Now we have more than 160 speeches and counting collected here as The Eloquent Woman Index of Famous Women's Speeches, and the roster includes everyone from Eleanor Roosevelt to Lady Gaga. Every speech here is famous in some way, even if the speaker is not, and most of them include commentary on women's issues. You'll find tips on what you can learn from each of these speeches, along with transcripts, audio or video whenever it's available. The entries are below, arranged alphabetically by the speaker's first name. Before the parade of speeches, you'll also find posts that collect speeches on this list by type of speaker, topic and other slices of the index, to make it more useful to you. I welcome your suggestions for future famous speech examples by women, at eloquentwomanATgmailDOTcom.
Entries by type of speech:
10 famous commencement speeches by women
6 famous extemporaneous speeches by women
A 2014 Women's History Month sampler: 28 women's speeches that are 50 years old or older
Entries by type of speaker:
29 famous speeches by black women
17 famous speeches by British women
4 famous speeches by women athletes
5 famous speeches by women candidates for U.S. president or vice president
12 famous speeches by women on disability
9 famous speeches by women legislators
6 famous speeches by women scientists
5 famous speeches by women who feared public speaking
7 famous speeches by women with vocal verve
8 famous speeches by young women
Entries by topic:
13 famous speeches by women about death and dying
5 famous speeches by women about the environment
7 famous speeches by women about health
13 famous human rights speeches by women
6 famous speeches by women about the law
7 famous speeches by women on religion
6 famous speeches about voting by women speakers
16 famous UK and European speeches by women
10 famous speeches by women about war
8 famous speeches by women about (yes) women speakers
A famous speech by a man. No, we're not making a habit of this:
Robert F. Kennedy on the death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Entries by name of speaker:
- Ai-Jen Poo at the United States Social Forum
- Aimee Semple McPherson's speech in a speakeasy
- Amelia Earhart's "A Woman's Place in Science"
- Anita Hill's Senate testimony about Clarence Thomas
- Anita Sarkeesian on online harrassment
- Ann Richards's 1988 Democratic Convention keynote
- Anna Maria Chávez at 2011 Girl Scouts Convention
- Anne Summers on Julia Gillard's misogyny factor
- Annie Oakley's libel cases and courtroom speeches
- Aung San Suu Kyi's "Freedom from Fear" speech
- Barbara Jordan's Democratic Convention keynote
- Bella Abzug's American Express credit card ad parody
- Benazir Bhutto at the UN Conference on Women
- Betty Ford's 1975 speech to the American Cancer Society
- Betty Friedan's call for a women's strike
- Brené Brown's 2010 TEDx talk on vulnerability
- Carol Bartz's commencement speech, "Embrace failure"
- Carol Bartz's keynote at the 2010 Grace Hopper Celebration
- Carol Burnett's live audience Q&A
- Caroline Criado-Perez on talking back to cyber bullies
- Caroline Kennedy's eulogy for Edward Kennedy
- Chelsea Clinton's "Running in Heels" panel moderation
- Chimamanda Adichie: "We should all be feminists"
- Christine Lagarde on "dynamic resilience"
- Christine Lagarde at the Global Women's Forum
- Clara Barton's Andersonville testimony
- Coretta Scott King's "10 Commandments on Vietnam"
- Debbi Fields on building your small business
- Debi Jackson on her transgender child
- Devon Brooks talks about her sexual assault
- Princess Diana and the ban on landmines
- Diana Nyad at TEDMED on dreams, determination and defeat
- Diane Kelly on what we don't know about penis anatomy
- Dominique Christina's "The Period Poem"
- Dorothy Sayers and the lost tools of learning
- Edwidge Danticat's testimony on death in detention
- Eleanor Roosevelt and the Declaration of Human Rights
- Eleanor Roosevelt's 1940 convention-saving speech
- Elisabeth Murdoch's lecture to the UK television industry
- Elizabeth I's speech to the troops at Tilbury
- Elizabeth II's tribute to Princess Diana
- Elizabeth Glazer's speech on AIDS to the 1992 Democratic National Convention
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: "If your dreams do not scare you..."
