The Duchess of Sussex has hit out at the treatment by “those in the corridors of power” in her first speech since quitting her role in the royal family.
Meghan Markle urges girls worldwide to ‘drown out the noise’ of negative voices in biggest speech since Megxit
In a pre-recorded video, Meghan spoke to the Girl Up 2020 Leadership Summit, as part of a session called “The Time Is Now”.
Speaking from her Los Angeles home, Meghan, 38, said: “I want to share something with you. It’s that those in the halls and corridors and places of power, from lawmakers and world leaders to executives, all of those people, they depend on you more than you will ever depend on them.
“And here’s the thing: they know this. They know that all of you, at a younger age than any modern comparison, are setting the tone for an equitable humanity. Not figuratively, literally. This is a humanity that desperately needs you.
“To push it, to push us, forcefully in a more inclusive, more just, and more empathetic direction.
“To not only frame the debate, but be in charge of the debate—on racial justice, gender, climate change, mental health and wellbeing, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more.
“That’s the work you’re already out there doing.”
The former actress’s address was the final speech of the day, where Michelle Obama also addressed the virtual meeting attended by nearly 40,000 people aged 13 to 22 across 172 countries. Meghan talked about the need to “drown out the noise” of negative voices and speak out “even when it makes others feel uneasy”.
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Meghan and husband Prince Harry left their royal roles officially in March and now live in a friend’s borrowed £14million mansion. In recent weeks they have criticised the Commonwealth’s “uncomfortable past” while Meghan has hit out at her treatment at the hands of the royal family saying she felt “unprotected”.
In her speech yesterday she said: “The hardest part—and it was the hardest part for me—is to chase your convictions with action.”
Meghan added: “Another thing about those lawmakers and leaders and executives I mentioned earlier.
“Now many of them, better or worse, they don’t listen until they have to because the status quo is easy to excuse and it’s hard to break. But it will pull tightest right before snapping.
“Women have always gotten a lot of, ‘Well, that isn’t how it’s done” or “Yeah, that’s an idea, but let’s do this instead’.
“But when do we hear that as women? We hear that in the moments we challenge the norms.
“So if that’s the case, I say to you, keep challenging, keep pushing, make them a little uncomfortable.
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“Because it’s only in that discomfort that we actually create the conditions to reimagine our standards, our policies, our leadership; to move towards real representation and meaningful influence over the structures of decision-making and power.”
Girl Up was founded by the UN Foundation in 2010 to help support UN agencies that focus on adolescent girls.