Meghan Markle, former Duchess of Sussex, inspired over forty-thousand online attendees with her powerful keynote address at the United Nation Foundation’s Girl Up 2020 Leadership Summit, hosted on July 13-15th last year.
Since then Meghan’s controversial break-up from Royal duties and controversial interview with Oprah, she has ignored her critics and thrown her energy into advocating for women and youth empowerment.
She lit up thousands of screens from the webcam of her Los Angeles home, speaking alongside trailblazing women including Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Cousens (President and CEO of the UN Foundation) and Helena Gualinga (Indigenous Climate Activist) and her podcast on Spotify with Prince Harry is one of the platform’s most popular shows.
Sharing what drives her to advocate for women, she speaks passionately about her hope for our ‘digitally native’ and socially intelligent future generation. Inspired by the girls who are already showing incredible leadership beyond their years, she says now is the time for them to demand to be heard, take the mic and own the conversation.
Meghan Markle shares how to be empowered and empower others
Lesson #1 Resilience
Meghan found the hardest part of her personal journey ‘is to chase convictions with actions’. Sustaining activism is an uphill journey when you are challenging the status quo. Although daily actions may not feel powerful, she said that looking back you will see that it all adds up.
“There will always be negative voices and sometimes these voices appear to be outsized, and sometimes they can appear to be painfully loud. You can and you will use your own voices to drown out the noise”.– Meghan Markle, Girl Up 2020 Leadership Summit
There was absolutely no sugarcoating from Meghan. The fight for equality, she said, is not an easy one because the ones who are fighting are rising up from the margins. That’s precisely why it’s so important.
Lesson #2 Discomfort is growth.
It’s time to break out of the comfort zone to create change, both on an individual level and in our society. The Girl Up campaign sets three goals in motion: Learning about the present issues, training to become leaders and leading the way to change. Each one is about pushing the boundaries: Of what we know, of what we are capable of and beyond the current state of society.
Lesson #3 Support is key. We need a healthy digital community.
Meghan highlights the digital power we have to connect with each other to create change. This a huge task to undertake, doing it as a team is more productive and more enjoyable. Women are underrepresented in leadership positions industry-wide and worldwide, reimagining possibilities and giving girls the confidence and role models to blaze trails requires a long-term team commitment.
Impassioned Meghan spoke sensitively and seriously: “This is a humanity that desperately needs you”. The core of her message is simple, it’s about encouraging us to build each other up and reshape a world that is inclusive, supportive and empowering.
See her full speech below.
For more on inspiring women who are working to build a better world, see our story on Carapac, the woman-led company solving the world’s plastic packaging crisis, and how women in engineering can #ShapeTheWorld in 2020.