Meghan Markle Raises Her Voice for International Women's Day with an Amazing Panel of Activists
The Duchess of Sussex, who is expecting her first child in April, joined a panel discussion on Friday hosted by King’s College London.
Sitting in the center of the panel, Meghan said: “If things are wrong and there is a lack of justice and an inequality, someone needs to say something — and why can’t it be you?”
Others on the panel include musician and activist Annie Lennox, model and activist Adwoa Aboah, former Prime Minister of Australia Julia Gillard, Let Us Learn founder Chrisann Jarrett and executive director of Campaign for Female Education, Angeline Murimirwa. Anne McElvoy, Senior Editor of the Economist, acted as chair for the panel.
The discussion highlighted the “obstacles [that] still affect female empowerment across the world, including access to education and limitations within employment,” the palace said in a statement.
It was also announced on Friday that Meghan has become Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, of which the Queen is Patron and Prince Harry is President. The QCT exists to champion, fund and connect young leaders around the world.
“In her role as Vice-President of QCT, The Duchess of Sussex will highlight our partnerships with young people across the Commonwealth, and in particular our work supporting women and girls,” the QCT said in a statement.
Meghan opted for the with a high collar from the U.K. high street brand, Reiss. She topped it with a black blazer (with a QCT brooch pinned on it!) and wore black pumps and carried a black clutch by Stella McCartney.
During the panel, Meghan said: “We must be global feminists and include men and boys.”
Gillard added: “If we can talk about how gender equality gives everybody more choices and more options, then it can be more inclusive, globally.”
Jarrett said: “It is so important that we constantly have new people coming through, shaping new ideas and finding solutions for all.”
After the panel discussion, Meghan surprised some students by greeting them in an impromptu walkabout. Walking across the quad at King’s College London, she waved and smiled and shook as many of the outstretched hands as she could.
Aneesha Aslam, 21, a history student at King’s College London, said: “She asked us what we are doing for International Women’s Day and we said we were celebrating it with the women that we love. And she said, ‘Yes, we should.’ ”
The Duchess of Sussex was clearly an inspiration to the largely young female crowd of well-wishers.
“I love her. She is an inspiration and shows how progressive the monarchy has become and how society is changing,” Aslam added.
Women’s empowerment a cause Meghan, 37, began championing long before she became a royal. Four years ago, the then-Suits star gave an impassioned speech at a U.N. Women’s conference in New York City in which she addressed gender equality.
“I am extremely proud to stand before you on this significant day, which serves as a reminder to all of us of how far we’ve come, but also amid celebration a reminder of the road ahead,” she said then.
“It is said that girls with dreams become women with vision. May we empower each other to carry out such vision — because it isn’t enough to simply talk about equality. One must believe it. And it isn’t enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together.”
For International Women’s Day last March, Meghan and Prince Harry stepped out in Birmingham, where they joined young people at an event hosted by the social enterprise Stemettes. The group allows young women to explore a variety of activities designed to boost science, technology, engineering and math–based education and jobs.
On Wednesday, the royal mom-to-be made a surprise appearance with Prince Harry as he addressed 12,000 young people in London. After joking that he would “drag” his wife on stage, he gave an inspiring speech that included one of Meghan’s favorite quotes from Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
Today’s panel discussion won’t be live streamed, but royal fans can keep up with the latest updates by following Queen’s Commonwealth Trust pages on Twitterthis link opens in a new tab, Instagramthis link opens in a new tab and Facebookthis link opens in a new tab, where they’ll be posting live updates.