Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will be teaming up with women’s rights advocate Malala Yousafzai to host a virtual event aimed at promoting the importance of women’s rights to an education, People reported.
On Sunday, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex will join the Pakistani activist in a live video chat to mark International Day of the Girl. During the event, the three will discuss “the barriers preventing 130 million girls from going to school and why it’s essential that we champion every girl’s right to learn.” The discussion will be livestreamed via YouTube and via Yousafzai’s social media channels.
On October 9, 2012, 15-year-old Yousafzai, was on a bus on her way home from school when Taliban gunmen shot her and her classmates, out of their belief that educating girls contravenes Islamic law. She survived, and went on to become an advocate for the education of women, in the process becoming the youngest winner of the Nobel Prize.
It’s not just religiously motivated hostility that prevents tens of millions of girls across the world from having access to a quality education. According to Global Partnership, other factors such as cultural expectations that they stay at home to care for their families; lack of separate toilets for boys and girls; the social stigma surrounding menstruation; and poverty, among other factors, prevent girls from getting a quality education.
Meghan Markle has been an advocate for the rights of women and young girls. Famously, at the age of 11, she wrote to Procter & Gamble to complain about a commercial for dishwashing liquid that was marketed specifically to women. The company changed its advertising in response.
In 2018, she spoke on the topic of girls’ access to education at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.
“Everyone should be afforded the opportunity to receive the education they want, but more importantly the education they have the right to receive. And for women and girls in developing countries, this is vital,” she said.
Prince Harry, for his part, has crossed paths with Malala before, and made a rather significant cultural faux pas in that meeting. In 2014, during the youth empowerment event in London, Harry attempted to give Malala a hug, putting his arm around her for a photo. Her mother could be heard shouting at him in Urdu to stop, telling him that unless he intended to marry her, he could not touch her. The duke reportedly turned red from embarrassment.