x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Bridges

This event occurred on
November 4, 2017
London, London, City of
United Kingdom

TEDxCoventGardenWomen is an independently organised event in London devoted to ideas worth spreading. We exist to spread ideas that change hearts, minds and lives for the better.

Taking our lead from global TED, we co-create an inclusive, accessible space and provide a high-spec, beautiful platform for people to spread ideas, share stories and address issues of gender and identity.

We draw on the experiences of an international network of speakers in order to celebrate the transformative power of women, girls and anyone who shines a light on different realities. We support our speakers and our audience to tell compelling stories of race and gender, business and technology, entertainment and design in order to inspire, provoke, change perspectives and challenge injustice.

2017 Theme: BRIDGES

We walk across a bridge and stop. We see the world from impossible perspectives, suspended in mid-air. When we leave the bridge, we have changed. Bridges allow us to enter worlds that we cannot reach otherwise.

Our voice is a bridge. The sound carries our new insights to people on the other side. When we speak out, we let down the drawbridge. We are ready to give and receive, to connect with what we know already and all that is yet to discover.

Life begins and ends on bridges. People kiss and padlock their love and affection to the railing. A symbol of a new life together. People jump to death and life ends. A reminder of unmet desires, lives in despair and all that still needs our attention on this earth.

Bridges connect communities and allow for sharing of goods, services, creativity and emotions. Without them we are stuck in our own worlds, cut off from those across the divide. With bridges, we defy the void and experience what we thought was impossible. Contact creates the condition for new designs of how we want to live together.

Where others burn bridges, stop caring for water under the bridge, we seek solace from bridges over troubles waters. There are plenty of those, and somewhere, sometime, another bridge will be built for those in need.

Some bridges are built to last, to connect us for eternity. Others, like a strong branch bent across a creek, provide passages in the moment. Rainbows are bridges in our minds. Like ideas, we can’t touch them but they fascinate and guide us.

Bridges span across time. We hear stories and re-live the past. Spoken words let us imagine the future. People connect with generations before us and those who have yet to live. The past and the future are present in the room and in all of us – in the talks you hear at TEDxCoventGardenWomen 2017.

Vue West End
3 Cranbourn St
London, London, City of, WC2H 7AL
United Kingdom
Event type:
TEDxWomen (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Aline Santos

EVP Global Marketing and Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Unilever
As Executive VP for Global Marketing & Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Unilever, championing gender equality in the workplace & in advertising is a top priority for Aline. She has been a key architect of Unilever’s #Unstereotype initiative; a movement to eliminate outdated stereotypes from advertising while promoting progressive portrayals of people. Along with leading Unilever’s steady march towards Gender Balance, Aline places an equal emphasis on building inclusion. Unilever has also been working to create global standards for wellbeing, including maternity and paternity leave policies, and Aline has been focusing on business areas, that have traditionally had low female representation. She also plays an active leadership role in the Women’s Network Forum, chaired by Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, which focuses on driving gender balance in UK corporates. In 2017,Aline was named by the Financial Times in their top 35 HERoes, people championing women in business

Amika George

Student, Campaigner
Amika is a 17 year old A-Level student from London, who has started a campaign called #FreePeriods, to lobby the government to provide free sanitary products to all girls on free school meals in the UK. She was driven to take action after hearing about girls as young as 10 having to routinely miss school, for a week every month, simply because they can't afford sanitary products. This shouldn't be happening. Since then, she has been featured in publications including the Guardian, has written for the Huffington Post. She is working with 2 Peers in the House of Lords to work out how to implement this as government policy, and has attracted the support of MPs and celebrities. She has also convinced the Green Party and Womens' Equality Party to include this as part of their 2017 General Election Manifestos.

Arwa Damon

War Correspondent, INARA Founder
Arwa Damon is a multi-award winning Senior International Correspondent for CNN. As one of the networks Middle East specialists, she frequently reports from conflict zones across the Middle East and North Africa. During the coverage of the battle against ISIS in Mosul she & cameraman Brice Laine were embedded with Iraqi forces when they were ambushed forcing them to seek shelter in civilian homes for 28 hours. Among other stories, Arwa covered the Arab Spring in multiple countries, followed refugees from Syria & Iraq as they travelled through Europe, reported on the ivory war in the Republic of Congo, and environmental issues in southeast Asia. In 2014 Arwa launched her non-profit, The International Network for Aid, Relief, and Assistance (INARA), based on her personal experience in war zones & war-torn nations. INARA’s medical network provides logistical support & medical care to help children who have fallen through the cracks & need lifesaving or life altering medical treatment.

