Meghan Markle Delivers Powerful Speech On Gender Equality: "We Are On The Precipice Of Transformation"
Meghan Markle gave an impassioned speech on gender equality during the "Time Is Now" section of the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit. The Duchess's nine-minute video message reflected on structures of power as well as the progress that women leaders have already made today. She concluded by encouraging the generation of "digital natives" to realize their potential and continue to drive social change online. Watch her speech below!
Meghan Markle sees great promise in the direction of the movement for gender equality — but there's still work to be done, she says.
In a July 14 speech delivered as part of the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, the Duchess praised the efforts of women leaders and emphasized the critical role that young women will continue to play in social change in the years to come. Here's what she had to say.
Meghan Markle' speech at the Girl Up 2020 summit
Last week, Meghan was announced as one of the headlining speakers at this year's Girl Up summit. "The present is female!" the initiative wrote on Twitter. "But don't take our word for it. Hear Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex's advice for global girls leaders when she takes the stage," the initiative added. And Meghan lived up to that promise in a nine-minute video message that ran during the virtual summit on Tuesday.
"I want to share something with you," Meghan said in the speech. "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."
Duchess Meghan calls on young women to "be in charge of the debate"
"[Those in power] know that all of you, at a younger age than any modern comparison, are setting the tone for an equitable humanity. Not figuratively, literally," she said. "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 well-being, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more. That's the work you're already out there doing."
Meghan's speech (viewable above) also shifted focus to the importance of digital spaces and the up-and-coming generations of young women. "I think it’s important to acknowledge the paradox of how this [social] progress is both aided and impaired by our digital space.
"Your generation is often referred to as digital natives, and you understand that our online world has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm, but we are not meant to be breaking each other down; we are meant to be building each other up," Meghan said.
She continued, "So use your voices both on-and-offline to do just that—build each other up, support each other. There will always be negative voices and sometimes those voices can appear to be outsized, and sometimes they can appear to be painfully loud. You can and will use your own voices to drown out the noise. Because that’s what it is—it is just noise. But your voices are those of truth. And hope. And your voices can and should be much louder."
The speech also referenced inspirational women such as Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern, who, in Meghan's words, "brought New Zealand together swiftly and boldly to tackle COVID-19." She also cited athlete Maya Moore as another example, as the WNBA star sat out games to protest a case of wrongful imprisonment which was eventually overturned.
In closing, Meghan said: "I am extraordinarily proud of what you've already accomplished. Please continue to honour the conviction and compassion that's awoken within you. I will be cheering you on, so will my husband, so will Archie, as you all continue marching, advocating, and leading the way forward," she concluded.
The July 14 speech was the Duchess's first since she and Prince Harry joined the Harry Walker Agency to manage their paid speaking engagements. For the Girl Up speech, Meghan spoke in front of a wall in the family's L.A. home, where Harry has similarly delivered several speeches in recent weeks.