Meghan Markle has urged youngsters to 'keep challenging' powerful figures in her first public speaking appearance since Megxit. The Duchess of Sussex has joined an online global summit being held by the Girl Up campaign, which aims to 'unite girls to change the world'.
Meghan encouraged young women to 'keep challenging, keep pushing' and make those in power 'a little uncomfortable' during the speech. Speaking about 'lawmakers, leaders and executives', Meghan said: "They don't listen until they have to because the status quo is easy to excuse and it's hard to break.
"But it will pull tightest right before snapping. I say to you keep challenging, keep pushing, make them a little uncomfortable. It's only in that discomfort that we actually create the decisions to reimagine our standards, our policies and our leadership, to move towards real representation and meaningful influence over the structures of decision-making and power."
She also spoke of the need to 'drown out the noise' of negative voices, even when it 'makes others feel uneasy'. The Duchess said: "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."
She also said people need to 'work' for 'true equality' every day - and not just believe in it. The 38-year-old, who was wearing a blue dress and a Sh757, 000 (£5,600) Cartier 18ct yellow-gold bracelet, added: "We have to speak up for ourselves and we have to speak out for others who struggle to be heard." She also praised the youngsters who have been actively pushing for equality, including those who took part in the Black Lives Matter protests. Meghan said: "Girl Up members are organising Black Lives Matter protests around the world, you are creating films to encourage your peers to become activist leaders, you are reforming the criminal justice system.
"You are telling your school boards we need more mental health resources for all ages, you are leading coalitions to end gun violence. You are standing up and demanding to be heard, yes, but you're also demanding to own the conversation."
The Duchess added that she, her husband Prince Harry and their son Archie will be cheering young women on in their fight for equality. More than 40,000 youngsters tuned in online to hear Meghan's speech. She is one of many high profile women taking part in the Girl Up campaign, including Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton and Priyanka Chopra. The global leadership summit is part of a United Nations drive to bring about equal opportunities for underprivileged young girls in developing countries. The conference was due to take place in Washington D.C. however it was moved online due to coronavirus fears.
Announcing Meghan's scheduled appearance at the summit, Girl Up tweeted: "The present is female! But don’t take our word for it.
"Hear Meghan Markle, The Duchess of Sussex’s advice for global girls leaders when she takes the stage at the 2020 Girl Up Leadership Summit, happening virtually July 13-15!"
Meghan has long championed female empowerment causes. She and Prince Harry stepped down from the royal family at the start of this year in a split that was dubbed 'Megxit'.