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Meghan Markle Speaks Out About gender equality in education at University of Johannesburg

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Meghan Markle Speaks Out About gender equality in education at University of Johannesburg


During a royal tour engagement, the Duchess of Sussex talked about the importance of pushing for gender equality in education.

During a visit to the University of Johannesburg, the Duchess of Sussex reminded students of the significance of taking little steps toward making a great impact. Meghan spoke with employees and students for a roundtable discussion on access to education and gender equality during her first public engagement in the city.

The Duchess of Sussex spoke out about why the topic was so important to her when speaking to students in her position as patron of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). She stated, “Higher education is such a key element for growth—economic growth, and personal growth and development.”

While Prince Harry was in Malawi at the time.

The royal was made patron of the ACU, succeeding the Queen, who had held the post for 33 years.

“Sometimes access to education can seem so big, you wonder where to even begin? So you begin with one student, or one school, you simply begin. And that’s when we see change,” the duchess said in remarks later shared on her Instagram account. Meghan went on to cite Martin Luther King Jr in the post, saying, “Take the first step…you don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”


Meghan heard from students and professors on the barriers to higher education experienced by young women in South Africa and throughout the Commonwealth during the talk. “The goal here is to be able to have gender equality, to be able to support women as they are working in research and higher education goals, and also be able to have workshops to convene things that are really helping people understand the importance of gender equality,” she said.

“True to what you said, when a woman is empowered it changes absolutely everything in the community and starting an educational atmosphere is really a key point of that.”

Meghan told the kids that fighting for the right to education was “truly and deeply important and meaningful to me on a personal level,” and that it was “such a key element” for economic and personal development.

“I went to university. It takes a village doesn’t it to sort of piece it together for people to be able to finance that; families chipping in, scholarships, financial aid. All those things that are the reason that I was able to attend university,” she added.

The duchess revealed that the University of Johannesburg, Stellenbosch University, and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa would each receive three new Gender Grants.

Meghan also announced four new Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth scholarships.

“The duchess kept speaking about just taking the necessary steps. Even if it’s one, even if it’s small, and no matter how big the goal seems to be,” Tumi Mampame, an MA student in the department of communication studies, told T&C.

She added: “I think I’m definitely going to remember that when it gets stressful and it gets tiring that just that very small step—from the township that I’m from, from the spaces that I’m in—is actually going to make a difference one day. That’s motivating and inspiring. I think I’m more motivated now more than every to keep pushing my work and to take it as far as I possibly can.”

Margaret Macdonald, a 34-year-old Canadian master’s student who won a Commonwealth scholarship from the ACU to study in South Africa, tells that Meghan’s work with the organization is helping to open doors for a lot of people. ““She has really highlighted the importance of education and how when you provide funding support to one person, that’s a step forward in creating change for many more,” adds Macdonald, who is ready to present her thesis. “She understands the value of intercultural learning and experiences and also, as a female, she understands that element of gender and how different circumstances affect you. She found it very easy to speak to.”

Susana Glavan, director of the British Council in South Africa, and Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, vice-chancellor of the institution, welcomed Meghan as she arrived at the University of Johannesburg.

The Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) was founded in 1913 to bring universities from all around the globe together to develop knowledge, promote understanding, broaden minds, and enhance people’s lives. The organization fosters worldwide cooperation while championing higher education and helping to increase possibilities for students and academics.

Meghan’s second engagement of the day was at Action Aid in Johannesburg, where she took part in a conversation about gender-based violence.

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