Lavin’s Top Gender Speakers Are Pushing Us Forward, Towards True Equality
Susan Fowler is the former Uber engineer whose blog post ignited a worldwide conversation on the #MeToo movement. Named a Person of the Year by TIME, her bravery to stand up and speak out caused a massive shift in company culture—not just at Uber, but around the world. Her hotly anticipated memoir, Whistleblower, just hit shelves, and it offers a fascinating, frustrating insider’s look at the realities of sexual harassment at work—as well as the difficult consequences that followed after she took a stand. In her uplifting talks, she shows how regular people can spark positive social change on a global scale.
Kimberley Motley is an absolute powerhouse in the world of international human rights law—there’s even an award-winning feature documentary about her work, Motley’s Law. Taking on high-profile, heartbreaking cases such as that of a six-year-old child bride, or a teenage girl sold into slavery over an app, Motley fights to hold complex legal systems accountable to all citizens; and overturning sentences for people subjected to appalling miscarriages of justice in the process. A registered attorney for more than 20 embassies, she was also the first foreign litigator working in Afghanistan. Around the world, Motley empowers women to access the human rights owed to them; countering corruption and tradition by expertly navigating the justice system with hard facts and human rights on her side.
Soraya Chemaly is an award-winning journalist, media critic, and the co-founder and director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project. Her book, Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger explores the socially constructed, repressed relationship between women and their anger, offering a comprehensive look at how identity and emotional expression affect men and women’s personal, professional, and political lives. All you have to do is look at the coverage of the Democratic debates to see these gender-based differences in action. Chemaly’s empowering and incredibly practical talks draw on the multiple successful campaigns she’s spearheaded, and challenge corporations to address inclusivity, harassment, and algorithmic bias: providing clear takeaways on how to turn talk into action.
Ashton Applewhite asks a simple, yet powerful question: what if discrimination on the basis of age were as unacceptable as any other kind of prejudice? The author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, Applewhite is a leader in the emerging movement dedicated to dismantling ageism, and rethinking our ideas of inclusivity to include age as a marker of diversity. It’s no secret that ageism disproportionately affects women—indeed there’s an entire industry built around convincing women they need to look younger, that youth equals beauty, and your value as a person is reflected in the way you look. In her powerful, heartfelt, and often hilarious keynotes, the TED mainstage speaker reveals the untapped, positive possibilities of late life for women—in our communities, at work, and in our very self-concept.
Mira Nair is an internationally acclaimed, award-winning filmmaker who uses her natural grasp of identity conflict to make films that explore gender, inter-generational strife, race, and more. Raised in India and schooled at Harvard, her latest film, Queen of Katwe, film centers on ten-year-old Ugandan chess prodigy Phiona Mutesi and her unlikely rise to fame. Her upcoming project, A Suitable Boy, is six-part series adaptation of Vikram Seth's popular novel. It follows the story of 19-year-old university student Lata, who refuses to be influenced by her controlling mother or opinionated brother, and the choice she is forced to make between her three suitors. As a speaker, Nair poignantly captures both the tug of competing worlds felt by millions of immigrants, and the pull of gender roles and expectations at play within those dynamics.
Vanessa Grigoriadis is an award-winning investigate journalist and the author of Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus. Presenting her groundbreaking research into college assault patterns, she raises—and responds to—key questions about power, consent, and assault in the age of the #MeToo movement. Grigoriadis maps out strategies to create safer, happier college experiences—not just for students, but also for those who guide them in those crucial years. She offers sensitive and objective accounts of how this new sexual revolution can bring about concrete, widespread social change: from changing frat culture and the way dorm rooms are designed, to navigating the Title IX federal civil rights law—Grigoriadis speaks to all of it.
Margot Lee Shetterly wrote Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race—the #1 NYT bestseller that inspired a #1 movie in America. She tells the incredible true story of the black women mathematicians at NASA who helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. Shetterly is also a researcher and entrepreneur, as well as the founder of the Human Computer Project. It’s a digital archive telling the stories all of NASA’s “Human Computers,” women from all backgrounds whose work tipped the balance in favor of the United States in WWII, the Cold War, and the Space Race. With a wealth of knowledge on remarkable women in history, Shetterly places their accomplishments and legacies firmly in the context of modern American society: where we’ve been, where we stand today—and where we’re going.
Sue Gardner is the Executive Director of The Markup, a non-profit news organization and website that “illuminates how powerful institutions are using technology in ways that impact people and society.” Also the former Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation, she has intricate knowledge of exactly how information translates to power—and how that power isn’t equitably distributed. A female leader in a predominately male field, Gardner was ranked by Forbes as one of the most powerful women. She speaks to the future of the internet and the future of leadership, and shares how women are taking control of both—steering them towards greater equality, and towards better representing our democratic ideas.
Kate Bolick’s sensational Atlantic story, “All the Single Ladies” generated so much buzz it landed her a book deal—and marked only the third time in the magazine’s then 153-year history that a female author had appeared on the cover. Now the author of Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, Bolick offers a fascinating look at the modern socioeconomic impacts of women marrying later—and less—and what it means for us as a society. Called “one of the most important works of feminist cultural history of the last 20 years” by the National Post, Spinster offers a clear vision for all women, not just those who wish to remain unmarried: know your heart, find space for your dreams, and disregard the dominant views of how you “should” live. Relatable, lively, and armed with a Master’s in cultural criticism from NYU, Bolick’s deeply researched ideas are a refreshing antidote to stuffy, sexist old school views on how women can lead full, fulfilling lives.