Duchess Meghan Markle delivered a powerful speech on feminism and women’s suffrage in New Zealand on the 125th anniversary of women achieving the right to vote in the country.
Opening her speech with the traditional Maori greeting “tēnā koutou katoa,” which cheered the crowd up, Meghan Markle said that women of New Zealand were “universally admired” for becoming the first in the world to gain the right to vote 125 years ago, per a report by the Australian broadcaster, Nine News.
“Yes, women’s suffrage is about feminism, but feminism is about fairness,” she said.
The duchess was addressing a crowd at the Government House in Wellington while standing in front of a portrait of her grandmother-in-law, the queen. The royal couple was accompanied in the room by New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Governor-General of New Zealand, Dame Patsy Reddy.
In her speech, Meghan said that “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 that of your community.”
Meghan then further explained how the fight for women’s vote symbolizes the struggle of all “members of society who have been marginalized, whether on account of their race, gender, ethnicity or orientation,” a report published by the Independent said.
“So bravo, New Zealand, for championing this right a hundred and twenty-five years ago for the women who well deserve to have an active voice and acknowledged vote and for all the people that this effort has paved the way for globally, we all deeply thank you.”
She ended her powerful speech with the words of New Zealand’s most prominent suffragette, Kate Sheppard. “All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex, is inhuman and must be overcome.”
Meghan’s speech was widely lauded on social media and people showered her with praises and appreciation on Twitter and Facebook.
"Bravo New Zealand for championing the right of women to vote 125 years ago." — The Duchess of Sussex, as she and The Duke joined PM @JacindaArdern and @GovGeneralNZ Dame Patsy Reddy to celebrate the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand. #RoyalVisitNZ pic.twitter.com/zpFhyPiE8r— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 28, 2018
Meghan Markle is known for her strong stance on women’s rights. In 2015, she spoke about feminism at the International Women’s Day event at the United Nations in New York, where she said that she’s proud to be a woman and a feminist, a line that’s referenced in her biography on the British monarchy’s website, according to the Independent.
Per the BBC, the royal couple arrived in New Zealand’s capital Wellington after attending the attended the closing ceremony of the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia. They intend to stay in New Zealand for four days and will visit Auckland and Rotorua before returning to the U.K. on Thursday.