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.


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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  1. I agree with others that the dress seems too short for bare legs. I don’t think the Duchess has to care what people say about her fashion choices, but this is another outfit that makes me feel uncomfortable for her. Whether she knows or cares or not, showing this much thigh to the entire world moves the focus away from the work that she is doing. Maybe we all shouldn’t care that she’s showing her entire thigh to the world, but it’s hard not to notice and it seems like it would be better if she had advisors or a stylist that could help her with these things. She looks gorgeous no matter what she wears but I do agree that the bare legs (exacerbated in seated position) are an unfortunate distraction that is avoidable.

  2. What a great event! I was so happy to see a diverse group of women included in the panel, women of all races, ages, sizes etc. And Meghan makes such good points about including men into the conversation. I always forget that men don’t see or understand things about what women have endured and suffered throughout the centuries. Some don’t want to understand but I think most do. It’s great to see Harry being part of the conversation as well, even if he wasn’t present.
    I really like this dress on Meghan and the blazer. The blazer does look a tad tight but Meghan is probably thinking what is the point of buying a maternity blazer at that stage in her pregnancy. Like some, I wish she had invested a bit more in maternity wear though I get why she didn’t want to go overboard in buying so many clothes she would only wear for a limited time. And yes, I agree the dress is a little too short. It’s fine when she’s standing and talking to people, but when she’s sitting it’s a little too much. I’ve worn dresses that short to work when I was in a very casual job but then I had a desk to cover up my legs! And I would think this was a bit too short even if she were not pregnant.
    It’s nice to see the loose hair in front. That is not a messy bun by my standards, the bun itself looks pretty put together minus the hair in front kept loose. The bun itself is very structured and there aren’t many loose hairs falling out of the bun itself, which is what makes a bun messy in my opinion. And I’ve always loved Meghan’s fondness for diminutive jewelry, it reminds me of my style.

  3. Not sure if other have commented on that, but I find it interesting and peculiar that Megan does not seem to have a maternity wardrobe. Except for perhaps one or two items (I am thinking of the black skinny jeans and that ASOS maternity dress) all of her clothes appear to be regular, loosely shaped dresses that she squeezes into, with more or less success. Why is that the case? What does she have against maternity clothes? Is it the style? Ideology? Perhaps there is none which is eco-friendly? Is she trying to prove anything? What are your best guesses?

  4. I agree with everyone that says the dress is to short. The look overall is very attractive. But everyone is focusing on how revealing it is and not the importance of the event. I hope she will in the future think about how she represents the royal family.

  5. Whenever she speaks, she always has something to say. So poised, naturally well-spoken, and aware. She looks very comfortable in her outfit and yes, she has some fabulous shoes.

  6. I love the look and obviously that blazer can’t be fastened and the dress is a smidgen short. I still love it. ?‍♀️

    In the click bait articles about what she will have to change when she becomes a royal, they all say she must wear nude pantyhose. She rarely wears them. They also say she isn’t allowed to cross her legs except at the ankle.

    • I think some of the “rules” cited in these articles are silly, but with photos like these, you can see the value of crossing the legs at the ankle when you wear a shorter dress. It makes it less likely you’ll expose quite a bit of thigh.

  7. Overall, I’m thrilled to see her in Reiss. I recently traveled to London and this was one of my favorite places to shop!

  8. I loved this look until I saw the length, but I found only the length to be an issue not the size. Standing the length was not too bad, but when sitting… trouble! On instagram they showed Kate in a very similar outfit, just as short, and no opaque pantyhose. Kate’s saving grace was that she was not sitting down.
    We women no matter which career or position we hold have been there ….having wardrobe malfunctions of some kind or other. I am sure Meghan’s sister in law, Kate, can offer some comfort as she herself has had some 30+ times that the wind had gotten the better of her skirts and dresses! Every time it happens someone posts the solution to the problem, offer excuses or just congratulate her on her beautiful legs. I offer none of those, I just look forward to the next event and next outfit.

  9. I do love the outfit and am a fan of the messy bun personally. The only thing I might’ve done differently is wear opaque tights and that’s only because of being sat on the stage. Still think she looks fab though and what a bright, intelligent woman she is. Prince Harry must be really proud.