Bakita Kasadha

Poet, HIV Consultant
Bakita Kasadha is an independent personal development trainer and a consultant in the HIV sector. Bakita was appointed as a European representation on the Y+ Board, in April 2017. Bakita is a poet (pen/stage name: Bakita KK) and through her poetry she explores the tensions between expectations/stereotypes, internal dialogue and social constructs. Re-thinking resilience and challenging internalised stigma underpins her work, both in training and creativity. Bakita is currently a MA student studying Anthropology and Community Development, at Goldsmiths College.

Brita Fernandez Schmidt

Women's Rights Activist
For as long as she can remember, Brita has been passionate about justice, equality and women’s rights. This has led her to work with organisations like the European Women’s Lobby, where she started her career, Womankind Worldwide, Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS) and in her current role as Executive Director at Women for Women International (UK). Her work is motivated by supporting women to fulfil their potential which has led her to question the status quo and convinced her that a different way is possible, away from norms and limiting beliefs. Brita believes in the importance of connecting across divides, building bridges where there are none and remembering our shared humanity. Originally from Germany, Brita moved to Venezuela when she was 14. She now lives in the UK with her husband Jose Luis and their two daughters, Emma and Sara.

Catherine Mayer

Journalist, Author, Women's Equality Party Co-Founder
Catherine Mayer is a journalist, commentator, co-founder and President of the Women’s Equality Party and the best-selling author of three books. In a career spanning staff jobs at the Economist and more than a decade at TIME magazine, in senior positions including London Bureau Chief, Europe Editor and Editor-at-Large, she has spent more than three decades covering politics, business and the biggest events of our times and interviewed many world-famous figures. Her current book, Attack of the Fifty Foot Women: How Gender Equality Can Save the World!, was published in March 2017. Catherine is on the founding committee of the Women of the World Festival (WOW), a global festival of spoken word and performance celebrating female achievement and identifying the barriers to women. She also served as the elected President of the Foreign Press Association in London from 2003-2005.

Dan Glass

LGBTQI & Social Activist, Performer, Writer
Dan is an award-winning activist, academic, performer & writer who was named as one of Attitude Magazine’s campaigning role models for LGBTQI youth + a Guardian ‘UK youth climate leader’. An agitator from the Training for Transformation educational programme born out of the Anti-Apartheid movement, the core of his work is the development of critical consciousness and creativity to spur people 'to read their reality and write their own history'. His recent programmes involve MC'ing 'Shafted?!' a speakeasy led by people with HIV, the 'Never Again Ever! Beyond UKIP Cabaret in Nigel Farage's boozer and recently founding ‘Queer Tours of London - A Mince Through Time’. His activism has helped to explode stigma, smash isolation and build strong and clear demands for social change.

Dana Mussa

Dancer, Choreographer, Film Producer
Originally from Kazakstan, Dana Mussa moved to Paris seven years ago in order to find her personal way in art and develop her dance skills. Forbidden to dance in her childhood and not having the dance school in her hometown, Dana became a dancer and choreographer thanks to the personal researches in the history of ancient sacred dance of female tribes. That inspiration of female power and tribal energy with ballet knowledge she got later on, allowed Dana to create her own style called Ethno Ballet. Ethno Ballet is essentially based on seven female archetypes and it helps women to find their inner flow and develop their femininity. In 2013, Dana created her "Ethno Ballet" dance company in Paris. Since then she produced different performances, such as "Sacred Women", "Rider", "Wolf", "Shaman", "Roots", "Amazons", "Totem", "NOMADes" and others. She presented them in Paris, London, Stockholm and many other cities of France. Dana also makes dance films and photo exhibitions.

Finn Mackay

Social Justice Activist, London Feminist Network Founder
Dr. Finn Mackay is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West of England in Bristol. In her spare time she wrote a book on radical feminism, which is originally titled ‘Radical Feminism’ and published by Palgrave. In 2004 Finn founded the London Feminist Network and was part of reviving the women’s Reclaim the Night march against all forms of male violence against women and children. A regular speaker, writer and commentator on social justice issues, Finn can be found tweeting and blogging on many subjects including masculinities, animal rights and cat memes. She thinks the recent decision by John Lewis to make all children’s clothes available to all children is just fine

Gavin Evans

Gavin Evans was born in London but grew up mainly in South Africa where he became involved in the anti-apartheid campaign while working as a journalist and completing degrees in economic history, law and a PhD in politics. He returned to London 25 years ago and teaches at Birkbeck College, University of London and at Cardiff University. Mapreaders & Multitaskers – a feminist book focussing on genes and gender - was his seventh book. His latest book is The Story of Colour, which also feminist content. He has two grown-up daughters.

