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Meghan Markle talks Women's Empowerment at Inaugural Royal Foundation Forum

Meghan talks Women’s Empowerment at Inaugural Royal Foundation Forum

Meghan made her first official appearance with husband-to-be Prince Harry and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today, at the Inaugural Royal Foundation Forum held at Aviva in London, England. The “Fab Four,” as they have been dubbed, took to the stage for a Q&A under the theme ‘Making a Difference Together’ to discuss the programmes run or initiated by The Royal Foundation.

The Royal Foundation was founded back in September 2009 and was fully established in 2011. Part of the official mission statement on their website reads: “The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry was legally established by The Princes in September 2009 and became fully operational in 2011. Along with The Duchess of Cambridge who is now officially a Patron, they intend to use the Foundation as the main vehicle for their philanthropic activities.” The foundation helps to support armed forces, young people, wildlife conservation and mental health and following the Royal wedding on May 19, Meghan will officially become a patron alongside the Princes and the Duchess.

Today’s discussion focused a lot on the mental health campaign “Heads Together” and the incredible work they have done thus far. When asked about her impressions of The Royal Foundation so far and what she is hoping to do as a patron, Meghan said:

Obviously it’s incredibly exciting and yes I think for me it’s been a very long time working on college-driven works specifically with women’s and girls’ rights but to see the model of the foundation is really interesting because, while I’ve worked with larger NGO’s I’ve also worked with really small grassroots organisations where you can see a higher level of impact, in my opinion, because there’s a lot less red tape. What you’re seeing here and what I notice with Heads Together from a global perspective, because I wasn’t here obviously when it was happening, was the power of convening all of these smaller organisations who have the same issue but need that extra push and support. Under this umbrella you’re able to achieve that and the impact they all made with Heads Together was tremendous, so I’m very excited to be able to work on initiatives similarly and that can have that same sort of impact globally.

Meghan also got the chance to speak on issues that have always been close to her heart, such as women’s empowerment, when asked how she hopes to continue that work with The Royal Foundation:

Knowing that I’ve just been here for 3 months, for me it’s very important to, once you hit the ground running, even if you’re doing it quietly behind the scenes which is what I’ve focused my energy on thus far, is meeting with the right people, meeting with the right organisations behind the scenes quietly, learning as much as I can so that I can maximise the opportunity we have here to really make an impact. What’s interesting is I hear a lot of people saying, when speaking about girls empowerment, finding and knowing their worth or women’s empowerment as well, you’ll often hear people say “You’re helping women find their voices” and I fundamentally disagree with that because women don’t need to find a voice, they have a voice, they need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen. And I think right now in the climate that we’re seeing with so many campaigns, with #MeToo and #TimesUp, there is no better time than to really continue to shine a light on women feeling empowered and people really helping to support them, men included in that, it makes such a tremendous difference. So yeah I guess we wait a couple of months and then we can hit the ground running but up until then I’m pretty excited.

Following up on the behind the scenes work she has been doing since relocating to the UK in November, Meghan was asked if she could share any further information, to which she replied:

Sadly I can’t. But I will say, you know, if we know how, and I certainly know how passionate I am, and Harry and I see the world so similarly in our approach of being very hands-on with things, what I can say is that I have been fortunate enough to meet with some incredible women and organisations in general, in the UK that are doing work here but then also knowing that some of the work that I’ve done in the past has been in commonwealth countries like Rwanda, India.. So this reach I think can have some really nice legs to it once we can start. To be continued.

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