The Duchess of Sussex has urged school pupils to remember their value every day in what could be her last major speech before stepping back from her role as a senior royal. Meghan told teenagers that the messages of International Women’s Day – equality and respect – were valid all the time and she urged them to support each other at every opportunity.
The duchess’ remarks came as she visited Robert Clack School in Dagenham. Meghan spent several hours at the school on Friday for an event marking IWD.
Speaking at a special assembly, the Duchess of Sussex said ”I encourage and empower each of you to really stand in your truth, to stand for what is right – to continue to respect each other.”
And the duchess had special words for the boys in the audience, saying ” For young men, to 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.”
Also at the assembly were several of the workers from the Ford plant at Dagenham who campaigned for equal pay in the late Sixties. The women, whose strike action and lobbying led to the introduction of the Equal Pay Act in 1970, heard the duchess invite the school’s head boy, Aker Okoye, to join her on stage to share his thoughts on equality. Sixteen year old Aker told his fellow pupils ” I just want International Women’s Day for all of us to be a reminder of how strong our community is with women inside”.
During her time at Robert Clack, Meghan visited the library where she heard about a recent project where pupils researched the work of their favourite female authors and poets. She also spent time with pupils in the Debate Society as they got ready for the Model United Nations competition where they will discuss women’s rights as well as inequality.
Details of the visit were shared at the weekend. International Women’s Day 2020 is being marked on March 8th.