x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Un-Labelled

This event occurred on
December 7, 2013
10:00am - 5:00pm GMT
(UTC +0hrs)
London, LND
United Kingdom

TEDxCoventGardenWomen was held on December 7th 2013 and brought together thinkers and doers (men and women) who inspired and motivated our audience by igniting a debate on women related issues.

The Global TEDWomen theme ‘Invented here’ will celebrate women’s innovation in all its forms across many disciplines. While there are thousands of women innovators, there are millions who are still struggling to break out of the stereotypes that define them and limit their potential.

Since the 1960s, the women's liberation movement has lobbied for the rights of women and fought hard to challenge and redefine traditional stereotypical gender roles. Unfortunately, labels are still used to define and identify women’s positions in society, with complete disregard to these women’s core being.

The theme for TEDxCGW, Un-Labelled, celebrates the “mother of all innovation”, an innovation that will break down societal and cultural barriers preventing women from realising their full potential.
At our event in December, we want to challenge socially, culturally and politically constructed labels and highlight the dangers of ‘gendering’ that affects the very existence of all human beings - men and women. We also want to show how an ‘Un-Labelled’ woman can re-invent herself.

Follow us on twitter @TEDxCGW
For further information, please email

Grand Connaught Rooms
61-65 Great Queen Street
London, LND, WC2B 5DA
United Kingdom
Event type:
Standard (What is this?)
See more ­T­E­Dx­Covent­Garden­Women events


Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Laura Nelson

Dr. Laura Nelson helps entrepreneurs all over the world unleash their potential and blast through their blocks to achieve financial and emotional fulfilment. She is an award-winning professional public speaker and has spoken to and inspired hundreds of people up and down the country, presenting at business and entrepreneurial events, The House of Commons, and TEDx London. With an MA in pharmacology from Cambridge University and a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of London, Dr. Nelson’s background included a stint working in the cut-throat world of political journalism before she garnered the attention of the world’s media with her research into gender equality. She has since been interviewed by CNN, BBC radio, and Sky TV, and featured in Time magazine, Huffington Post, Financial Times, Marketing Week, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, and many, many more.

Leyla Hussein

Leyla Hussein is a Psychotherapist, she has been awarded Cosmopolitan Ultimate campaigner Women of the Year Award 2010 and currently received Emma Humphrey Award on her work on FGM and violence against women/children. In 2011 she won the Emma Humphrey Award. She has 8 years of experience in working with young people as youth outreach worker; now she is Independent Training Consultant and FGM Activist/co –founder of daughters of eve. As part of her role, she has made links with many organisations working with young people such as youth groups, local Somali football teams and non-African youth groups. Due to her work with young people she has been awarded the Ambassador for Peace Prize by the Inter-religious and International Peace Federation. Ambassadors for Peace are individuals who dedicate themselves to promoting universal moral values, strong family life, inter-religious cooperation, international harmony, renewal of the United Nations, responsible mass media, and the establishment of a global culture of peace. She works closely with the Young Africans and Friends (YAF) group, formed by youth working together to tackle taboo issues within African communities such as HIV/AIDS and female genital mutilation; she also works with the Somali youth forum (SYF). They came together following the devastation of the London bombings, at a time when the Somali community was often spotlighted in the media at that time as potential terrorists. As young Somali people, they wanted to portray a more positive image of their culture and traditions to others.

Natasha Walter

Natasha Walter is the author of Living Dolls: the Return of Sexism and The New Feminism. She was educated at Cambridge and Harvard, and worked as a journalist and broadcaster, including for Vogue and the Observer, for 20 years. She is a passionate advocate for the rights of women who seek asylum, and the founder of the charity Women for Refugee Women ( She is also the author of a play, Motherland, which was directed by Juliet Stevenson at the Young Vic in 2008 and told the stories of women and children in immigration detention in the UK. The play formed part of the campaign against the detention of children, a policy which was ended by the government in 2010. In 2015 Natasha will be Humanitas Visiting Professor in Women's Rights at Cambridge University.

