In February, the ‘Fab Four’ (Princes William and Harry, the Duchess of Cambridge
and Meghan Markle) chaired a forum at The Royal Foundation and the world got
another chance to learn more about Ms. Markle and the causes she will likely
champion when she becomes a member of the Royal Family.
As with any of their public appearances, the media coverage was vast. Whether
you wanted to know what Catherine was wearing, how Meghan had styled her hair,
or were actually more interested in what they talked about, news outlets had it all
covered. Reading over what was discussed at the forum, something Meghan said jumped
out at me,
"You'll often hear people say 'You are helping people find their voices', I
fundamentally disagree with that because women don't need to find a voice - they
have a voice. They need to feel empowered to use it and people need to be encouraged to listen.”
These words, set against the backdrop of the #MeToo and #TimesUp campaigns,
were liked, retweeted and shared widely on social media.
Having previously been a UN women’s advocate, it is no surprise to hear Ms.
Markle talk about these issues. So why does it matter?
It matters because she has a loud voice. She has a platform to speak from. People
want to listen. In fact, even if you didn’t want to listen, you’d have a hard time
avoiding it, what with the media interest in the soon-to- be royal. Of course the
harsh reality is that very few people have a platform like hers and they have to fight
to make their voices heard.
However, what Meghan (can I call her Meghan?!) was getting at is significant. It’s
not a case of teaching people how to speak, but rather a case of showing them
that they have the right to speak and then for them to discover how to use their
Sita Devi Adhikari has experienced this through Kopila-Nepal (WDR partner). As a
single mother with a low income, Sita was overlooked and undervalued in her
society. Through a self-help group at Kopila, she grew in confidence and became
empowered to use her voice.
“Now I am also aware about my rights that I didn’t know existed. [Working with
Kopila] has helped me to build my self-esteem and not allow someone else to
exploit me. I hope Kopila-Nepal will progress in days to come and help to overcome the difficulties women like me face.”
Organisations like Kopila are a great example of what Meghan Markle was saying.
The women they work with have a voice, but due to circumstances and culture,
they often do not get a chance to use it. Kopila teaches and equips women so that they can empower themselves and speak out, to challenge the status quo and
ultimately to pave a new way for women in their communities.
If you’ve read any of our blogs before or had a look around our website you will
know that WDR is committed to seeing people fulfil their God-given potential. For
every person, the outworking of that will look different. At the root of it all is the
desire to see justice for those who, for so long, seemingly had no voice but have
now discovered it to become the spokespeople of their own cause; speaking to the
issue and being the catalyst in engineering change.
When you choose to walk alongside WDR partners you are helping to shine a light on so many issues that affect millions of people around the world. Whether it’s women’s rights in Nepal,
access to education in Southern Africa or Lebanon, your donations, prayers and
your voice make a difference.