Joanna Sidhu

Social Justice Activist, Entrepreneur
Joanna is Head of UK at CrowdJustice, the only platform for raising funds and awareness around legal cases with a mission to make the law accessible to all. Before joining CrowdJustice, Joanna was an experienced litigator at City law firm, Ashurst, where she worked on international and High Court litigation in London and Hong Kong. In 2016, Joanna worked on a strategic pro bono project with unaccompanied refugee children in the Jungle, Calais. Having seen first hand the scale of this crisis Joanna was inspired to make the move from City law to startup life. Joanna has a strong focus on using technology to increase access to both the courts and engagement with the law itself.

Liam Butler

I am 11 years old and I live in London. I go to school and when I am older I would like to be an architect. I like to read and to write books. I believe that feminism should be taught, just like mathematics or spelling. When I grow up, I would like to live in a more equal world.

Maggie Murphy

Human Rights & Anti-Corruption Advocate
Maggie Murphy is a human rights and anti-corruption advocate seeking to end the abuse of power in its many forms. She has been playing adult competitive football since she was thirteen, and aside from playing for UK-based clubs and captaining Oxford University, she has set-up, coached or played for teams in Tanzania, Rwanda, Guadeloupe, the Netherlands and Germany. In every setting she's seen how women and girls create and benefit from strong sporting communities, bear and break gender stereotypes and inspire others in their actions.

Michelle Elman

Body Postive Activist, Campaigner
Michelle Elman is a 5 board accredited body confidence coach and body positive activist. She is the creator of the campaign #ScarredNotScared, a community that was created to teach women to embrace their bodies and their scars. Through this, Michelle has shared her own story of having 15 surgeries, a brain tumour, a punctured intestine, an obstructed bowel, a cyst in her brain and a condition called Hydrocephalus and having the scars to show for it. She has built a collective following of over 110k people on Instagram (@ScarredNotScared and @BodyPositiveMemes). She has appeared on Sky News, Channel 5 News, BBC Radio London and LBC sharing her expert opinion on body confidence, as well as appearing in over 300 publications and going viral five times this year for her body positive posts. She is releasing her upcoming book “Am I Ugly?” in 2018.

Nadine Hachach-Haram

Surgeon, Entrepreneur, Proximie Co-Founder
Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram is a lecturer and clinical entrepreneur, and a curious surgeon with a passion for technology and innovation and a desire to make a difference in the world. Nadine drew on her passion for innovation, education and global surgery to co-found Proximie, an augmented reality platform that allows doctors to virtually transport themselves in to any operating room anywhere in the world to visually and practically interact in an operation from start to finish. From marking up a patient to providing realtime virtual presence in assisting and instructing on an operation from start to finish overlayed with content and a rich palate of augmented reality they aim to provide safe, accessible and cost effective surgery to every patient around the world. Dubbed by CNN as the “Future of Surgery,’ Proximie has gone from strength to strength and won multiple awards including Foreign Press Association Science Story of the Year.

Stephanie Alys

Co-founder and Chief Pleasure Officer of MysteryVibe
Stephanie is a Co-founder and Chief Pleasure Officer (CPO) of MysteryVibe, an award-winning British pleasure brand. As CPO, Stephanie is focused on changing perceptions around pleasure in a positive and empowering way. A strong advocate that pleasure is a beautiful part of the human experience, and fundamental to our happiness, Stephanie is MysteryVibe's spokesperson on the role of technology within sex and relationships. She has been featured in major publications such as the BBC, The Times, Guardian, Economist, CNBC, TechCrunch and WIRED and regularly appears as a keynote speaker on international stages. Stephanie's work has won her numerous nominations and awards including the Europas, Young Guns and PathFounders Top 100 European Founders. She was selected as one of the Top 5 women under 35 in Business by Management Today, and Top 50 Women under 30 by The Drum in 2017.

Suhaiymah Manzoor-Khan

Poet, Blogger
Suhaiymah is a writer and spoken word poetry performer. She began running the popular blog three years ago where she has written on topics including race, gender, Islamophobia, intersectional feminism and the decolonising of academia. Her work has been published in TheIndependent and she is a contributor to the Cut From the Same Cloth anthology which will be published in 2018-19. Suhaiymah won second place title in the London Roundhouse Poetry Slam 2017 with her poem, ‘This is Not a Humanising Poem’ which subsequently went viral on the internet. As a History and Postcolonial Studies graduate from Cambridge and SOAS respectively she speaks about her topics of interest and research regarding the construction and criminalisation of South Asian migrants, diasporas and Muslims in Britain. She believes in the liberation of all people from every type of injustice and oppression in this world.

Organizing team


London , United Kingdom