  10. This is a great business look, from the hair to the shoes. I love the dress, the neckline is flattering on Meghan and the impeccably cut blazer brings it to a higher level of professionalism. As much as I love Meghan’s strappy shoes, or those with the bows, I’m glad she kept it simple this time as the shoes polish off the look nicely. The wisps of hair framing her face are so much more lovely when they’re not hanging in the way during handshakes and walkabouts.

    Most importantly, I really loved what I saw of Meghan’s speech (3-4 minutes posted on Kensington Palace’s Instagram). She is so well-spoken and aware of issues affecting women around the world, and I’m so happy she was given the vice-president role as she clearly has a lot of positives to bring to the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust. I’m glad the royal family is acknowledging her skills and dedication to past causes and rewarding her for them, rather than trying to stifle any message that could be see as political. It’s a fine line to walk but I think Meghan nailed it with her choice of words.

    Because the message was so important it makes me weep to see the photos of Meghan sitting down – you just *know* those shots are what the media is going to focus on, or what detractors will point out, rather than listening to what she’s saying (which just goes to show that the fight for equality must keep going, but that’s a discussion that goes beyond a fashion blog!). The dress length I thought was fine until Meghan crossed her legs. And please, can we see some tights!! I know there has been a lot of discussion in the past on the blog of how many younger women, especially Americans, are eschewing pantyhose because they are uncomfortable, or a pain, or outdated, etc. I can only throw my personal experience into the discussion: I grew up in Canada, which is fashion-wise much closer to the US than the UK, and started attending business school back in 2011. One of the first things we were advised about was our wardrobe: we should always come to class presentable, because you never know who you will meet and you want to make a good impression; and when doing class presentations, we had to dress professionally, which meant suits and ties for men and, if wearing a skirt rather than trousers, knee-length skirts and pantyhose for women. Some people may think tights as a sign of professionalism is an outdated idea but I just wanted to point out it IS still being taught that they are part of an appropriate business wardrobe. In Meghan’s case a pair of nude tights obviously wouldn’t make much difference in terms of being “covered up” while crossing her legs, but I do think they would make her look more like she’s there to talk business, and not like she may have just come from a shopping trip or brunch. Just my two cents and is not meant to be a personal criticism of Meghan!

  11. I agree with all who think the dress was too short. I also think the blazer was too small. I think that, at this stage of pregnancy, wearing non-maternity clothes is really risky.
    And is it me or are her shoes always too big? Especially in the close up shots, there is always so much space behind her heel, if it were be me I’d be afraid to loose them! :p

    • I agree about the shoes, Lisa. I wish I knew how The Duchess keeps fhem on her feet when she wallks. I wondered about a slightly chunkier heel with this outfit – not lower, just a little thicker – but I don’t agree that the shoe style that Meghan wore is inappropriate, as some have said. I loved this outfit, but I think Meghan may not have realised how much the dress was going to ride up when she sat down, and I agree that the blazer would have looked better in a larger size. I’m one who thinks it’s fine when she doesn’t wear hosiery with less formal attire as she has nice legs. I do think that some very sheer stockings would have added a slightly more professional edge to this outfit though. I don’t mean “nude” stockings though as I think they would make the legs look unnaturally pale. I’m thinking of suntan coloured very sheer stockings. Having said all that, I think that Meghan looked lovely, as usual, and I loved the roll collar. It reminded me of neckline of the dress that she wore in the evening on her wedding day. It’s a look that works very well for her with her hair up.

  12. It’s so hard to find clothes that look good on you when pregnant, but I think Meghan looks wonderful, and I appreciate what they all had to say.
    The dress length was ok, it shows off her legs nicely, but if she’d crossed her legs at the ankles instead of at the knees, it wouldn’t have been so revealing.

  13. I wish i understood why some have an aversion to maternity wear. It’s so helpful to avoid these situations where the tummy takes up too much fabric. As others have said, the DOC had some hems that were on the shorter side during pregnancy so I’m being completely consistent to say that hems should be LONGER during pregnancy in my opinion. This dress would have been a total win in a maternity cut.

