Meghan Markle speaks at the Girl Up Summit: ‘Believe in what makes you unique’

Meghan Markle delivered her much-awaited public talk at the ‘Girl Up Leadership Summit’ on Tuesday.

The Duchess of Sussex made her keynote address encouraging young women to use their voices in a time when they “have never been more urgently needed.”

The former royal appeared in a video recorded message, at the end of the ‘Time is Now’ Women in Leadership Plenary, donning a blue top with her hair long and straight. 

In her speech, Meghan talked about the changes young women are creating in the world and urged them to push the envelope further.

“It’s such a joy to speak to you today. To young women around the world who aren’t just poised to change the world; but have already begun changing the world,” Meghan said.

“I want to share something with you,” she continued. “It’s that those in the halls and corridors and places of power — from lawmakers and world leaders to executives — all of those people, they depend on you more than you will ever depend on them. And here’s the thing: they know this.”

“They know that all of you, at a younger age than any modern comparison, are setting the tone for an equitable humanity. Not figuratively, literally,” she continued. “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 well-being, on civic engagement, on public service, on so much more. That’s the work you’re already out there doing.”

Meghan spoke about how Girl Up members are organizing protests, creating films on social causes, creating coalitions against gun violences and more.

“I know you have already done so much and made so many people’s lives better. The moment we are living through right now asks all of us to do more. It’s a moment where your voices, and your action, have never been more urgently needed. And we can take inspiration from women like Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who brought New Zealand together to swiftly and boldly tackle COVID-19, or Maya Moore, the WNBA star who has sat out from professional basketball since 2019 to free a man who served 20 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. And those are just two examples, as you well know there are so many others.

“Believing in true equality is not enough — it’s going to take more than belief, we have to work for it every day; even when it’s hard and even when it makes others feel uneasy. We have to speak up for ourselves and we have to speak out for others who struggle to be heard.”

She motivated all the women to work with the same gusto to make the world a better place to live. 

“Continue to believe in yourselves, believe in what makes you unique, and don’t be afraid to do what you know is right even when it’s not popular…even when it’s never been done before…even if it scares people. And even if it scares you,” she said.

Opening about her own battles, Meghan said, “Look, sometimes it’s not obvious what to do,” she said. “Often, it’s fear that paralyzes us and stops us from being brave and being bold. But don’t underestimate that you have some of the answers. Don’t underestimate your ability to push through the fear. You have, rooted in your convictions, the ability to craft a world that you know is just and kind. Your gut will tell you what’s right and what’s wrong; what’s fair and unfair. The hardest part — and it was the hardest part for me — is to chase your convictions with action.”

“We make better communities and a better world for ourselves step-by-step,” Meghan added. “And the pace of those steps is getting quicker. It’s in looking at the aggregate, looking at the big picture, that you can see how far we’ve progressed.”

At the end of her talk, Meghan said, “I am extraordinarily proud of what you’ve already accomplished. Please, continue to honor the conviction and compassion that’s awoken within you,” she said. “I will be cheering you on, so will my husband, so will Archie, as you continue marching, advocating, and leading the way forward.”

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