Meghan Markle praised Prince Harry for embracing his ‘feminist’ side, while gushing that the royal is setting a ‘beautiful example’ for their son Archie by being so ‘comfortable’ advocating for women’s rights.
While sitting down for a ‘backyard chat’ with Gloria Steinem, the 39-year-old recalled a moment when Harry, 35, proudly told the activist: You know that I’m a feminist too, right Gloria?! It’s really important to me that you know that.’
Meghan shared the sweet story in a written Q&A for female empowerment platform Makers Women, during which she and Gloria, 86, discussed a range of issues, including voter suppression, women’s rights, and the importance of representation.
Speaking about how her own understanding of feminism has evolved over the years, Meghan praised Gloria for being such an inspiration to her – before naming her husband as a perfect example of a man who is both a feminist and ‘masculine’.
Responding to Gloria’s point that it is possible to be ‘a feminist and be masculine and a guy’, Meghan said: ‘Like my husband!’
She then went on to recall a conversation that she and Harry with had with Gloria, saying: ‘I love that when he just came in he said, “You know that I’m a feminist too, right Gloria?! It’s really important to me that you know that.”‘
‘But you need that,’ she continued, noting how important it is for her that her one-year-old son is able to look up to Prince Harry.
‘And I look at our son and what a beautiful example that he gets to grow up with a father who is so comfortable owning that as part of his own self-identification,’ she said.
‘That there’s no shame in being someone who advocates for fundamental human rights for everyone, which of course includes women.’
And Meghan was not the only one complimenting Harry’s parenting skills, with Gloria describing the royal as a ‘nurturing father’ who will ensure that Archie ‘will grow up knowing it’s OK to be loving and nurturing’.
But while the women concluded their chat talking about Prince Harry, the primary focus of their conversation was the importance of voting – particularly among women and people of color.
In her introduction to the Q&A, Meghan highlighted a quote from Gloria that stuck out to her most during their chat: ‘If you don’t vote, you don’t exist.’
‘These words from Gloria Steinem have stuck with me since she first spoke them during this conversation,’ she wrote. ‘Throughout our friendship, we’ve spoken of our shared beliefs surrounding women’s rights, the need for representation and the very timely conversation on voting.’
The mother-of-one added that she believes ‘we vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who come after us’, adding that Gloria is one of the women she honors when she casts her vote.
Although Meghan has yet to verbalize her support for a specific candidate, she once again made it incredibly clear who she plans to vote for come November, expressing her excitement at seeing a woman of color on the Democratic ticket – Joe Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris – and explaining that the nomination was particularly meaningful to her because she is biracial.
‘I’m so excited to see that kind of representation,’ she said. ‘You know, for me, being biracial, growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity.
‘As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see. And in the absence of that, how can you aspire to something greater than what you see in your own world? I think maybe now we’re starting to break-through in a different way.’
Speaking about racism and its impact on voter turnout, Meghan admitted that she is incredibly ‘concerned’ about ‘voter suppression’, revealing that she recently had a conversation with Democratic politician Stacey Abrahms in order to better understand how to ensure that people of color don’t face intimidation at the polls.
‘We can already see all the different challenges that we’re facing,’ she warned, adding: ‘For example, if you’re a person of color and you’re in line, for potentially hours on end, and during that time someone tries to intimidate you to tell you that you should get out of line because you might be under surveillance or any number of intimidation tactics that are so scary.’
Meghan also touched on the way in which ‘the digital space shapes our thinking about race’ – an idea that she has explored while reading Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Noble, a book that examines the ways in which search engines like Google ‘reinforce racism’.
‘For example, it wasn’t that long ago that when you’d start to type in a search engine “why are white women…” it would start to autofill with words like “so pretty” or “so beautiful,”‘ she said.
‘And then when you would type “why are black women…” it would autofill with words like “so angry” or “so loud.” You get to see how our minds are being shaped by something so much bigger than what we’re actually feeling or putting out there.’
The written Q&A was published one day after Makers shared a sweet behind-the-scenes video from Meghan’s ‘backyard chat’ with Gloria, in which the Duchess of Sussex was seen unashamedly gushing over the feminist icon.
Meghan appeared overwhelmed with excitement at points during her intimate conversation with Gloria, who sat down together last month to discuss everything from voter suppression to the importance of representation.
In the video, the two women seem entirely at ease with one another, reclining in wooden deck chairs in a lush surrounding.
At one point, the pair were even joined by Meghan’s beloved dogs, black Labrador Pula, and rescue beagle Guy, who happily wandered into the camera shot during the chat, and lay down at the Duchess’s feet while she continued chatting with Gloria.
