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Meghan Says Hashtags Are Not Enough to Address Gender Inequality on International Women’s Day Panel

The Duchess of Sussex wore Reiss for an International Women’s Day event in London.

Meghan was part of a panel discussion marking the day at Kings College London. Below, a video as she arrived.

The event was convened by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. Below, Meghan is welcomed by (L) Lord Geidt, former Private Secretary to the Queen and chairman of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust; (R) Edward Byrne, President and Principal of the College.

The Trust explained the panel was organized “… to showcase the importance of International Women’s Day, and the spotlight it can bring to obstacles which still affect female empowerment across the world, including access to education and limitations within employment.”More about the day and its history:

  • International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
  • International Women’s Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first​ ​IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. Prior to this the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes, and further groups campaigned for women’s equality.
  • Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere.
  • IWD is not country, group or organization specific.​

Meghan’s thoughts about the panel:

The Duchess, newly appointed Vice-President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, said: “Inequality is a global issue, so we’re all experiencing the same issues in different ways. As a united force, we have to tackle this. We have to see it as a global challenge that we’re all looking to solve. When women miss out on careers, education or opportunities because of the system that they live in, we all suffer. It affects everything.”

(More about the new appointment after our coverage of the panel discussion.)

Others on today’s panel included (l to r): Annie Lennox OBE, founder of The Circle, an organization supporting women around the world; Adwoa Aboah, model and founder of Gurls Talk; Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia; moderator Anne McElvoy, author and journalist; Angeline Murimirwa, executive director for CamFed (Campaign for Female Education); Chrisann Jarrett, founder Let Us Learn.In this clip of the panel discussion you’ll hear Meghan asked how her pregnancy is going and see her response. Part of that includes the Duchess talking about a documentary on feminisim she had watched that mentions feeling “…the embryonic kicking of feminism…” and that “…boy or girl or whatever it is, we hope that that’s the case, our little bump.”

The Daily Mail notes that “It is thought she was referring to Johanna Demetrakas’s 2018 film Feminists – What Were They Thinking? in which comedian Lily Tomlin speaks of the day she felt the ’embryonic kicking of feminism’, a term coined by her wife and collaborator Jane Wagner.”

A look at the panel. 

More about Meghan’s input from The Telegraph:

The Duchess… said men should embrace the idea they can be both masculine and feminist, as she said “hashtags are not enough” to bring about real change.

Arguing the case against calling feminism a “trendy” topic, she said making men including her husband Prince Harry a part of the conversation was the only way to make progress.

Angie Murimirwa talked about the values of Camfed, saying, “Together we support invisible girls, turning them visible.”

Earlier this week Ms. Murimirwa spoke about Meghan with People’s Simon Perry, saying:

[Meghan is] a long-standing supporter for women’s rights, for equality and for equal opportunities, and it is really exciting that she is doing this along with other women who are in the space of education on International Women’s Day,” Murimirwa tells PEOPLE.

Murimirwa also applauds Meghan’s husband, Prince Harry, 34, who took up the campaign in Africa when he visited with CAMFED in Zambia last November. In Morocco last month, the royal couple visited a boarding house and school – both run by Education For All which works to get young girls into school.

Below, the Duke and Duchess (at back of room) at the Education for All engagement in February that Ms. Murimirwa references.

“It is about dismantling barriers to girls’ education and education for children,” Murimirwa adds. “I respect that they focused on that – looking at what is that is stopping girls going into school in every context and tackling that head on.”

More from the Duchess:

Meghan addressed other issues, including the ongoing stigmatization of menstruation. 

We return to The Telegraph’s piece:

Focusing on the grassroots charities she has worked with overseas, she spoke about the importance of destigmatising menstruation and mobilising women in developing communities with microfinanced businesses to provide sanitary products.

“At the end of the day, we are doing our part just to normalise the conversation,” she said. “That’s the first step. Because again this is 50 per cent of the population that’s affected by something that can also end up creating the most beautiful thing in the world.

“So it’s a strange one that it’s ended up becoming so stigmatised.”

Annie Lennox noted that “Women are the mothers of the world. We – girls, sisters, mothers – deserve respect and deserve to be treated well. And that means globally.” 

Meghan addresses the notion that feminism has become ‘trendy,’ and also speaking about whether she reads Twitter.

Adwoa Aboah spoke about the mission statement for Gurls Talk, where, “We challenge stereotypes, we fight inequality and together we change the world.” 

The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust now has a video of the entire discussion on its site.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities, of which Meghan is patron, posted this tweet after the panel ended.

Large crowds gathered outside hoping to see the Duchess as she was leaving. They were not disappointed. 

Today’s other news: Meghan has been named Vice President of the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. More from The Trust:

A firm believer in the power of youth to drive positive global change, The Duchess will highlight the Trust’s partnerships with young people across the Commonwealth, in particular our work supporting women and girls.

Prince Harry is President of the trust and HM is the royal patron.

Lord Geidt, QCT Chairman, said the organization is thrilled to welcome the Duchess, noting, “The support and encouragement which Her Royal Highness will bring to the young leaders with whom we work promises to have a profound effect.”

Now for our look at what Meghan wore.

She was in a dress by Reiss; this is the first time we have seen her wearing the brand. The Duchess wore the Azzura Swirl Print Dress ($345).

Crafted of 100% viscose, the graphic print and loose shift silhouette give the dress a retro feel. Our thanks to Laura (@Japanese_Ginger on Twitter) for her identification of the dress.

It looked like Meghan brought back the Alexander McQueen blazer first seen at the Endeavour Awards in 2018.

We believe it is the Leaf Crepe Jacket ($1995), made in a 50/50 acetate/viscose blend that showcases the brand’s slanted pockets, single breast pocket and one-button front closure.

The Duchess also repeated her Manolo Blahnik BB Point Toe pumps ($545). And the Shaggy Deer Faux Leather Crossbody Bag ($875) by Stella McCartney.

Meghan’s hair was in a messy bun.

She wore a new pair of earrings today. A diamond drop on a gold hoop. CarolineP on Twitter suggested that the earrings could be the Signature Diamond Gypset 18k gold hoop earrings from Jessica McCormack ($2700). 

We saw the return of Meghan’s Kismet ‘Hamsa’ Ring (AU $440 AUD, roughly USD $316) and Catbird NY ‘Threadbare’ rings ($44) as well as one new additional ring. It is a gold heart shaped ring that has not yet been identified.

UPDATE: Meghan’s heart shaped gold ring may be the Karen Walk mini heart ring in gold, $176. Also available at the Iconic, A$279 (US179).

Thanks to one of @Meghansfashions readers for the ID!

The Duchess also wore a brooch with the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust logo.

VIDEOS:

You can watch the entire panel discussion (about 1:15 in total time) here on the site or on the QCT YouTube channel.

This is a 2-minute video from Annie Lennox about the day and where things stand in terms of equality.

The fashion recap from our WMW Instagram account:

Reiss dress / McQueen jacket / Karen Walker ring / Jessica McCormack earrings / Kismet ring / CatbirdNY ring / Stella McCartney bag / Manolo Blahnik shoes

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