Baillie Aaron

Baillie Aaron is co-founder and Executive Director of Spark Inside, a UK charity supporting young people in custody through life coaching. She is also the founder and board chair of Venturing Out, a Massachusetts charity teaching entrepreneurship to men and women in prison. Both ventures seek to expose latent human potential, and adopt strength-based approaches toward empowering prisoners to achieve legitimate self-sufficiency on release. Baillie is a graduate of Harvard and Cambridge universities, and was honoured to be inducted into the Junior Achievement Boston Business Hall of Fame in 2010. She currently resides in London.

Gerardo Porteny

Gerardo was 16 years old when he founded Pink Life Against Breast Cancer A.C. in 2010, a non-profit organization based in Mexico City that fights cancer, using education as a primary tool. Under his presidency, Pink Life has consolidated a strong presence in 10 schools and 4 universities and has imparted more than 100 conferences about the importance of breast self-examination. Realising the vulnerable position that the Mexican people have against the disease because of lack of knowledge, Gerardo founded Pink Life Racing in 2012, involving men in the educational process. It is the first non-profit professional car racing team in Latin America, that race for a social cause. More recently in 2013 Gerardo thought of yet another way to involve young people by developing Pink Life Sports. It is a division that organises diverse sport tournaments in benefit of the fight against breast cancer. Currently Gerardo is involved with various philanthropic circles around the world, working towards achieving a better world.

Laura Bates

Laura Bates is the founder of the award-winning Everyday Sexism Project, an ever-increasing collection of over 50,000 women's experiences of gender imbalance. The stories come from women of all ages, races and sexual orientations, disabled and non-disabled, employed and unemployed, religious and non-religious. The project has expanded into 18 countries worldwide and become internationally renowned, featuring in media from the New York Times to French Glamour, CNN to Grazia South Africa, Cosmopolitan to the Times of India. The Everyday Sexism Project has worked closely with UK MPs to advise on everything from gender diversity in Parliament and barriers to women’s full participation in the democratic process to sex and relationships education policy. The Everyday Sexism Project’s recent work on Project Guardian, in partnership with the British Transport Police, saw the real women’s stories it has collected used to retrain 2000 police officers and along with a viral online awareness campaign, has seen reports of sexual offences on public transport rise by 20% and detection of offenders by 32%. The Everyday Sexism Project’s internationally renowned campaign in the Summer of 2013 in collaboration with US-based organisation Women, Action and the Media, resulted in a landmark shift in Facebook’s policies on content relating to rape and domestic violence. Laura writes regularly for the Guardian, the Independent, Grazia, and Red Magazine and has contributed to the Financial Times and the New Statesman among others. Laura is also Contributor for Women Under Siege, a New York-based organisation working against the use of rape as a tool of war in conflict zones worldwide. As part of her work for Women Under Siege, she consulted for the recent British Foreign Office Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, a central feature of the UK's presidency of the 2013 G8 Summit.

Yang May Ooi

Yang May is a lawyer turned bestselling author and storyteller. Her creative storytelling explores the power of personal narratives and is documented on her current website Her first blog Fusion View was featured on the BBC, celebrating diversity and cross-cultural understanding. Yang-May has given regular presentations in the UK, Europe and Asia on writing, social media and storytelling for self-empowerment. As a qualified coach, she has coached solo professionals on creativity, confidence and personal transformation. She is currently working on her 4th book, "Rebel Heart: How to Discover Your Courage and Create a Meaningful, Authentic Life".

