17 Women Rocked Stage @TED2012

TED 2012_logoHere’s the astonishingly interesting line-up (in alphabetical order by first name), of amazing women who rocked the stage at TED2012. (There may have been one or two more due to last-minute program changes…)

When they took the TED stage, these 17 women became role models for millions of girls and young women who aspire to one day take the stage and make their voices heard around the world.

(But 17 is not nearly enough. We need more women on stages everywhere!)

The spectrum of women below range from a space archeologist to a military defense strategist, and everything else in between. Each one on the list is linked to a longer article, most of which include video clips. Enjoy!

Abigail WashburnAbigail Washburn (born November 10, 1979 in Evanston, IllinoisUSA) is an American clawhammer banjo player and singer.

She performs and records as a soloist, as well as with the old-time bands Uncle Earl and Sparrow Quartet.

Washburn was born in Evanston, Illinois and spent her elementary and part of her junior high school years in a suburb of Washington, D.C.More here.



Aineesa RamirezMaterials scientist Ainissa Ramirez lives for figuring out new ways to control metals and shape them into materials that can be put to practical use — for instance, in the ever-shrinking smart phones.

Her research on shape memory alloys — so-called “smart materials” — and on a solder that can be manipulated into place with a magnetic field has kept her busy during her time in Yale’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. More here.


angie millerAngie Miller is the 2011 New Hampshire Teacher of the Year. She has spent the past year traveling the nation, speaking and collaborating with K-12 teachers and other educational stakeholders.

Miller has been immersed in middle school education for 11 years, which has deeply affected her spelling and humor. In a typical classroom that Miller runs, students develop their voices to make change. More here.




awele makebaAwele Makeba is a storyteller, teacher, actor, guest lecturer, and more.

Her bio on the TED 2012 Speakers A-Z list  says she is:

“a truth teller, an artist for social change: She researches, writes and performs hidden African American history, folklore, and personal tales. Her audiences grapple with the meaning of their own lives as they make meaning of past lives.” More here.


brene-brown.jpgBrene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work.

Brown studies human connection — our ability to empathize, belong, love. She has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.She is also the author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. More here.



Julie BursteinAs a producer, Julie Burstein builds places to talk (brilliantly) about creative work.

Her book Spark: How Creativity Works, shares what she knows, and  traces the roots of some of the twenty-first century’s most influential and creative thinkers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Yo-Yo Ma, David Milch, Isabel Allende, and Joshua Redman. More here.



karen bassKaren Bass has traveled the world to explore and capture footage from every environment across the earth.

She says: “My ultimate filming experience – filming Bonobos for Pygmy Chimp – The Last Great Ape, in the depths of the Congo rainforest. When you look into their eyes you know instinctively that they are our closest living relatives. The real privilege was to get to know them and their individual personalities. More here.



Kate messnerKate Messner is an award-winning author whose books for kids have been New York Times Notable, Junior Library Guild, IndieBound, and Bank Street College of Education Best Books selections.

She believes in nature, art, magic, lake monsters, science, and the power of literacy to change the world. Messner’s book The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. was the winner of the 2010 E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers. More here.



leymah-gbowee.jpgLeymah Roberta Gbowee is the executive director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa, based in Accra, Ghana.

She is a founding member and former coordinator of the Women in Peacebuilding Program/West African Network for Peacebuilding (WIPNET/WANEP).

Gbowee is one of a trio of women to have jointly been awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace PrizeMore here.


sarah parcakSarah Parcak is an American archaeologist and Egyptologist, who uses satellite imaging to identify archaeological sites in Egypt.

Parcak was born in Bangor, Maine, received her Bachelor’s degree in Egyptology and Archaeological Studies from Yale University in 2001, and her Ph.D. from Cambridge University. Parcak is also a TED Fellow. More here.



sharon bealsSharon Beals is a San Fransisco-based photographer. In between her professional assignments she works on projects close to her heart, making images that  invite curiosity and action on the part of the viewer.

Her awareness of the challenges affecting the survival of so many species of birds inspired her to use nests to seduce even those who had never picked up a pair of binoculars into sharing her concern. More here.



Sherry TurkleSherry Zimmerman Turkle is a Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Having obtained her undergraduate degree of BA of Social Studies and later her Ph.D. in Sociology and Personality Psychology at Harvard University, she now focuses her research on psychoanalysis and human-technology interaction. More here.



suja lowenthalDr. Suja Lowenthal was elected to represent the Second District in a special election held on June 6, 2006.  She ran unopposed and was re-elected to a four-year term in June 2008 and was elected Vice Mayor by her Council colleagues in 2010.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from UCLA, a Master’s in Business Administration from California State University, Los Angeles and a Doctorate in Policy, Planning and Development from USC. More here.



SusanCainSusan Cain is the author of: “QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Before Cain became a writer, she practiced corporate law for seven years, representing clients like JP Morgan and General Electric, and then worked as a negotiations consultant, training everyone from hedge fund managers  to college students negotiating their first salaries. More here.



tali sharotTali Sharot received her Ph.D in psychology and neuroscience from New York University and has a B.A in economics and psychology.

She is a faculty member of the Department of Cognitive, Perceptual, and Brain Sciences at University College London and a Wellcome Trust Fellow. Her scholarly research focuses on how emotion, motivation and social factors influence our expectations, decisions and memories. More here.



Rebecca GoldsteinRebecca Goldstein (born February 23, 1950) is an American novelist and professor of philosophy.

She has written five novels, a number of short stories and essays, and biographical studies of mathematician Kurt Gödel and philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Goldstein, born Rebecca Newberger, grew up in White Plains, New York, and did her undergraduate work at Barnard CollegeMore here.




darpa-director-regina-dugan-0910-medRegina E. Dugan is the 19th Director of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). She was appointed to that position on July 20, 2009. She is the first female director of DARPA.

She directed a portfolio of DARPA programs including the Dog’s Nose program, which focused on the development of an advanced, field-portable system for detecting the explosive content of land mines. More here.