Fans of Meghan Markle are excited she is marrying Prince Harry and joining the Royal Family for a number of reasons. On top of being American, black, divorced, and an actress with an impressive career (all rare qualities for a British royal), the soon-to-be duchess is also a passionate feminist. Markle has had so many notable feminist moments throughout her career — well, to be more precise, since she was 11 years old.
It's notable that such an accomplished feminist is marrying into the royal family, considering the family has quite the patriarchal history. For example, up until a few years ago, boys were given precedence when it came to the line of succession to the throne. In 2011, the law was changed, stating that girls were now equal to boys in the throne succession, according to the BBC.
Clearly, the monarchy is changing. Not only is Markle a self-proclaimed feminist, but so is her fiancé, Prince Harry. "As males we have to do our part or it's not going to work," Harry recently said about gender equality, according to the Telegraph. Many have noted that Markle has already given up a lot — her role on Suits, her blog The Tig, her home country, and all her social media accounts — all to marry Prince Harry. However, if her strong feminist advocacy is any indication, Markle would never sacrifice anything against her will for a man's affection. It will be exciting to see her bring her strong feminism to the Royal Family.
Without further ado, here are five of Meghan Markle's most awesome feminist moments.
1. As a child, Meghan Markle convinced a corporation to fix a sexist ad
At just 11 years old, Markle noticed something extremely problematic in an Ivory dish soap commercial. The ad boasted, "Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans." Instead of sitting silently, Markle wrote a letter to Procter & Gamble, the company that makes Ivory soap. She also wrote to legendary women's rights attorney Gloria Allred, First Lady Hillary Clinton, and Linda Ellerbee (the anchor on children's news program Nick News). Markle suggested the company change the sexist line to "People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans," instead of only women — and her idea was heard. Procter & Gamble amended the commercial.
Nick News later profiled the story. "I don’t think it is right for kids to grow up thinking that mom does everything," a young Markle said on the show in 1993. "If you see something that you don’t like or offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people and you can really make a difference."
2. She was a UN Women's advocate
UN Women is a UN organization dedicated to "gender equality and the empowerment of women," which aims to "accelerate progress on meeting [women and girls'] needs worldwide," according to its website. As an advocate for UN Women, Markle made an empowering speech about gender equality at the UN Women's 2015 conference. The speech recirculated when her engagement to Prince Harry was announced. "I am proud to be a woman and a feminist," she told the crowd.
3. She traveled to India to advocate for impoverished girls and women
In early 2017, Markle went on a mission to India with the charity World Vision, Us Weekly reported. While in Delhi, Markle learned about the issues facing impoverished women and girls in the area. On the five-day trip, she also worked with locals to help improve bathroom conditions for girls, reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation, and create awareness for education disparity affecting girls and young women.
4. When she said that anyone can be a feminist, no matter what they look like
In October 2016, Markle spoke at Create & Cultivate, a convention that brings together like-minded women in creative and business-oriented careers. At the event, an audience member asked Markle how she balances being a feminist with being feminine. Markle told the audience that she believes there is no difference. "They are not mutually exclusive," she said at the time. "You can be a woman who wants to look good and still stand up for the equality of women."
She made a similar comment in a 2015 interview with Larry King, stating "No matter what you look like, you should be taken seriously. And for me also, I think it's really great to be a feminist and be feminine."
5. When she stood up to the Suits creators for over-sexualizing her character
During a 2016 conversation hosted by global forum One Young World, Markle revealed that she challenged the creator of Suits to treat her character with a little more respect. She told the crowd:
This season, every script seemed to begin with, 'Rachel enters wearing a towel,’ and I said, ‘Nope, not doing it anymore. Not doing it.’ And I called the creator, I was like, ‘It’s just gratuitous. We get it, we’ve already seen it once.’ So I think at a certain point you feel empowered enough to just say no. I think it’s a challenging thing to do if you don’t know your worth and your value, for women to speak up.
Markle's feminist advocacy proves that she is not afraid of speaking up and making a difference. Hopefully she brings her feminism with her to Kensington Palace and continues to inspire young women to advocate for themselves.
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