Meghan Markle is celebrating her 39th birthday, likely at the Los Angeles home she has been sharing with husband Prince Harry and their son, Archie.
She and Harry are currently planning their next moves after stepping back from their roles as senior royals, although they have been delayed by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It’s very likely that Meghan will want to use Archewell, the couple’s newly formed non-profit organisation, to continue the work she did campaigning for women’s rights, something which has been a passion of hers since she was a girl.
Here’s some of her best quotes on feminism and women’s rights from over the years.
Humanity needs female activists
14 July 2020: In a speech at Girl Up, a UN conference aimed at young female activists, 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 wellbeing, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more. That’s the work you’re already out there doing.
“Girl Up members are organising Black Lives Matter protests around the world, you are creating films to encourage your peers to become activist leaders, you are reforming the criminal justice system, you are telling your school boards we need more mental health resources for all ages, you are leading coalitions to end gun violence.
Feminism is about fairness
28 October 2018: In a speech made in New Zealand shortly after they were married, she said:
“Women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.
“Women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of all people, including those members of society who have been marginalised whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation, to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community.”
We should uplift each other
12 September 2019: In a speech at the launch of her Smart Works capsule collection, she said:
“As women, it is 100% our responsibility, I think, to support and uplift each other, to champion each other as we aim to succeed, to not set each other up for failure but instead to really be there rallying around each other and say I want to help you.”
The rights of women is close to my heart
23 September 2019: Speaking to people who work at The Justice Desk in South Africa, she said:
“The rights of women and girls is something that is very close to my heart, and the cause I have spent the majority of my life advocating for because I know that when women are empowered, the entire community flourishes.
“I read a quote a few weeks ago and it resonated with me as I’ve been watching what’s been happening here and your active efforts. Maya Angelou, the legendary poet and civil rights activist, once said: ‘Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, possibly without claiming it, she stands up for all women.’”
Men should be in the conversation
8 March 2019: In a panel debate after she was given her commonwealth role, which marked International Women’s Day in 2019, she said: “I’ve said for a long time, you can be feminine and a feminist.
“You can be masculine and a feminist, and I think in terms of masculinity you understand that your strength includes knowing your vulnerability.”
She later said: “Your confidence comes in knowing that a woman by your side, not behind you, is actually something you shouldn't be threatened about but, opposed to that, you should feel really empowered in having that additional support. That this is really about us working together.
“That's what gender equality means for me, and having men part of that conversation saying there's nothing threatening about a woman coming up to the same level. It's our safety in numbers. This is our power and our strength as a team. And that's gender neutral, if you really think about it. So I hope that men are part of the conversation. My husband certainly is.”
She stood up for herself in her acting role
October 2014: Meghan was best known during her acting days as playing Rachel Zane on Suits. As reported by the Irish Independent, in 2014 she refused to keep doing scenes where she was wrapped in a towel.
“This season, every script seemed to begin with ‘Rachel enters wearing a towel.’
“And I said, ‘Nope! Not doing it anymore. Not doing it!’
“I called the creator and I was like, 'It's just gratuitous. We get it.’
“You've already seen it once, so I think at a certain point, you feel empowered enough to just say ‘no’.”
Stigma around periods stops girls getting education
8 March 2017: In an article for Time magazine she said:
“As a female in India, the challenge of survival begins at birth, first overcoming female feticide, then being victim to malnourishment, potentially abuse, and lack of access to proper sanitation facilities. Why, if she is able to overcome all of these challenges and finally get to school, should her education and potential to succeed, be sacrificed because of shame surrounding her period?”
“To break the cycle of poverty, and to achieve economic growth and sustainability in developing countries, young women need access to education. When we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally.”