Meghan Markle's Quotes On Feminism Prove Her Advocacy Began Long Before She Met Harry
As of May 20, Meghan Markle officially has a biographical page on the royal family website, the angle of which is a huge step forward for feminism and a reason for women everywhere to rejoice. The page, which marks Markle's debut as The Duchess of Sussex, focuses not on her marriage to Prince Harry or the wedding dress she wore on May 19, but on her lifelong dedication to feminism. For many people, the Royal website may be the first time they've read Markle's inspiring quotes about feminism, but Markle has been a vocal campaigner for women's rights for years, speaking about sexist injustices and advocating for less fortunate women the world over.
The biography opens with praise for how "The Duchess devotes her time to supporting a number of charities and organisations" and that "from a young age, The Duchess had a keen awareness of social issues and actively participated in charitable work." The biography then goes on to talk about some of the highlights of Markle's humanitarian work to date. Never one to be quiet about important issues, even as a child Markle was outspoken and determined to make the world a better place for women. From then to now, she has marked herself as one of this century's feminist icons. Here are some of her most thought-provoking quotes about feminism.
1. "I don't think it's right for kids to grow up thinking that just mom does everything."
Not many people can say they campaigned against sexist advertising until the company in question corrected their advert, but Meghan Markle can. According to Inside Edition, in 1993, at just 11 years old, Markle wrote to Ivory washing-up liquid and complained about the sexist wording in their ad and the damage the message that women belong in the kitchen was sending to Americans. In a 1993 interview of Markle on Nick News, she said, "I don’t think it is right for kids to grow up thinking that mom does everything." She went on to encourage people to fight for what they believe in, saying, "you can really make a difference, not just for yourself but for lots of other people."
2. "He's a top radio host and he's like, very sexist, always talking about women as if they are pieces of meat."
Markle has seemingly always been outspoken and passionate about feminism. In December 2017, The Sun reported on a home movie of Markle and her friend driving around Los Angeles, with the former spotting a bumper sticker for the then nationally syndicated Tom Leykis Show, which included a regular segment where the host encouraged women to flash their breasts for the entertainment of men nearby. Markle pulls no punches in calling out Leykis for treating women "like they are pieces of meat". Seykis expressed disbelief that Markle called him sexist in a disrespectful Facebook post.
3. "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist."
In 2015, Meghan Markle opened her now famous speech on gender equality for International Women’s Day at the United Nations in New York City conference with these words. Deservedly, the crowd erupted in applause, proud and inspired that such an important figure was speaking out about gender discrimination and the need for feminism. Markle worked in hands-on roles with the UN, showing her dedication to women in politics. As reported by NBC, Markle's time with the UN was spent in the World Bank, with the team of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and also visiting Rwanda to meet with both women in parliament and women in the midst of the refugee crisis.
4. "Women don’t need to find their voice, they need to be empowered to use it and people need to be urged to listen."
Back in February 2018, during her first ever official appearance with Harry, William, and Kate, Markle voiced her support for Time's Up and #MeToo. Having spent over 15 years in the entertainment industry, working in both TV and film, and given the even broader platform her high-profile relationship with Prince Harry had created, it felt important that she was she backing these brave movements. As reported in Vanity Fair, Markle went on to say, "Right now, with so many campaigns like #MeToo and Time’s Up, there’s no better time to continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people supporting them.”
5. "When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally."
To celebrate International Women's Day 2017, Markle wrote an empowering essay for Time which spoke about how essential breaking the taboo around periods is if we want young women to succeed in life. The now Duchess of Sussex undertook two volunteering missions with World Vision, travelling to India, where period stigma and shame causes over 113 million girls to drop out of school. Markle gave a voice to the millions of women whose periods are "a shame-filled reality they quietly endure" and highlighted that lack of education and menstrual hygiene available to these young women will "perpetuate the cycle of poverty and stunt a young girl's dream for a more prolific future."
With such an impressive list of organisations and causes Markle has lent her support to already it will be exciting to see how she adds to this in her new role as The Duchess of Sussex. This title gives her a much larger platform to work towards gender equality and feminism. Given the amount she accomplished at 11 years old with a handwritten letter, it's safe to say Markle will make some profound changes for women and girls everywhere in her new role.