- Elyn Saks on her schizophrenia: "Please do send flowers"
- Emmeline Pankhurst's "Freedom or Death"
- Dame Enid Lyon's "Strike a Human Heart" speech
- Essie Washington-Williams: "I feel completely free"
- Evita Peron's 1951 Renunciamiento
- Fannie Lou Hamer's 1964 convention committee testimony
- Frances Perkins on the roots of Social Security
- Francine Wheeler's radio address on gun control reform
- Gabourey Sidibe's 2014 speech at the Gloria Awards
- Gabrielle Giffords's resignation from Congress
- Geraldine Ferraro's 1984 acceptance speech
- Tech pioneer Grace Hopper explains nanoseconds
- Rep. Gwen Moore on abortion rights and family planning
- Heidi Damon faces her attacker in court
- Helen Keller: "Strike Against War" and "I am not dumb now"
- Hillary Clinton's concession speech
- Hillary Clinton's "women's rights are human rights" speech
- Hillary Clinton's 2012 statement on the 9/11 killings of Americans in Libya
- Ida Tarbell's 1916 "Industrial Idealism"
- Ida B. Wells's 1909 "This Awful Slaughter"
- Indira Gandhi's "What Educated Women Can Do"
- Indra Nooyi's "middle finger" speech
- Jackie Kennedy's 1962 televised tour of the White House
- Rep. Jackie Speier on abortion and family planning services
- Jane Fonda's TEDxWomen talk on "Life's Third Act"
- Jane Goodall's "What Separates Us from the Apes"
- Jeane Kirkpatrick's "Blame America First"
- Jennifer Granholm's 2005 tribute to Rosa Parks
- TV anchor Jennifer Livingston on her weight
- Jill Abramson's "to anyone who's been dumped"
- Jill Bolte Taylor's "stroke of insight" TED talk
- Joyce Banda's tribute to Nelson Mandela
- Julia Child's "The French Chef" cooking demos
- Juliette Gordon Low's 1924 Girl Scouts speech
- Jutta Bojsen-Møller's victory for votes speech
- Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard at ANZAC Day
- Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard's speech on misogyny
- Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner at the United Nations climate summit
- Kavita Krishnan on safety and India's rape culture
- Kayla Kearney comes out to her high school assembly
- Kerry Washington on the risk of public speaking
- Lady Bird Johnson's 1964 whistlestop tour
- Lady Gaga's speech at Rome Europride
- Laverne Cox on transgender activism
- Leymah Gbowee's "Step out of the shadows"
- Lily Myers's "Shrinking Women"
- Lucille Ball at her Variety Club tribute
- Lupita Nyong'o on black beauty
- Atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair on The Donohue Show
- Malala Yousafzai's first statement since her shooting
- Malala Yousafzai's UN speech on youth education
- Manal al-Sharif on the Drive to Freedom
- Margaret Edson's 2008 Smith College commencement speech
- Margaret Sanger, The Children's Era
- Margaret Chase Smith's 1950 Declaration of Conscience
- Margaret Thatcher's "Iron Lady" speech
- Maria Klawe on asking for salary increases
- Maria Shriver on "The Power of the Pause"
- Marie Colvin's eulogy for fallen war correspondents
- Marie Curie's 1911 Nobel lecture
- Mary Beard on the public voice of women
- Mary Fisher's speech on AIDS to the 1992 Republican National Convention
- Mary Roach on 10 things you didn't know about orgasm
- Mary Robinson's inaugural speech as Ireland's president
- Rep. Maureen Walsh's speech on gay marriage
- Maya Angelou's eulogy for Coretta Scott King
- Maya Angelou's "Phenomenal Woman"
- Meryl Streep on Emma Thompson and Walt Disney
- Michelle Obama's 2012 Democratic National Convention speech
- Michelle Obama's eulogy for Maya Angelou
- Michelle Obama's speech to young African women leaders
- 1994 lecture by Miep Gies, Anne Frank's protector
- Mindy Kaling at Harvard Law School's Class Day
- Mother Jones Speaks to Striking West Virginia Miners in 1912
- Mother Teresa at the 1994 National Prayer Breakfast
- Myrlie Evers-Williams's 2013 inaugural invocation
- Nancy Astor's "maiden speech" in Parliament
- Nellie McClung's "Should Men Vote?" speech
- British Olympic cyclist Nicole Cook's retirement speech
- Queen Noor's 1996 speech at the Kennedy Center
- Nora Ephron's commencement address at Wellesley College
- Penny Mordaunt's Loyal Address in Parliament
- Phyllis Diller on comedy at the 92nd Street Y
- Phyllis Rodriguez & Aicha el-Wafi on 9/11 forgiveness
- Phyllis Schlafly's "What's Wrong with Equal Rights for Women?"
- Rachel Carson's "A New Chapter to Silent Spring"
- Rashema Melson's high school valedictory speech
- Rose Schneiderman on the Triangle Fire
- Ruth Reichl on not becoming her mother
- Sally Field at the 2012 Human Rights Campaign dinner
- Sally Ride's "Shoot for the Stars"
- Sandra Day O'Connor on "Portia's Progress"
- Sarah Kay's "Tshotsholoza"
- Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention
- Sarah Weddington's Roe v. Wade arguments
- Severn Suzuki's 1992 UN Earth Summit speech
- Sheena Iyengar's TED talk on the art of choosing
- Sheila Widnall on women in engineering
- Sheryl Sandberg's Barnard commencement address
- Shirley Chisholm introduces the Equal Rights Amendment
- Sister Simone Campbell and the nuns on a bus tour
- Sojourner Truth "Ain't I a Woman?"
- Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's law school question
- Sophie Gustafson on stuttering as "part of who I am"
- Sue Austin's "most mobile person" at TEDMED
- Susan B. Anthony's "Is it a crime for a U.S. citizen to vote?"
- Tanni Grey-Thompson's "shout a bit louder" on disability
- Minister Teresa MacBain's "I am an Atheist"
- Theresa May takes the UK Police Federation to task
- Tilda Swinton's "David Bowie Is" speech
- Ursula K. Leguin's "Left-handed commencement address"
- Ursula K. Leguin's "We are volcanoes"
- Vandana Shiva at 2014's Food Otherwise
- Victoria Woodhull's "Principles of Social Freedom"
- Viola Davis: "What keeps me in the business is hope"
- Viola Davis's commencement speech "Go on and live!"
- Viola Davis: "Everything should be spoken"
- Virginia Woolf's "A Room of One's Own" lectures
- Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai's hummingbird fable
- Texas State Senator Wendy Davis's filibuster
- Wilma Mankiller on rebuilding the Cherokee Nation
- Yulia Tymoshenko's "Heroes will never die"