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The Duchess of Sussex has said the issue of paid leave is “humanitarian” as she acknowledged there is a precedent in the royal family of “not having any involvement in politics”.
Meghan wore a poppy as she appeared in person at the New York Times DealBook online summit to discuss how women can reach “economic and professional parity”.
The former actress wrote to members of the United States Congress and Senate calling for paid leave for new parents last month.
During the 30-minute session called Minding the Gap, Meghan was asked if she has any “anxiety” about getting involved in politics.
She replied: “I don’t see this as a political issue frankly. Look, there is certainly a precedent amongst my husband’s family and the royal family of not having any involvement in politics, but I think this is… I mean, paid leave, from my standpoint, is just a humanitarian issue.”
The conversation was billed as being between two “groundbreaking figures” – Meghan and Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and president at Ariel Investments – and was hosted by editor at large and columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Meghan was asked about being a woman of colour and what has to happen that is different to just dealing with the issue from a gender perspective, and she said: “It’s not a new issue, and I think even though there’s been a lot more attention perhaps in the last year or two, what women and women of colour have been experiencing for a very long time – I witnessed it through the lens of my mom and now as an adult myself – is still staggering.
“But I think that we’re making strides in the right direction and a lot of that comes down to, as we said, men being part of the conversation, but also women being able to support each other.”
Meghan was at the summit in her role as co-founder of the not-for-profit Archewell Foundation which she set up with husband the Duke of Sussex after leaving their royal roles.
The foundation has partnerships with a range of academic, tech and charitable organisations.
Sorkin asked Meghan about “being a boss”, saying: “I’ve read great things about you as a boss, and if you read the tabloids you can read all sorts of crazy things about being a boss.
“Do you feel like you have to do it differently, and specifically given your role, do you feel like you have to do it differently?”
Meghan replied: “Well firstly, I would urge you not to read tabloids, because I don’t think that’s healthy for anyone.
“Hopefully one day they will come with a warning label like cigarettes do like ‘this is toxic for your mental health’.
“I think that the way that I have now moved, as my husband and I have started to build this together on our own, we’re just doing it the same way that we would want if we were employees of it, right – so to treat people the way you want to be treated.
“That is always how I’ve moved.”
Sorkin also asked Meghan how she is feeling, saying: “Are you feeling just better about everything?”
Meghan replied: “Yes, I am feeling much better about everything, thank you.”