When they spoke, the world listened – these 5 women inspired millions in 2018


2018 was the year when women found solidarity in sisterhood. They inspired with their fiery speeches, strong words of advice or just by talking about their own experiences.

Women have been empowering and standing up for each other throughout history, in the fight to eradicate patriarchy. Sharing personal stories of facing hardships and encouraging each other to be resilient during such times has been a vital part the women’s movement.

Here are five of the best speeches by women in 2018.

Oprah Winfrey, 75th Golden Globe Awards

Oprah Winfrey

Actress and talk-show host Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement at the 75th Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2018. She thanked the strong people in her life and spoke about the #MeToo movement in her acceptance speech.


Read also: Women who played pivotal roles in the MeToo movement

“It's not just a story affecting the entertainment industry. It's one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace. So I want, tonight, to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They're the women whose names we'll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they're in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They're part of the world of tech and politics and business. They're our athletes in the Olympics and they're our soldiers in the military.

So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'Me too' again."

Read the full transcript here.

Natalie Portman, Women's March

Natalie Portman

Actress Natalie Portman shared her experiences with sexual harassment as a child, when she first started acting, and encouraged everyone to confidently stand up for themselves and those around them, at the Women’s March on January 20, 2018.


"A world in which I could wear whatever I want, say whatever I want, and express a desire however I want - without fearing for my physical safety or reputation - that would be the world in which female desire and sexuality could have its greatest expression and fulfilment. That world we want to build is the opposite of puritanical.

So I’d like to propose one way to continue moving this revolution forward. Let’s declare loud and clear: This what I want. This is what I need. This is what I desire. This is how you can help me achieve pleasure. To people of all genders here with us today, let’s find a space where we mutually, consensually look out for each other’s pleasure and allow the vast, limitless range of desire to be expressed. Let’s make a revolution of desire."

Read the full transcript here.

 Yara Shahidi, 25th ELLE Women in Hollywood

Yara Shahidi

Eighteen-year-old Yara Shahidi was honoured at ELLE's 25th Women in Hollywood Celebration on October 15, 2018. The young actress and activist spoke about the larger picture of fighting for equity and the importance of being truly human.


"While we are fighting for equity, an equity that I've greatly benefited from and equity in which I am able to dream even bigger than I could've even imagined, we also fight for an equity amalgamation. Of being able to wake up and where—many people have had to choose which identity we fight for — saying we're going to fight for you as a whole human. You're no longer going to have to wake up and choose between the discrimination of being a woman, or a woman of colour, or an immigrant, or of the LGBTQ community, of the Labor Rights Movement. No matter what movement you decide to associate with, we are going to fight for you as a full human. Because you should be allowed the space to enter as a full, whole person. Because who are we if not each other?"

Read the full transcript here.

Deepika Padukone, TIME 100 Gala

Deepika Padukone

Actress and TIME 100 honoree Deepika Padukone, addressed her mental health and gave others hope, at the TIME 100 Gala, on April 24, 2018.


“February 15th, 2014, I remember waking up that morning with a strange pittish feeling in my stomach. I had no idea what I was feeling. Life all of a sudden just felt meaningless and there were days when I just wanted to give up. And a couple of weeks later I was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Four years on I stand here in front of all of you with a slightly better understanding, I think, of life and my feelings and the person that I am, but I feel like more importantly, I think all of you will agree with me when I say that we’re going through some pretty challenging times all around the world.

And so I want to raise a toast to every man and every woman and every child around the world that is faced with some sort of challenge every single day, but you do it with a smile, and I want to say that your power and your strength and your courage encourages me to go on every single day. And for the some of us I think who do think of giving up once in a while, I want you to know that we’re all in this together, and most importantly that there is hope, because in the words of Stephen Fry, ‘We’ll be sunny one day.’ Thank you.”

Lili Reinhart, Glamour 2018 Women of the Year Summit

Lili Reinhart

Actress Lili Reinhart spoke about the adverse effects of unrealistic beauty standards and her struggles with body image, at the Glamour 2018 Women of the Year Summit on November 11, 2018.


"The world is not going to reform tomorrow. We can’t rely on those who profit from our perceived flaws to change their ways. There is no easy fix to the ideas of women that have existed for hundreds of years. So that leaves us with one option, which is changing it ourselves. Showing what’s real with no filter and certainly with no shame.

You are helping the movement of strong, modern women when you show the parts of yourself that we have been forever been told to hide. So as a first step, I encourage you to find a healthy balance between expressing the natural, vulnerable side of yourself with the glamorous, contoured side. As much as I like to share photos from shoots and red carpets, I think it’s much more important to show what I look the other 99 percent of the time."

Read the full transcript here.



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