Before Meghan Markle married Prince Harry in May of 2018, she heard an important piece of advice that helped shape her future, People reports. On a recent episode of her Archetypes podcast, which was released on November 15, 2022, the Duchess of Sussex reflected on that key tidbit of information while hosting Jameela Jamil, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Ilana Glazer on the show.
A few days before she became a royal, Markle received some advice from a “very, very influential and inspiring woman, who for her own privacy, I won’t share who it was with you,” Markle says. “She said to me, ‘I know that your life is changing, but please don’t give up your activism. Don’t give up because it means so much to women and girls.’ And I kept doing the work for women and girls because it matters, yes, but also because she encouraged me to do so. And the collective voice of all of us telling each other that matters is perhaps the point. There’s safety in numbers, but there’s also strength in numbers.”
Markle has been known for her work as a female activist. Right before her wedding to Prince Harry, she spoke out about female empowerment during the first annual Royal Foundation Forum, where she encouraged the attendees to listen to women. “I hear a lot of people speaking about girls’ empowerment and women’s empowerment,” she said at the event. “You will hear people saying they are helping women find their voices. I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find their voices. They need to be empowered to use it, and people need to be urged to listen.”
After becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Markle continued to champion women’s rights. As a royal, she became a patron of Smart Works, an organization that helps unemployed and vulnerable women find the confidence they need to nail job interviews and find fulfilling work.
Once Markle and the Duke stepped back as senior members of the royal family and moved to California in 2020, the duchess maintained her work as a female advocate. During International Women’s Day in 2020, Markle visited Dagenham, the spot where a group of female factory workers went on strike to protest equal pay in 1968, which led to the Equal Pay Act in Britain two years later. The royal met with the town to discuss female role models.
“Being in Dagenham is incredibly profound because as you can see with Gerladine and the other women who had the strength to really stand up for something that they knew needed to be done,” she said in a quote on the duke and duchess of Sussex's Instagram. “This is the best example of no matter how small you might feel, how low you may feel on the ladder or the totem pole, no matter what color you are, no matter what gender you are, you have a voice, and you certainly have the right to speak up for what is right.”
Recently, in October of 2022, Markle showed up to the Women Spotify event in a shirt that featured the words “Women, Life, Freedom” written in Farsi to bring light to the protests in Iran.
Markle has been advocating for women ever since she was younger. At just 11 years old, she called out a Procter & Gamble commercial that advertised Ivory dishwashing soap solely to women. “I don’t think it’s right for kids to grow up thinking these things, that just mom does everything,” she told Nick News at the time.