The end of an era and the beginning of another. Our seventh and final article of the quarter is dedicated to and marks a new beginning for Meghan Markle, who became the first Duchess of Sussex when she married Prince Harry on Saturday 19th May.

The Royal Family is often criticised for being an outdated institution, but we optimistically believe that Meghan will embrace her recently assumed role with a humble grace and good nature reminiscent of the late Princess Diana. The Royal Wedding this weekend was clear testament to Meghan and Harry’s modern and philanthropic take on being part of the Royal Family. And, a true role model, Meghan’s strength in character was evident throughout; from her dress choice to her calm composure while being observed by 1.9 billion viewers worldwide. That’s why this week I asked fellow writer and friend Hannah Mendelsohn to round off #WomenWeSalute2018 by taking us through a few of the key reasons that we salute Meghan Markle. 

We really hope that you have found these wonderful, strong, sharp women’s words and experiences as inspiring as we have. And we hope that if you are a motivated young girl or woman waiting and watching for the right moment to pursue your ethical and sustainable dreams, that these words of wisdom ensure that you never give up on them. 

Because the real world is undeniably tough, and there will sadly be situations in which you are required to tackle sexism, stereotyping and stigma. But look around you and you will find all the support you need to keep working for what you believe in. Just look at how far we’ve come in the last century! #Suffragette100 Stay tuned for more interviews soon!

Now over to Hannah to send a royal salute Meghan’s way:

 

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 #WomenWeSalute2018 - Meghan Markle

Since her engagement to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has been highly praised for her style. One colour has emerged as a staple in her wardrobe –green –but did you know the future royal has strong environmental creds too? She certainly dresses the part with pieces from brands such as Stella McCartney, Welsh denim company Huit, and the “socially conscious” DeMellier London giving sustainable and ethical fashion frontpage coverage. Her environmental interests and activism, however, go far beyond her wardrobe. In honour of last weekend’s Royal Wedding this week’s #WomenWeSalute2018 is dedicated to investigating the work Meghan has done and continues to do for women and the environment.

when we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally.
— Megan Markle

Instead of presents, Meghan and Harry have asked that guests donate to charities nominated by the happy couple. These include the marine conservation & campaigning charity protecting the UK’s oceans & beaches #PlasticFreeCoastlines, Surfers Against Sewage and The Wilderness Foundation. One other charity, the Myna Mahila Foundation, holds a space especially close to Meghan’s heart.The foundation employs women from Mumbai slums to make affordable sanitary pads which they then sell in their communities, improving menstrual hygiene, employment and community networks in one fell swoop. Meghan’s involvement with the charity dates back to January 2017 when she visited India with World Vision and came across the charity who have been fighting for girls in India since 2015. 

Period poverty is a global issue and in India 23% of school girls, including those as young as 12, have dropped out of school because of lack of menstrual hygiene management and the taboo associated with periods. Since Meghan’s visit she’s been championing the cause documenting her experience in a 2017 Time article. She writes, ‘when we empower girls hungry for education, we cultivate women who are emboldened to effect change within their communities and globally.’ Meghan recognises that we should be doing everything we can to empower women of all ages and stop periods from deepening inequalities. Through nominating the Myna Mahila Foundation she is drawing attention to an urgent issue.

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When it comes to menstruation there’s so much left to fight for, whether that’s breaking down taboos, ensuring equal access to the basic hygiene essentials or promoting periods without plastic (see how you can get involved with our #PeriodsWithoutPlastic  Environmenstrual campaign and crowdfunder). That’s why it’s so great to see Meghan using her newly acquired superstardom to keep this essential issue in the public consciousness. We can’t wait to see what else she gets up to as she starts her life as royal. 

 

Adya Rana is a volunteer at WEN and  Hannah Mendelsohn,  is a copywriter, with a passion for journalism and sustainable fashion. Here is a link to her blog, where she recently covered the current sustainable fashion exhibition at the V&A.