As the world eagerly awaits the wedding of American actress, writer and self-professed proud feminist Meghan Markle to Prince Harry, we take a look at the journey of a woman who has affected change in the area of gender equality from the age of 11.
As a bi-racial young girl who struggled with finding her identity in a world that places everyone in boxes, Meghan attributes her father as the first man who supported her yearning for equality.
At a celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Beijing women’s conference, the Advocate for Political Participation and Leadership for UN Women and soon-to-be-Royal, spoke of her anger at a television commercial for a Proctor and Gamble dishwashing liquid that was on-air in 1995 with the tagline, “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.”
"Two boys from my class said, 'Yeah. That's where women belong — in the kitchen,'" Meghan explained.
The anger and shock that she felt from that statement drove her to take action and her father encouraged her to write letters to the women she felt were most important in the world to express her feelings.
The First Lady at the time, Hillary Clinton, was first on her list, along with Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee, powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred and, Proctor and Gamble themselves. Nick News even sent a camera crew to Meghan’s home to interview her and it is clear from the footage featured below, that this was one driven and passionate young woman.
She received letters of encouragement from all the ladies and Proctor and Gamble changed the commercial’s tagline one month later from “Women” to, “People all over America…”
Meghan realised at that moment that she had the power to affect change and to make a difference.
And that is what she has continued to do throughout her life wherever possible.
On her first official visit to Wales, a woman in the crowd told Meghan that she was pleased there would be a feminist in the royal family now. Meghan’s response was, “He’s a feminist too,” in relation to Prince Harry. We hope that through this new royal role and with her feminist husband by her side, Meghan has the ability to affect more change than even she thought possible.
Here are a selection of some of our favourite quotes from a truly inspirational woman.
"You don't have to play dress up to be a feminist. You are a feminist exactly the way you are." Create & Cultivate, 2016
On speaking up to Suits creators about scripts featuring her character that seemed more attuned to attracting men’s gaze than being relevant or interesting for the storyline itself. “For me, speaking up and being able to say, ‘I’m not going to do that anymore’ has been a big shift for me personally…you need the men to stand up and empower women.” One Young World Summit, 2014
“To be a feminist, to be a lady, to be a president, to be a woman does not mean fighting against the stereotype of gender roles, but embracing the idea that one can rule a country and wear lipstick; be a breadwinner at work, and a bread baker with her kids at home.” Weekend Magazine, 2014
"If my name is going to be on something, I'm going to have my say." Toronto Sun, 2016
"You can be a woman who wants to look good and still stand up for the equality of women." Create & Cultivate, 2016
"Women make up more than half of the world's population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for OUR voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making." International Women's Day, 2015
"Being a feminist and being feminine are not mutually exclusive." Create & Cultivate, 2016
'With fame comes opportunity, but it also includes responsibility – to advocate and share, to focus less on glass slippers and more on pushing through glass ceilings. And, if I'm lucky enough, to inspire.' ELLE UK, 2016
“I’m proud to be a woman and a feminist.” UN Women Conference New York, 2015
In Our Words Title Image Credit: One Young World