On Thursday, December 6, Feminist Oasis joined the Portsmouth community for TEDxPortsmouthWomen 2018: Showing Up as a Co-Presenting Partner alongside 3S Artspace. As a feminist business that organizes to cultivate feminist community and explore feminist values in action, we made a conscious decision to present a TEDxWomen event because we believe in the mission of TEDWomen to: “celebrate how these dynamic and diverse people are showing up to face challenges head on, all while empowering each other to shape the future we all want to see.” The event was inspiring, thought-provoking and we were honored to be part of this important work.


What is TEDx?

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.


What is TEDxWomen?

TEDWomen is a three-day conference about the power of women and girls to be creators and change-makers. At TEDxWomen, a selection of TEDWomen videos and live speakers combine to create a unique experience that can only be had at self-organized TEDx events.


What did we see together during TEDxPortsmouthWomen 2018: Showing Up?

Our hosts Shema Rubdi and Nancy Pearson brought the sessions into local context with extensive knowledge and experience, as well as a healthy dose of fun and humor.


Shema Rubdi is an aspiring filmmaker and cinematographer. She is a graduate from the University of New Hampshire where she cultivated a love for movies, a passion for feminism and social justice and an enthusiasm for independent/DIY art. With a craving to celebrate diversity in her work, Shema strives to make authentic stories be shown, be heard and be seen all around the world. Also, she wants you to know she pronounces her name like Sh+emma Roob-dee and she is from Milford, New Hampshire.


Nancy Pearson has nearly 20 years of nonprofit management experience working for organizations such as The University of New Hampshire, New Hampshire Public Television and the Center for Women & Enterprise. She brings expertise in relationship management and program delivery to her role as Director of the Center for Women & Enterprise. Nancy holds a master’s in Public Administration from the University of New Hampshire, and is serving her second term as an elected official as a city council member in Portsmouth, NH.


The speakers we heard from:

  • Zoologist Lucy Cooke not only shared fascinating facts about sloths, but made distinct connections between the way sloths live and the faults of human species. What if we lived more like sloths? What would it mean for humans to slow down and reduce waste? Read more on Cooke’s talk here.
  • Museum curator Ariana Curtis inspired us to consider what women we see as heros, which women’s stories we lift up and what women’s lives we aspire to replicate, not to continue celebrating the lives of extraordinary women, but to consider the lives of the ordinary women whose stories go untold. Learn more about Curtis’ talk here.
  • Paula Stone Williams and her son Jonathan Williams discussed the meaning of redemption through a deeply personal and intimate conversation about their familial relationship and religious beliefs — a journey of discovery centered around Paula’s gender affirmation transition. You can read more about this talk here.
  • Huntington, West Virginia, fire chief Jan Rader explained that compassion and education are key elements to tackling the opioid crisis. Not only did Rader develop empathy-based programs for post-overdose individuals, but she also established self-care programming for first-responders! Learn more about how empathy can positively change the opioid epidemic here.
  • Stacey Abrams caught the attention of citizens across the US in her campaign for the governorship of Georgia during the 2018 midterms. While Abrams didn’t win the election, she has mobilized large numbers of politicians and volunteers to fight for improved voter rights to ensure that our electoral process, from Georgia to all across the US, is true, honest and fair. Learn more about what Abrams is up to now and what she’s looking forward to in the future here.
  • Tarana Burke discussed the beginnings of, current happenings around and what she hopes for the future of the #MeToo movement. Read more about Burke’s powerful talk here.
  • Activist Ai-Jen Poo called our attention to the often invisible lives led by domestic workers, despite the importance of their work and the way many of us rely on their time, care, and skills. Watch her talk here to learn more about how Poo is fighting for domestic workers’ rights.
  • Civil rights activist and community organizer Dolores Huerta discussed the necessity and power of women and feminists organizing for change. Read more about the power she believes lives in each of us here. PS Does Huerta’s name look familiar? That’s because we named one of our membership levels after this revolutionary!
  • Ashweetha Shetty is an education advocate who is working to bridge the rural/urban divide in India. In her talk, she discussed societal assumptions, her path to graduating college, and how she now empowers girls living in rural India to pursue their passions. Read more about Shetty’s talk here.
  • Author and environmentalist Katherine Wilkinson taught us the significant connection between gender equality and climate change improvement. Learn more about the three areas she specifically cites as ways to improve climate change here.
  • Child advocate Marian Wright Edelman spoke about her upbringing in the segregated American south and her path to finding the Children’s Defense Fund, and took a moment to consider our current and future work in children’s advocacy. Read more about her talk here.

Talks available online now*:

*We’ll update as we see more of these talks published on TED.com. Many are not going to be live for weeks or months — the exciting part about attending a TEDxWomen event is getting to see these talks (normally only seen by those who can make it to TEDWomen live in Palm Springs) before they’re shared publicly!