Women of the Week: Meghan Markle Spoke Up for Women and Girls Again

Women of the Week: Meghan Markle Spoke Up for Women and Girls Again

By Taylor Cromwell

Oct 26, 2018

It was a tale of two Megyn/Meghan-s, but it's no-brainer who came out the winner.

There has been breathless coverage of Meghan Markle's every move and every fashion choice that revealed even a hint of a royal baby bump during her first royal tour with Prince Harry. But the standout moment for the Duchess of Sussex was when the feminist princess used her platform to advocate for women and girls—again.

"When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures," Markle declared in Fiji.

Here are our women of the week who prove Markle's point.

Meghan Markle

In her first official royal speech in Fiji, self-proclaimed feminist, Meghan Markle used her platform to talk about the importance of educating girls and women's equality.

"When girls are given the right tools to succeed, they can create incredible futures," she said.

"It was through scholarships, financial aid programs, and work-study where my earnings from a job on campus went directly towards my tuition, that I was able to attend university," says Markle, a graduate of Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. "And without question, it was worth every effort."

Markle, who announced two grants for women's educational programs, has been advocating for women's rights long before she was in the global spotlight. "Women don't need to find a voice," Markle famously said at the first annual Royal Foundation Forum in February. "They have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use them and people need to be encouraged to listen."

Sahle-Work Zewde

Sahle-Work Zewde became the first female president of Ethiopia and the only woman head of state in Africa.

"In a patriarchal society such as ours, the appointment of a female head of state no only sets the standard for the future but also normalizes women as decision-makers in public life," a top aide to the country's Prime Minister told the Washington Post.

Zewde, a UN ambassador, will hold a ceremonial position as president, with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed still holding political power. However, Ahmed is doing his part in advocating for women, appointing women to half of his cabinet last week.

"Our women ministers will disprove the old adage that women can't lead," said Abiy about his Cabinet, which echoes what Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said about his diverse, gender-balanced group of leaders. "This decision is the first in the history of Ethiopia and probably in Africa."

Jamie Lee Curtis

The original scream queen gave us every reason to scream. Jamie Lee Curtis broke box office records when the sequel of the iconic thriller Halloween hit theaters, becoming the biggest horror movie opening with a female lead and the biggest movie opening with a female lead over 55.

The 59-year-old star of the film celebrated with a "boast post" on Twitter.

Dubbed a "thrilling feminist frolic" by HuffPost critic Matthew Jacobs, Halloween sets a new bar for thrillers, where far too often women are the sidekicks or worse, the damsel in distress who gets killed off. But this time Michael Myers takes a seat and Curtis's character takes the lead.

Olivette Otele

This week historian Olivette Otele became the first black female history professor in the UK. (Yes, it's 2018). Otele joins Bath Spa University as a professor focusing on geopolitics and the slave trade. Despite all of the conflicts and dark times she's studied, she says, studying history has taught her kindness and humility above all else.

"We exist because many before us have survived hardship and have chosen to share their space, resources and stories," she said.

Announcing the news on Twitter, Otele said that she hopes her position paves the way for women of color within the field. "Now is a good place for me as a scholar and a black woman," she told History Today.

Sonita Alizadeh

It's the next generation of leaders like 20-year-old Sonita Alizadeh that keep us hopeful about the future. This week the refugee-turned-rapper from Afghanistan was nominated for the MTV EMA Generation Change award, which recognizes young changemakers of the world.

When Alizadeh was a young girl, she barely avoided becoming a child bride. Now she is on a mission to end child marriage and fight for girls' rights, and she's using rap to do it with songs like "Daughters For Sale" becoming viral hits.

"Only women who raise their voices can spark real change. Our opponents can intimidate us, but they can't silence us. We will echo the voices of women and girls in real danger," she told Vice. "My advice to young female advocates is to keep these girls' hopes and dreams alive.

"The world is full of girls with bright minds and big hopes. Imagine what could happen if their true value was seen, and everyone, both boys and girls, could make their dreams come true."

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