The Duchess of Sussex, Vice- President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), took part in a panel discussion hosted by QCT to celebrate International Women’s Day. The Theme for this Year’s Women’s Day is “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change.”
Meghan was joined by female thought- leaders & activists such as: Julia Gillard (former Australian Prime Minister & Chair for Global Institute for Women’s Leadership ), Annie Lennox OBE (founder of The Circle, Chancellor of Glasgow Caledonian University, 2009 “Woman of Peace” award winner, humanitarian & Grammy award winning singer), Angeline Murimirwa (Executive Director Campaign for Female Education in Africa), Adwoa Aboah (Gurls Talk founder & model), Chrisann Jarrett (founder of Let Us Learn)
“The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is thrilled to welcome The Duchess of Sussex as its Vice-President. The support and encouragement which Her Royal Highness will bring to the young leaders with whom we work promises to have a profound effect. We are enormously grateful to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex for this signal of commitment they are making to our work, helping The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust to pursue its ambitions right across the Commonwealth and beyond.” (The Rt. Hon. The Lord Geidt, Chairman of the QCT)
“We are particularly delighted that the first opportunity of formally working together with Her Royal Highness comes on International Women’s Day. This squares perfectly with our focus on amplifying the work and contribution of those furthest away from power. Women across the Commonwealth and the globe often face the biggest impediments to success. So we are delighted to have our Vice-President’s support in helping others to overcome those obstacles.’(Nicola Brentnall, Chief Executive, QCT)
A transcript of Meghan’s comments on her personal motivations for supporting women’s rights & equality:
At the age of eleven, I had seen a commercial at the time that I found to be very sexist. And truth be told, at eleven I don’t even think I really knew what sexism meant, I just knew that something struck me internally. No one was telling me that it was wrong, but I knew it was wrong.
And I think sort of using that as my moral compass and moving through, from the age of eleven being able to see that, at that age I was able to actually change this commercial; before social media, before being able to have a larger reach, just putting pen to paper. It really set up the trajectory for me to say: ‘If things are wrong and there is a lack of justice, and there is an inequality then, someone needs to say something; and why not me?’
So, I think you know if I look at that from that young age, and follow what I did in the years after that, it was always about learning more- not just from where I was but where else in the world similar things were happening- a different version of the same thing so to speak. And um once I became old enough to travel, specifically to developing countries, and see what was happening abroad- I think for me what really resonated was the lack of education for girls and how that has a ripple effect on so many things.
And I think you know it seems like a broad stroke. And many people will say: ‘Okay fine yes you want girls to have an education; you just want to have smart girls.’ It’s actually much more complex than that and it really does solve so many of the world’s problems, when a girl has access to education.
You know, when you look at it, you could say, ‘here are the vulnerabilities and challenges that come about when they don’t have access to education, right: early childhood marriage, susceptibility to trafficking, modern slavery, all of that.’ But equally, look at all the positives that come out of it when you do have access to education for to young girls: how it affects economic development, the GDP- billions of dollars on the table are lost by girls being pulled out of education.
Um, and so I think when I look at it from those terms it would be impossible for me to sit back and not do something about it. And and I think you know, looking at my role, that I am very very privileged to have now with the QCT, just expands that platform to be able to go to 53 Commonwealth countries and do this level of work all across the globe because – again it is about global feminism, it is about a parity, and equality for all of us. And so yeah, it started at eleven, but it still feels like it’s just the beginning.
You can watch the entire panel discussion online: