender in our genes and suggests that biological sex and brain might develop separately in the womb. Find her talk here.

-Paula Stone Williams and her son Jonathan Williams, in a story of redemption, shared the complex story of Paula’s transition from male to female. Find their talk here.

3- Education & leadership transforms lives of women and men and creates freedom

-Kakenya Ntaiya’s dream created a school and opportunities for Maasai girls, her local village. She is transforming the mindset of her community and teaching girls and boys about gender equality and human rights. Find her talk here.

-Ariana Curtis, curator of the Smithsonian Latino center, is changing the narrative of women in history to embrace the remarkable and the quotidian of all women. Find her talk here.

-Shad Begum, is working on strengthening women’s leadership in Pakistan and getting them to increase their representation in local government. Find her talk here.

Special TED moments

Our time at TEDWomen18 were punctuated by dazzling performances of women, like poetry and song with Climbing PoetTree and percussions with Simona Abdallah. Do check them out.

Beyond the big issues discussed, the two below talks lifted our spirits:

-Sustainability lessons from the sloth, by zoologist Lucy Cooke, a fun talk on this strange and misunderstood animal.

-Explorations on colour, race and space, by artist Amanda Williams who redefines her own colour palette into her Chicago neighborhood.

Why those talks & recommendations?

Because they moved us deeply, blew our mind in some cases, and generated new thoughts and ideas. This is of course just our very personal curated list out of 40+ fabulous talks which all deserve to be seen at some point. Watch them and let’s discuss!

Ellpha take-ways on the gender gap

At the heart of TEDWomen, increasing women’s participation across politics, the economy and the civil life is more than ever a burning platform, resonant with ellpha’s big vision.

During TED, the BCG hosted a workshop on diversity in the workplace and acknowledged that progress is far too slow, whilst data continues to pile up to confirm business benefits of increasing gender diversity in the enterprise (see refreshed BCG data points here). BCG also shared some interesting new research around the challenge of dual careers, as well as highlighted trends in the EU, where increasing diversity is becoming a compliance issue.

It is clear that, in the enterprise, in the US and beyond, increasing gender diversity is still a problem in search of a clear a solution. It is also worth noting that AI and bias risk amplification through AI – one of the topic ellpha has researched extensively and cares about - was present in some of the TED conversations and in one of the talks but, in our view, addressed too superficially.

Following this trip, and a number of key meetings with various stakeholders in San Francisco and at TED, we are comforted in the potential of ellpha, as we continue to work on developing solutions to make bias visible. 

We have made some great connections including potential partners, funders, friends and supporters of our ellpha journey.  

Stay tuned for more information on some of the exciting next steps ahead of us.


Brigitte & Stéphanie


PJ: The proof we indeed did ‘Show Up’ at TEDWomen18