‘[The dog] wants to be on camera,’ Gloria joked while gesturing at Pula, who Meghan and Harry adopted together in 2018, shortly after they tied the knot. The Duchess of Sussex rescued Guy the beagle before she met Prince Harry and moved the pup to London with her back in 2017, leaving her other rescue dog – Bogart – behind.
The black-and-white clip – which was shot last month by photographer Matt Sayles – shows the two women sitting in the shade of a large tree, with a wooden table placed between their chairs, which appear to have been spaced in order to comply with social distancing regulations.
Meghan certainly looks at home in the scenic surroundings, and at one point is seen checking something on her phone, and popping on a straw sunhat to complete her chic all-white look – a far cry from the multiple virtual summits and conference calls that she has done in recent months, all of which see her sitting down and staring straight into the camera.
She also made no attempt to hide her admiration for Gloria, gushing happily about how ‘great’ it was to be chatting with the famed feminist.
‘Today is a pretty great day, for me it’s a pretty great day,’ Meghan is seen saying to the activist, who shared her opinions about the upcoming election – and the importance of each and every vote – with the Duchess.
She added: ‘We’ve talked a lot these last few weeks. I keep thinking my goodness — I’ve looked up to you for so long! It’s wonderful to just be in your company, to learn so much and to feel inspired to be home. But also to help people remember why it’s so important to vote.’
The pair shared some insight into their close relationship, with Meghan recalling lunch dates that the two have enjoyed together – while also revealing that Gloria recently gave her a gift, a bracelet that features the motto, ‘Linked not ranked.’
In what some people on social media have perceived as a thinly-veiled reference to the hierarchy within the British monarchy, Meghan expressed her love of that concept – that women and voters should first and foremost stand alongside one another, not fight to get ahead of others.
‘I love this,’ the Duchess said, referring to the jewelry. ‘It means everything to me on every level; we are linked not ranked.’
During the conversation, the mother-of-one – who moved back to the US with Prince Harry and their son Archie in January – also expressed her joy at being back in her home country.
‘Meg, welcome home, I’m so glad that you’re home,’ Gloria said to the Duchess at the start of the clip, prompting Meghan to respond: ‘Thank you. Me too, for so many reasons.’
While sharing the clip on Instagram, Makers Women described the conversation between the two women as a ‘historic backyard chat’, while sharing a few details about what Gloria and Meghan discussed.
‘Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex and Gloria Steinem discuss representation, why each vote matters and how all women ‘are linked, not ranked,” the caption read. ‘MAKERS has an exclusive look at that historic backyard chat! Q&A to come tomorrow.’
Early on in the clip, Meghan makes an impassioned statement about women’s right to vote, telling Gloria: ‘People forget how hard women like you and so many others before you fought for us to be where we are right now,’ to which the activist responds, ‘If you don’t vote you don’t exist… it’s the only place we are all equal, in the voting booth.’
The activist, who was one of the most prominent figures of the Women Liberation’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s, goes on to focus on young women, telling Meghan that it is essential for the youth to vote because it is their future that they are deciding on – not hers.
The importance of voting, and women’s rights, are topics that Meghan has become well versed on, having herself spoken out at great length about the significance of the upcoming election as she moves to become more politically active in the wake of her stepping down as a senior royal.
Just last week, the mother-of-one made a bold plea to women across the US to take part in the 2020 presidential election, speaking out about the need for ‘change’ at an online voter summit, while telling participants: ‘If we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem.’
Meghan made her stance on the 2020 presidential race incredibly clear when she addressed viewers at the When All Women Vote Couch Party – an online event organized by non-profit organization When We All Vote, which was founded by ‘her friend’ Michelle Obama.
Appearing as the opening speaker at the summit, Meghan expressed her ‘excitement’ at taking part, before telling those involved with the organization: ‘We need [your work] now more than ever.’
‘I’m really thrilled that you asked me to be a part of this,’ the mother-of-one began, adding: ‘I think this is such an exceptional time [and I am] happy to be here for my friend Michelle Obama’s When We All Vote, and to kick off the When All Women Vote Couch Party.’
Speaking directly to the volunteers and workers tuned into the summit, Meghan continued: ‘It is fair to say that we are all very grateful for your work because we need it now really more than ever.’
Although the Duchess of Sussex has not named the candidate that she plans to vote for in the election, she made it incredibly clear that she believes there needs to be a change to the current administration, warning summit participants that ‘there is so much work to be done’ before they cast their votes.
