Duchess Meghan: Paid family leave is a humanitarian issue not a political issue

The Duchess of Sussex and Mellody Hobson did a good thirty-minute discussion on Tuesday with the New York Times’ Dealbook, hosted by Andrew Ross Sorkin (who is a Meghan-stan). Meghan was there in person, Hobson was video-conferenced in. The discussion was about a lot of different things, including Meghan cold-calling senators about paid family leave, unpaid work inside the home, financial literacy for women, work ethic, and a lot more. I’m including the full video at the end of the post. I’m not going to transcribe everything but here are some highlights from one part of the conversation:

On Tuesday, the Duchess of Sussex joined The New York Times DealBook Online Summit, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Dealbook. Meghan joined a conversation with Mellody Hobson, Co-C.E.O. and President of Ariel Investments, called “Minding the Gap,” which focused on how women can reach economic and professional parity.

Meghan, 40, was asked by host Andrew Ross Sorkin, Editor at Large, Columnist and Founder of DealBook The New York Times about recently reaching out to senators to continue her campaign for paid family leave. She acknowledged that the royal family traditionally stays politically neutral but said that she saw paid leave as a “humanitarian issue.”

“We can all agree that people need support, especially when they’ve had a child,” said Meghan. “Paid leave, from my point of view, is a humanitarian issue.”

As Remembrance Day approaches, the mom of two wore a black pants and top adorned with a poppy pin, the red flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war in the U.K.

Meghan also said that felt a need to speak up in a way that she has since she was young, alluding to when she, at just as 11 years old, called out a Procter & Gamble commercial that advertised its Ivory dishwashing soap solely to women. After writing a letter to the company, they changed their slogan from “Women all over America” to “People all over America.”

“When my life and lifestyle were very different, I always stood up for what was right,” she said.

Meghan also spoke about the double standard between women and men having ambition, which she called a “trigger word.”

“There’s nothing wrong with talking about a woman’s success or her ambition,” Meghan said, adding later that men should be part of the conversation.

[From People]

She’s right about “ambition.” That’s a word which has been weaponized against her, especially in the British press. Royal commentators are constantly referring to her as “Harry’s ambitious wife.” Like, how dare she have goals and want to financially support herself and – gasp – have ambitions “above her station.” I also agree with her that paid family leave should not be a political issue, any more or less than the environment. Prince Charles, William and the Queen all said words about the environment last week – were they politicizing themselves any more than Meghan and her work on paid family leave?

On a superficial note, she looked great. Shiny hair, clear skin, pretty smile. Loved the all black ensemble with the poppy pin too.

— DealBook (@dealbook) November 9, 2021

Screencaps courtesy of the NYT Dealbook video.

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