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'Feminism is about fairness': Read Meghan Markle's empowering New Zealand speech

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Meghan Markle has made strong fashion statements during her first royal tour with Prince Harry. But she made an even stronger statement with four simple words during her appearance in New Zealand: “Feminism is about fairness.”

Once again, the Duchess of Sussex has used her platform to speak up for women and girls around the world. This time, she delivered a powerful speech about women’s fundamental right to vote to mark the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, the first country in the world where women won the right to vote.

“Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents: the basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and your community,” Markle stated at an event attended by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the second woman and the youngest person ever to hold that position.

Markle — who had also stressed the importance of education for young girls during an official appearance in Fiji — ended her speech by thanking the New Zealand activists. “For the women who well-deserved to have an active voice and an acknowledged vote and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally, we all deeply thank you.”

Read the full transcript of her speech below:

We are proud to be able to join you tonight, in celebrating the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in your country. The achievements of the women in New Zealand who campaigned for their right to vote and were the first in the world to achieve it are universally admired. In looking forward to this very special occasion, I reflected on the importance of this achievement but also the larger impact of what this symbolizes. Because yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness.

Suffrage is not simply about the right to vote, but also about what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of being able to participate in the choices for your future and your community. The involvement and voice that allows you to take part in the very world that you are a part of.

And women’s suffrage is not simply about the right to vote for women, but also what that represents. The basic and fundamental human right of all people, including those members of society who have been marginalized. Whether it’s for race, gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation to be able to participate in the choices of their future and their community.

So bravo New Zealand, for championing this right 125 years ago. For the women who well-deserved to have an active voice and an acknowledged vote and for all of the people that this effort has paved the way for globally, we all deeply thank you. In the words of your suffragette Kate Sheppard, “All that separates, whether race, class, creed, or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.”

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