‘When I think about voting and why this is so exceptionally important for all of us, I would frame it as: We vote to honor those who came before us and to protect those who will come after us because that’s what community is all about and that’s specifically what this election is all about,’ she said.
‘We’re only 75 days away from election day and that is so very close and yet there is so much work to be done in that amount of time because we all know what is at stake this year.
‘I know it, I think all of you certainly know it. And if you’re here on this fun event with us then you are just as mobilized and energized to see the change that we all need and deserve.’
The Duchess of Sussex then turned her attention to the 19th Amendment, celebrating the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote – while also pointing out the fact that women of color had to wait decades longer to earn that same right.
‘And as we look at things today, though it had taken decades longer for women of color to get the right to vote, even today we are watching so many women in different communities who are marginalized still struggling to see that right come to fruition,’ she said. ‘And that is simply not OK.’
She continued her speech by blasting attempts at ‘voter suppression’, warning the summit that it is more important than ever to ‘support each other’ and to galvanize one another to keep ‘fighting’.
‘When we look at the attempts at voter suppression and what that’s doing it’s all the more reason we need each of you to be out there supporting each other, to understand that this fight is worth fighting, and we all have to be out there mobilizing to have our voices heard,’ the former Suits star said.
Meghan then made a personal call to action to all voters, particularly women, to take part in the election, insisting that ‘if we aren’t part of the solution, we are part of the problem’.
‘We are obviously faced with a lot of problems in our world right now, both in the physical world and in the digital world,’ she said.
‘But we can and must do everything we can to ensure all women have their voices heard because at this juncture if we aren’t part of the solution we are part of the problem.
‘If you aren’t going out there and voting you are complicit. If you are complacent, you are complicit.’
Over the past few weeks, the Duchess has taken part in multiple interviews and summits in an attempt to become more politically active – having reportedly grown ‘frustrated’ at her inability to get involved in politics while she was working as a senior royal.
Earlier this month, she confirmed her plans to vote in the 2020 election, while speaking to Marie Claire about the importance of voting.
At the time the Duchess also shared a poignant quote from New Zealand’s most famous suffragist leader Kate Sheppard, revealing that both she and husband Prince Harry ‘have referred to [her words] often’ for inspiration and guidance.
‘I know what it’s like to have a voice, and also what it’s like to feel voiceless,’ Meghan said.
‘I also know that so many men and women have put their lives on the line for us to be heard.
‘And that opportunity, that fundamental right, is in our ability to exercise our right to vote and to make all of our voices heard.’
She then shared a quote from Sheppard – New Zealand’s most outspoken suffragist leader whom Meghan has previously quoted – explaining that it is ‘one of her favorites’ and ‘one that my husband and I have referred to often’.
‘Do not think your single vote does not matter much,’ the quote begins. ‘The rain that refreshes the parched ground is made up of single drops.’
Meghan concluded: ‘That is why I vote.’
The former Suits star’s decision to speak out about her political plans marks yet another major break from royal tradition for Meghan; traditionally members of the monarchy are expected to remain politically neutral, and therefore do not speak out about their opinions in public.
However, Meghan confirming to the world that she will be voting in the presidential election will come as no surprise to those closest to her – particularly after it was revealed by a royal source in January that the Duchess of Sussex was aiming to become more ‘politically engaged’ after she and Prince Harry quit their roles as senior royals at the start of the year.
At the time, an insider told the Daily Mail that Meghan had grown ‘frustrated’ by the fact that she was not able to be actively involved in politics while she was a senior member of the monarchy, and that she wanted to ‘take advantage’ of the freedom to share her opinions with the world.
‘The Duchess is said to be frustrated that she was forced to stay out of politics after getting engaged to Harry,’ the source said.
‘She has strong political opinions and will now take advantage of the greater freedom she has to express them publicly.’
Meghan did not reveal who she is planning to vote for the in the upcoming election – however, before marrying Prince Harry, she was incredibly outspoken about her dislike of President Donald Trump, branding him ‘misogynistic’ and ‘divisive’ during a talk appearance in 2016, shortly after he had won the election.
When Trump made an official state visit to the UK in June 2019, Meghan did not join the other royals in meeting him – a move that some royal sources claimed was her way of showing her disapproval of the President, although officially, her absence was blamed on the fact that she was still on maternity leave.
However, it was revealed in November 2019 that Meghan had invited Hillary Clinton to visit her and baby Archie at Frogmore Cottage – the family’s home in the UK – where the two women were said to have enjoyed a ‘very warm, sweet’ meeting.