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Toastmasters International Picks 5 Most Memorable Movie Speeches Delivered by Women

RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA, Calif., March 02, 2017 — Often overlooked in the world of film are the passionate and eloquent speeches given by female characters. In anticipation of International Women’s Day on March 8, Toastmasters International highlights five such memorable speeches, including those inspired by real women who changed history.

The following examples (listed in order of release dates) demonstrate the power of the spoken word to persuade, motivate and move an audience.

  • In Steel Magnolias, M'Lynn Eatenton (played by Sally Field) delivers an emotional plea for understanding at her daughter’s funeral. “I feel fine. I feel great. I could jog to Texas and back, but my daughter can’t. She never could. I am so mad I don’t know what to do. I want to know why.”
  • Julia Roberts speaks passionately as Erin Brockovich when declining an insultingly low settlement offer by a California power company accused of contaminating water. The speech helped Roberts win the Best Actress Oscar in 2000. “These people don’t dream about being rich. They dream about being able to watch their kids swim in a pool without worrying they’ll have to have a hysterectomy at the age of 20, like Rosa Diaz, a client of ours.”
  • Newly elected Pirate King, Elizabeth (played by Keira Knightley) in Pirates of the Caribbean:  At World’s End connects with her audience as she motivates the pirates aboard the Black Pearl ship to fight despite the long odds they’re facing.  “And what the enemy will see is the flash of our cannons. They will hear the ring of our swords and they will know what we can do.  By the sweat of our brows, and the strength of our backs and the courage of our hearts.  Gentlemen, hoist the colours!”
  • In The Help, Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (played by Emma Stone) turns to the family maid, Constantine Jefferson (played by Cicely Tyson), after being bullied. Constantine inspires her to be optimistic. “As for your mama, she didn't pick her life. It picked her. But you, you're gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see.”
  • In The Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher (played by Meryl Streep) confidently explains to the Secretary of State why she will go to war with Argentina, who had just seized the Falkland Islands. “With all due respect, sir, I have done battle every single day of my life, and many men have underestimated me before. This lot seem bound to do the same, but they will rue the day.”

To schedule an interview with a Toastmasters leader about how to deliver a memorable speech, or why these speeches stand out, email

About Toastmasters International

Toastmasters International is a worldwide nonprofit educational organization that empowers individuals to become more effective communicators and leaders. Headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., the organization's membership exceeds 345,000 in more than 15,900 clubs in 142 countries. Since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators and leaders. For information about local Toastmasters clubs, please visit Follow @Toastmasters on Twitter.


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Dennis Olson
Senior Public Relations Strategist
+1 720-679-0446

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