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Meghan, Duchess of Sussex addresses a reception celebrating the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand at Government House in Wellington, New Zealand, Oct. 28, 2018.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Pool/AP
Girls & Women

Meghan Markle Is Here to Remind You Women's Suffrage Isn't Just About Voting


Why Global Citizens Should Care
Voting shapes social change. Meghan Markle delivered a speech in New Zealand to celebrate the country’s 125th year of women’s suffrage. You can join us in taking action on this issue here

Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, delivered another moving gender equality speech during the last stop of her royal tour with husband Prince Harry

Prime Minister Jacinda Arden welcomed the two on Sunday at Government House in Wellington to celebrate the 125th year of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, People reports

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Markle greeted the crowd in Maori, the language of New Zealand’s Indigenous people, before thanking and honoring the country.  

“I reflected on the importance of this achievement, but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes,” she said of the first country in the world to give women the right to vote.

In 2018, governments around the world still restrict women from fully exercising the basic human right. In Saudi Arabia, for instance, women were only allowed to participate in local elections as recently as 2015. 

Markle, who’s called herself a “proud” feminist, went on: “Because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.”

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Markle wanted the audience to understand why empowering women is a win for all underrepresented groups of people.

“Women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of all people, including those members of society who have been marginalized whether for reasons of race, gender, ethnicity or orientation, to be able to participate in the choices for their future and their community,” she said.

Gender equality isn’t new territory for Markle, who spoke last week on the importance of girls’ education in Fiji as the first stop on the royal tour. The UN Women’s advocate, World Vision Global Ambassador, and One Young World Counselor is committed to the cause. 

Markle concluded with a powerful quote. “In the words of your suffragette, Kate Sheppard, ‘All that separates, whether of race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome,'” she said.