  14. This is a lovely dress and works well with her jacket. I’m in the ‘it’s way too short’ camp though. I remember wearing a short dress during my pregnancy and realising how much the hemline had risen due to my changed shape – it was time to invest in some maternity wear and I felt more empowered being properly dressed than in a too short dress in meetings. It slightly annoys me that no one has pointed this out to Meghan, I wish she had some kinder advisors.

  15. I like this outfit. She looks so modern and chic to me. At this stage of her pregnancy she looks amazing. I was in stretchy pants and oversized tops for most of my 3rd trimester. As someone who detests pantyhose I have no issues with her not wearing any.

  16. I agree with most of the comments here. While this outfit is terrific in theory, the short dress with lack of stockings just don’t work. I do wish she would embrace maternity clothes instead of non-maternity clothes in a larger size. I thought she looked great in the maternity wear on the Morocco trip and I’d like to see more of that. I also really think Meghan needs a new stylist. She’s either being poorly advised or she’s too familiar with her current stylist to take advice seriously. Aside from the wardrobe, it’s nice to see Meghan taking on more formal roles with her work. This event seemed like a perfect fit for her existing interests and passions.

  17. Apart from the disastrously short length of this dress, I really like her business-casual look here, messy bun included (though perhaps not the shoes). Alas, the length was not appropriate for a member of a serious panel, to say nothing of Royal Family protocol. That said, Meghan looks happier here than she has in any public photos since her engagement to Prince Harry.

  18. This is a giant fail – there is hardly any excuse for a dress so short when sitting on a panel. How could this have been overlooked when planning? So disappointed to see her in an outfit that’s less professional than the other panelists and on a day that’s about how brilliant women are… It really makes the poor choices standout. To say a positive word though, the dress and jacket in larger sizes could be lovely for another engagement.

  19. Cute outfit for lunch with friends or a lunch meeting, but not so much for on camera, on stage. I really don’t u detest and why the Duchess is avoiding ask e well tailored maternity clothes.

  20. ?Happy International Womens Day? to the WMW/WKW community!
    I am so proud of the work being done and awareness being raised by Meghan. It makes me excited and hopeful for the future about what could be accomplished!!
    Now to the fashion… todays outfit is another win to me. I like her dress, I thought it had an abstract teacup print which made it whimsical and fun. The jacket and heels polish things up and the earrings are pretty! I love her hair like this, its the perfect balance of done and undone. ?

  21. WOW! I’ve been hoping to see Meghan in Reiss for a while, and this definitely doesn’t disappoint. I love the bold print and the high neck, and the sharp McQueen blazer and classic black pumps round the look out perfectly. Meghan is definitely still getting the hang of dressing for specific events, but this just exudes confidence and power and is absolutely perfect for today.

    I have to admire Meghan’s courage in sitting on a stage in that skirt and wouldn’t mind it being 2-3″ longer, but I don’t think that it’s too egregiously short. There’s plenty of precedent for royal ladies (including a very pregnant Duchess of Cambridge) wearing hemlines that length, and the turtleneck dress and long sleeves balance the hemline–and Meghan’s torso–out well. This feels like a sleeker, more modern version of some of the things that Princess Anne wore in the 70s, which is kind of cool. I absolutely love the little dangly hoop earrings and the kind of put-together messy bun too.

    I haven’t gotten to watch anything from the panel yet, but I’m impressed with the things I’ve read. I imagine it’s been difficult at times for Meghan to send the message she wants while remaining as apolitical as she needs to be, and it seems like she handled today phenomenally well.

  22. Oh no! Yesterday I said, ‘I don’t want to jinx things, but it seems like the messy buns are in the past.” Then today one reappears. Although this one is under a bit more control than some. I like this crisp black and whte print,, but agree with others, that her dress is too short. Sitting on stage, showing so much of her crossed, bare legs, is not the decorum one expects from a member of the Royal Family. Meghan has received plenty of unfair, negative criticism, but she does not help that cause when she does something Iike this.

    I do admire her intelligence and her ability to articulate her thoughts so well.

  23. I loved what Meghan had to say today, especially about having to get men onboard for this fight for equality. I admire her greatly for championing women’s rights on a global basis. Her clothing today, however, just left me scratching my head. First, it looked a bit too spring or summer. Second, while I generally think pregnant women look better in shorter dresses, they have to fit! And, IMO this very cute dress is just too small for her; hence, the deep wrinkling obvious in the photos. The lack of hose and the wrong shoe choice just accentuate the problem with the dress. The blazer is also too tight on her and just make the whole thing look ill advised. She had to know that she would be on stage in a chair for a panel discussion, right? This was not a good look at all. Earrings are gorgeous tho!

