5 ways Meghan Markle is the feminist princess we all hoped she would be
Long before Meghan Markle was an actress or a royal, she was a feminist: an 11-year-old Meghan famously – and unwittingly – became an advocate for women’s rights when she objected to the wording in an advert for dishwashing liquid.
Meghan wrote letters to then-U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, TV journalist Linda Ellerbee, attorney Gloria Allred and Procter & Gamble, who changed the slogan in the commercial from “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans” to “people all over America,” landing Meghan Markle her first feminist victory – of many to come.
So it’s no surprise to us that Meghan Markle is a fiercely feminist princess, reflected in statements she’s made about Baby Sussex, how she’s using her role to champion feminist causes and speeches she’s made since becoming the Duchess of Sussex.
Here are five of our favourite feminist moments from Meghan Markle – we’re sure there will be plenty more to come.
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When she felt the “embryonic kicking of feminism” in her belly
In March 2019, Meghan spoke at an International Women’s Day panel hosted by Anne McElvoy and mentioned that her unborn baby – boy or girl – is most definitely going to be a feminist.
“It’s funny, I’ve actually been joking in the past few weeks… I had seen this documentary on Netflix about feminism and one of the things they said during pregnancy is, ‘I feel the embryonic kicking of feminism.’ I loved that, so boy or girl, or whatever it is, we hope that’s the case.”
Not only will Baby Sussex be a feminist, but Meghan Markle has stirred up the royals with talk of raising her baby in a “gender fluid” way, which as far as we can gather from reports, means having a neutral-toned nursery rather than one that’s pink or blue. Kensington Palace decided to issue a statement that the reports are totally “false.” But we’re still expecting to see Baby Sussex clad in yellow.
When she gave a powerful speech about women’s suffrage in New Zealand
With her background as an actress and a degree from the prestigious Northwestern University, it’s no surprise that Meghan is a powerful, captivating and intelligent speaker. In her feminist speech on women’s suffrage, during her visit to New Zealand in autumn 2018, she spoke eloquently on equality.
“Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness. Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and that of your community,” she said.
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When she used the word “feminist” in her official biography – and decided to focus her charitable efforts on women’s issues
Meghan Markle isn’t afraid to call herself a feminist: in fact, it says she is in big, bold letters on her royal family bio page: “I am proud to be a woman and a feminist.”
Markle’s royal biography also indicates that she was a philanthropist helping women long before it was her full-time job, like when she became the UN Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership in 2015. She continues to devote her humanitarian efforts to helping women and children, whether it’s visiting India with World Vision to bring awareness to girls’ lack of education, or helping provide clean water to Rwandan children, so that they can continue their schooling.
When she wrote messages of affirmation on bananas to sex workers
Meghan and Harry visited charity One25 in Bristol in February 2019 – and it was a visit to remember. The charity helps sex workers get off the streets and as Meghan and Harry made meals for the women, she was inspired to write messages of affirmation and empowerment on the bananas. Markle had read that a woman in Virginia had done the same for kids’ school lunches and she thought it was a touching gesture. We agree.
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When she penned this article on menstrual shame
In March 2017, Markle wrote about her experience in India with World Vision for TIME magazine, and how menstrual shame and lack of information about proper menstrual health hygiene means that girls’ education is compromised as a result. Markle then named The Myna Mahila Foundation – which helps women in Mumbai slums access cheap sanitary pads and works to educate people about menstruation – as one of the seven charities people were encouraged to donate to in celebration of her and Harry’s wedding in April 2018.