Martha Mosse

Martha Mosse is an award-winning performance and visual artist brought up in England and France. In 2012, she graduated First Class from the University of Brighton Honours degree in Performance and Visual Art (Dance), working with great freedom and developing her feminist perspective. Her movement-based works are skilful and thought-provoking investigations of liberty and constraint. Mosse has since exhibited and performed in many gallery and found spaces, quickly establishing a reputation for innovative, un-ignorable work. Her installations involve performance behind and within spandex structures, designed to allow but also limit movement. Her malleable ‘prisons’ are both restrictive and the medium for the performer’s expression. Mosse says: ‘Spandex is a uniquely flexible material. The anonymous women I place behind this skin-like screen become bodies without identity, human-like but not entirely human. The performers – including myself – are objectified by the gaze of the gallery audience.’ Mosse is currently a resident artist at DEBUT Contemporary gallery in Notting Hill and performs at their monthly private view. In 2012 Mosse co-created the online forum Day As A Woman. The project collects examples of sexism from the public and then uses them to curate new art installations.

Nicolette Kay

Nicolette is the Artistic Director of New Shoes Theatre which she founded in 2009. It confronts social and environmental issues through producing powerful and inspirational work written by women. The company has produced Passi Affrettati (Hurried Steps), a powerful play written by Dacia Maraini for Amnesty International, to raise awareness about violence against women and girls. The company is a registered charity and provides workshops for groups of young women.

Yann Borgstedt

Yann Borgstedt is a Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist, born and raised in Geneva and educated in the United States. In 1996 he co-founded a web design firm Netarchitects that was later sold to Altran Technologies. He then worked for a private fund on the redevelopment of the former United States Airforce base Bentwaters in Suffolk, England. He went on to create, invest and manage a variety of diverse business activities in the fields of real estate development and exhibition handling in France, England and Switzerland. Yann has since focused on green development projects including the most recent plans for the development of a green neighborhood in Geneva's Praille-Acacias-Vernets (PAV) district, creating four hundred residential apartments (including two-thirds social housing) and a green residential tower. In 2005, Yann started the Womanity Foundation, which focuses on women’s education, training and development in Afghanistan, Brazil, India, the West Bank, Israel and Morocco. Including the first radio exclusively for women in the Middle East called Radio NISSA FM. In a further evolution of the work in favour of women’s progress, the WomenChangeMakers’ program was launched in 2009 in order to identify and support social entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to women’s advancement. The program was inspired by the Ashoka model, which Yann became familiar with over the past years, notably through his participation in the Ashoka Support Network in Switzerland and France where he works with the fellow Francois Marty on green social housing. Yann is on the board of the gender equality project a Swiss Foundation, working in partnership with the World Economic Forum, committed to creating a world where men and women are equally valued and respected in all aspects of economic, political and social life. He has a small portfolio of social investments like:,

Leah Thorn

Leah Thorn is a spoken word poet, tackling harsh realities with warmth, passion and compassion. At the heart of her poetry is the autobiographical exploration of culture and identity. Leah’s work is published through performance and film, as well as featured in anthologies and magazines in England and the United States.Leah also runs workshops that are a fusion of spoken word poetry, autobiographical writing and listening skills. For the past ten years, she has led ‘poetry-for-empowerment’ workshops across the prison estate nationally. As a result of a two-year prison residency Leah compiled, edited and produced 'release', an anthology of poems and life-stories by and for women in prison, exploring how expressive writing can help to address the emotional distress that underlies self harm.

Mary Ann Mhina

Originally trained as an anthropologist and linguist Mary Ann spent many years living and working in East and Southern Africa. She worked extensively on issues of mental health, disability and inclusion and was for seven years the Director of AbleChildAfrica. Mary Ann has a life-long interest in women sharing their stories and her first book, "Listening to Our Grandmothers", in which older women do just that was published in September. She now divides her time between her own creative work as a writer and storyteller and working on projects with International NGOs. She is also a White Belt Nia Teacher & an Action Learning Facilitator as well as a former Chair of Lambeth Women's Aid.

Organizing team


London, United Kingdom
  • Kakul Ehsan Butt
  • Cai Zhang
  • Kathleen MacLean
    Co-Host, Branding
  • Cecily Nowak
  • Suzanne Goldberg
    Co-Host, Communication
  • Claudia Rocha