The Duchess of Sussex launched a new initiative, named 40x40, to get women back into the workforce following the pandemic.
The Duchess of Sussex celebrated her 40th birthday on August 4, earlier this week. In honor of the momentous occasion, Meghan Markle chose to launch a mentorship program aimed at women. The mentorship program was created to support women returning to the workforce following the detrimental impacts of the pandemic. Named 40x40, the initiative will encourage people across the world to give 40 minutes of their time every day to support women going back to work. The program was announced through a press release published on Wednesday by the Archewell Foundation, founded by Meghan and her husband, Prince Harry, CNN reports.
"In reflecting on my 40th birthday and the many things I am grateful for, I'm struck that time is among our greatest and most essential gifts," Markle wrote in a message posted to the official website of the Archewell Foundation. "In the past two years, and in large part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of millions of women around the world have left the workforce, including over two million women in the United States." She acknowledged that women had shouldered a greater burden owing to the crisis, especially due to the unpaid labor they performed as the pandemic raged on.
The Duchess stated, "So many of these women are also shouldering the brunt of the crisis when it comes to unpaid labor, including schooling and caring for family members. And the latest research shows that fewer women than men will regain work as we recover from the pandemic. I believe mentorship is one way to help women regain confidence and rebuild their economic strength." Therefore, Markle has brought together 40 activists, athletes, artists, and other world leaders to participate in the mentorship program. Some of the leaders include pop star Adele, poet Amanda Gorman, and California Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris. Actress Melissa McCarthy joined Meghan in a video to announce the launch of the program.
These leaders will give 40 minutes of service, that is, motivating, inspiring, and supporting a mentee. Ultimately, mentors will help mentees build their confidence as well as develop the practical skills she needs to achieve a professional goal. The program emphasizes the significant roles mentors can play in shaping an individual's journey, including identifying smaller steps, strategic decisions, or areas where a different approach might be necessary. The official website reads, "A mentor can offer that perspective, as well as provide the encouragement and guidance a mentee needs to keep moving forward. Mentorship helps shape the larger course of a career."
Happy birthday Meghan Markle! Thank you for your vision for an equal future.pic.twitter.com/hfczpknSgD— UN Women (@UN_Women) August 4, 2021
Mentor positions are not limited to world leaders. Anyone can choose to sign up for the 40x40 initiative and participate in numerous different ways. For instance, individuals can donate their clothes to a woman on the job hunt, register for virtual tutoring programs, or volunteer time to on-the-ground efforts helping local women with their local YWCA. Pledges to participate in the project have already come in, with dozens of citizens across the world committing to bettering their communities for women. For instance, Melanie from San Diego helped a disabled woman find her ideal job. You too can take the pledge to give 40 minutes of your time here.