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Meghan Markle Urges Male Students to Make Sure Women 'Are Feeling Valued and Safe' in Speech

In her inspiring International Women’s Day speech at a U.K. school, Meghan Markle urged young men to do their part in achieving gender equality.

On Friday, the Duchess of Sussex, who is back in the U.K. for a final round of royal engagements, visited Robert Clack School in the town of Dagenham in east London for a special International Women’s Day assembly. Meghan spoke to 700 students, ranging in age from 11 to 18, about the holiday, which is observed on March 8 each year.

“When we thought about what I wanted to do for International Women’s Day this year, for me it was incredibly important to be with the women of our future,” Meghan, 38, began her speech. “And that is all of the young women here, as well as the young men who play a very large part in this.”

“Your school mantra, as you all know, is ‘Excellence for all, excellence from all.’ So, how does that apply in your minds to International Women’s Day?” she continued. “I think in many ways it’s very much the same thing, this idea of excellence for all and from all, equality for all and from all.”

The mother of one then paused her speech to invite “one brave young” male student up on stage to share his thoughts on the importance of the holiday.

After his brief remarks, Meghan continued, saying, “I think that is the point — in many societies, it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s very easy to sometimes compartmentalize or silo this idea of International Women’s Day solely being about women, but it’s not. It’s about all of us.”

“What’s really key for all of you to remember is — especially looking at the people who paved the way for you to get to this point in your lives, to be able to have the access that you do — it’s not just an opportunity to continue that, it’s a responsibility,” she added.

Meghan concluded her speech by addressing young men: “Continue to value and appreciate the women in your lives, and also set the example for some men who are not seeing it that same way. You have your mothers, sisters, girlfriends, friends in your life — protect them. Make sure that they are feeling valued and safe. Let’s all rally together to make International Women’s Day something that is not just on Sunday, but, frankly, feels like every day of the year.”

During her visit to the school, Meghan also took a tour of the facilities. She made a stop at the library, where students have been researching their favorite female poets and writers, and at the art studio, where students were preparing for their Model United Nations competition.

Meghan has a long history of honoring International Women’s Day. In 2019 (while pregnant with son Archie!), she spoke on a special panel hosted by King’s College London, and in 2018, she and husband Prince Harry stepped out in Birmingham for a social enterprise event, where young women were taking part in a variety of activities designed to boost recognition of science, technology, engineering and math-based education and jobs.

Meghan and Harry, who have been staying on Vancouver Island in Canada with Archie, are set to officially step down as senior working royals on March 31.

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