Meghan Markle delivered a powerful speech about gender equality as she closed out “The Time Is Now” Women in Leadership Plenary Tuesday.
Meghan explained how she strongly believed the next generation of girls and young women had incredible power and had already shown themselves to be leaders.
She encouraged the next generation “to rebuild the world around them”: “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. And here’s the thing: they know this.”
The speech included, “Your generation is often referred to as digital natives, and you understand that our online world has the power to affirm and support as much as it does to harm. We are not meant to be breaking each other down; we are meant to be building each other up.
“So use your voice both on- and offline to do just that – build each other up, support each other. There will always be negative voices and sometimes those voices can appear to be outsized, and sometimes they can appear to be painfully loud. You can and will use your own voices to drown out the noise. Because that’s what it is—just noise. But your voices are those of truth. And hope. And your voices can and should be much louder.”
Meghan went on, “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.”
“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 continued.
Meghan also shared, “Look, sometimes it’s not obvious what to do. 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.
“If you look at the breadth of the issues we’re facing right now, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, I understand. So be where you are in the moment. The growth and change you’re pursuing might not feel like anything day to day, but when you look back, I promise you’ll see it all adds up.
“We make better communities and a better world for ourselves step by step. 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.”
The 2020 edition of the Girl Up Leadership Summit has been the biggest yet, with nearly 40,000 attendees, ranging in age from 13 to 22, across 172 countries.