Long before she was set to become a member of the royal family — or even an actress on Suits — Meghan Markle was an 11-year-old women’s rights activist.
After watching a commercial for Ivory Dishwashing Liquid in social studies class in elementary school, Markle was bothered by a line in the ad that said ”women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans,” Inside Edition reports. As a result, Markle wrote letters about the ad to then-first lady Hillary Clinton, Nick News host Linda Ellerbee, attorney Gloria Allred and the soap’s manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble.
Ellerbee invited Markle to be on Nick News after receiving the letter, and Proctor & Gamble later changed the commercial to say “people” and not “women.”
“I don’t think it is right for kids to grow up thinking that mom does everything,” Markle said on Nick News in 1993. “If you see something that you don’t like or offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people and you can really make a difference, not just for yourself, but for lots of other people.”
The bride-to-be, who attended her first royal engagement with Prince Harry on Friday, December 1, spoke about the commercial in a speech at the UN on International Women’s Day in 2015.
“When I was just 11 years old, I unknowingly and somehow accidentally became a female advocate,” Markle said at the time. “See I had been in school watching a TV show in elementary school and, um, this commercial came on with the tag line for this dishwashing liquid and the tag line said, ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans.’ Two boys from my class said, ‘Yeah, that’s where women belong, in the kitchen.’ I remember feeling shocked and angry and also just feeling so hurt; it just wasn’t right, and something needed to be done. So I went home and told my dad what had happened, and he encouraged me to write letters, so I did, to the most powerful people I could think of.”
“The kids news show, they sent a camera crew to my home to cover the story, and it was roughly a month later when the soap manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, changed the commercial for their ivory clear dish washing liquid,” Markle continued. “They changed it from ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’ to ‘People all over America.’ It was at that moment that I realized the magnitude of my actions. At the age of 11 I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality.”
As previously reported, royal palace officials announced Markle and Harry’s engagement on Monday, November 27. The couple will wed at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in England in May 2018.
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