Watch: Meghan Markle supports paid leave
Meghan Markle is well known for speaking up on the issues that matter to her, from mental health to racism to climate change.
Now, she's taken a very personal stance on the issue of paid leave for new parents. Meghan is mum to Archie, 2, and Lilibet, almost 5 months and is campaigning on the issue on behalf of "millions of American families”.
In a letter to US House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, Meghan revealed that she and Prince Harry were 'overjoyed' and 'overwhelmed' after Lilibet was born.
Although she admitted she and Harry were lucky to be able to take five months away from work, (the parental leave allowance at their company Archewell), the Duchess believes that paid leave should be a right for all Americans.
She said, "In June, my husband and I welcomed our second child.
“Like any parents, we were overjoyed. Like many parents, we were overwhelmed.
“Like fewer parents, we weren’t confronted with the harsh reality of either spending those first few critical months with our baby or going back to work.
“We knew that by doing so we wouldn’t have to make impossible choices about childcare, work, and medical care that so many have to make every single day.
“No family should be faced with these decisions. No family should have to choose between earning a living and having the freedom to take care of their child (or a loved one, or themselves, as we would see with a comprehensive paid leave plan).”
Meghan then went on to detail elements of her own hard-working life before becoming a well-paid actor on TV show Suits.
“I grew up on the 4.99-dollar salad bar at Sizzler – it may have cost less back then (to be honest, I can’t remember) – but what I do remember was the feeling: I knew how hard my parents worked to afford this because even at five bucks, eating out was something special, and I felt lucky." She wrote.
“And as a Girl Scout, when my troop would go to dinner for a big celebration, it was back to that same salad bar or The Old Spaghetti Factory because that’s what those families could afford to do too.
“I started working (at a frozen yogurt shop) at the age of 13.
“I waited tables, babysat, and piece-mealed jobs together to cover odds and ends.
“I worked all my life and saved when and where I could – but even that was a luxury – because usually it was about making ends meet and having enough to pay my rent and put gas in my car.
“If we’re going to create a new era of family-first policies, let’s make sure that includes a strong paid leave program for every American that’s guaranteed, accessible, and encouraged without stigma or penalty."
President Joe Biden has indicated previously that paid parental leave- currently something America doesn't have - is something he'd like to introduce. Clearly Meghan is hoping to nudge things along with her very personal intervention.
Some commentators have speculated that this is a first step in an eventual move into US politics for the Duchess. According to her biographer Omid Scobie, co-author of Finding Freedom, Meghan “has her eyes set on the US presidency.”
“Meghan is the embodiment of the American dream. One day we may see Meghan become president,” he said earlier this year.
Another source told Vanity Fair Magazine that Meghan “would seriously consider running for president,” saying, “One of the reasons she was so keen not to give up her American citizenship was so she had the option to go into politics."
It seems Meghan's letter could be the first step on the long road to the White House.
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