Meghan Markle has been speaking out and standing up for women's rights from a young age, but the Duchess of Sussex still feels like her work has just begun.
Markle joined a panel for the Queen's Commonwealth Trust Friday, celebrated as International Women's Day, where she touched on the importance of calling out inequality.
"If things are wrong and there is a lack of justice, and there is an inequality, then someone needs to say something," Markle says in a video posted to Kensington Palace's social channels.
Markle, who is now the Trust's vice-president, talked about her journey as a feminist — starting at age 11 when she wrote a letter that successfully got a sexist commercial changed.
"If things are wrong and there is a lack of justice, and there is an inequality, then someone needs to say something" — The Duchess of Sussex on #InternationalWomensDay @QueensComTrust #IWD2019 pic.twitter.com/p5Dojn2Upw— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 8, 2019
The duchess has spoken about her younger self's campaign before, most notably in her speech at the 2015 United Nations Women conference.
Markle said the issue that really stands out to her is the importance of educating girls, the urgency of which has become more evident as she's travelled to developing countries and seen first-hand the conditions for women and girls.
"For me, what really resonated was the lack of education for girls and how that has a ripple effect for so many things," she says, adding that when girls are educated, it improves the economy and reduces crimes such as trafficking and child marriage.
"When I look at it in those terms, it would be impossible for me to sit back and not do something about it."
"Its not just about girls going to school and becoming smart girls, its knowing that those smart girls become influential women, and that ends up changing the world for the better" - The Duchess of Sussex, #IWD2019— Queen's CW Trust (@queenscomtrust) March 9, 2019
Watch the full panel disccusion here: https://t.co/7LRphVaVP5 pic.twitter.com/mysF322yfN
Every additional year of elementary school a girl attends increases her eventual wages by 10-20 per cent, UN Women reported. It also leaves them less vulnerable to violence.
A child born to a mother who is literate is 50 per cent more likely to survive past the age of five, according to UNESCO. Additionally, if India enrolled one per cent more girls in secondary school, the country's GDP would rise by $5.5 billion.
Markle's advocacy for girls' education and welfare predates her becoming a royal — in 2016, she visited Rwanda with World Vision Canada's clean water efforts, where she again stressed the need for girls and children to have access to education.
The royals' relationship to the countries that form the British Commonwealth is complicated by the fact that many view the colonization of these countries by England as a violent disruption to their histories, identities, political structures and economies.
Whether the duchess can effect meaningful change in the Commonwealth through her work with the QCT remains to be seen, but it's clear she's determined to try.
With a file from Lisa Yeung