Meghan Markle Celebrates Young Women Who Are "Changing the World" in Powerful Speech on Equality

The Duchess of Sussex delivers an empowering speech to young leaders at the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit!

By Alyssa Ray Jul 14, 2020 7:39 PMTags
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A rallying call for young people everywhere.

Today, July 14, Meghan Markle gave the keynote address for day two of the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit. While on the virtual stage, the Duchess of Sussex celebrated the "young women around the world who aren't just poised to change the world, but have already begun changing the world."

This appearance at the summit marks one of the 38-year-old duchess' first major speeches since she and husband Prince Harry stepped down from their senior royal duties in March of this year. As the duchess mentioned in her empowering message to young women across the globe, her keynote address comes shortly after her commencement speech at her alma mater in Los Angeles, Calif.

Meghan shared, "Last month I had the chance to speak to the 2020 class at my high school alma mater, which is an all-girls school in Los Angeles. I said that they shouldn't see their graduation as an ending, but rather the beginning. The beginning of a journey where they can harness their work, values, and skills—all the skills they've learned—to rebuild the world around them."

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As she continued, Meghan praised the young women for the changes they're already enacting and encouraged them to push forward.

"I want to share something with you. 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," she expressed. "And here's the thing: they know this."

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The duchess continued, "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. 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."

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Per the Suits alum, members of Girl Up are leading Black Lives Matter protests all across the world, are creating content to encourage activism, are advocates for mental health resources and more.

"You are standing up and demanding to be heard, yes, but you're also demanding to own the conversation," she praised.

Although Meghan warned that the status quo may pose a threat to change, she encouraged those tuning in to work hard at breaking the norm.

"I believe we are on the precipice of transformation. We can accelerate the pace of change, and we don't have to be satisfied with the current speed of progress," she noted.

On this point, Meghan advised the young women listening to be mindful of how progress can be "both aided and impaired by our digital space." Simply, the Duchess of Sussex recommended that they remember to be kind to one another as "there will always be negative voices."

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In regard to the fight for equality, Meghan said this generation's voice has "never been more urgently needed."

She expressed, "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."

Yet, change doesn't happen overnight. Thus, Meghan told the audience to believe in themselves.

"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," she stated. "The hardest part—and it was the hardest part for me—is to chase your convictions with action.

As her speech came to a close, Meghan revealed that she and her family will be cheering them on.

"I am extraordinarily proud of what you've already accomplished. Please, continue to honor the conviction and compassion that's awoken within you," she concluded. "I will be cheering you on, so will my husband, so will Archie, as you continue marching, advocating, and leading the way forward."

You can watch the duchess' entire speech above.