  24. Fabulous retro look! With some go-go boots and a little Beatles music in the background 🙂 I’d be transported back. Very fun, and lovely look for the event. The clutch looks great with it. I agree the dress seems a scooch too short for stage sitting and the bun seems a scooch too messy, but overall the look is great and event-appropriate. So happy for her new role! She shines in this kind of work.

  25. I loved this look – very business cool! It reminded me of Kate’s polka dot dress with black blazer combo – she wore it pregnant and it was a much shorter skirt than she normally wears. Someone mentioned that raising the hemline when pregnant helps balance the silhouette and I think that’s true. Meg looked gorgeous and well put together which added to the eloquence she spoke with!

  26. Just curious …. Any notes on the brooch or pin she’s wearing on the jacket? Overall, I like this look, but would agree that tights or hose or a slightly longer skirt may have enhanced the professionalism of the look.
    It’s so wonderful to see Meghan paired with charities that promote women and feminism. I particularly appreciate her quotes about men and feminism.

  27. I agree that the dress was shorter than I’d feel comfortable wearing sitting on a stage, but this is still one of my favorite Meghan looks. Still keeping to her neutral palette, but so much more interesting. Today’s “messy” bun had enough structure about the messiness to be an uplevel from both a fully messy bun AND a more polished bun, if that makes sense.
    To get back to the dress, it’s great to see her in Reiss. And length aside, the dress was a great choice for pregnancy–it’s baggy and unflattering on the model.

  28. It is too short, especially when sitting down. I’m sure she will be unhappy when she sees the pictures. That said, she looked SO happy, and what she had to say was wonderful. She is a smart, articulate woman, and what she and Harry, and the Cambridges, have brought to the monarchy is truly wonderful.

  29. Completely agree with those who say the dress is too short. It’s borderline inappropriate for a woman at this stage in pregnancy., I cringed when I saw the photo of the Duchess seated. Yikes!
    The pattern and style is lovely however….one she should wear again!.
    Shoes aren’t appropriate for this outfit either.

    • Kudos! to the Duchess she looks marvelous and self assured as a woman in her own rights to wear what ” makes you feel good”. This is a well put-together outfit from top to bottom.

    • “It’s borderline inappropriate for a woman at this stage in pregnancy” Meaning it’s only too short for a pregnant woman and not a non pregnant woman? ?

    • Hi, Tracy, and thank you for commenting. It is a Queen’s Commonwealth Trust pin. I’m so glad you asked because we made a graphic showing it and then forgot to include it in the post! 🙂

  30. I feel I really have to hand it to Meghan for managing to look so smart and businesslike this late into pregnancy. This is an inspired choice of outfit, not least due to the wonderfully unusual and snappy Reiss print, along with its roll neck and retro shift style.

    I think Meghan is well able to take the shorter hem length when standing, her problems of course only start when confronted by cameramen bent on getting an upskirt angle when she crosses her legs. It’s bad luck that she didn’t stick to crossing her ankles only.

    I love seeing the McQueen jacket again, and being able to wonder again at its ingenious tailoring, the slanted pocket flaps are quietly daring, worked in as they are with the front dart seaming. It works very well at covering enough of her hips to shield her bump. Her hair looks great like this, in a bun, but not too messy — just enough to be informal. I love the new hoop earrings and am glad she has her trusty Blahniks to rely on to round off the outfit, along with the lovely McCartney cross-body bag.

  31. Love this. She seems like “herself” again, clothing-wise.

    The dress is a little short but still super cute.
    Why do her shoes always look too big?

  32. It’s a lovely dress but far, far too short when seated. I would really like to see her embrace some actual maternity wear to avoid these problems.

    • I completely agree. While Kate has also worn some shorter skirts, I think she ususlly does so with opaque tights or at least hose, this skirt with bare legs, especially when seated before an audience is inappropriate. I think the whole outfit looks two sizes too small, even when standing.


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